(Gelidium cartilagineum gel)
Agar Agar (Gelidium cartilagineum) comes from a species of seaweeds classed as ‘agarophytes.’ These are found in the seas of Japan, the Mediterranean, Europe, America and Africa.
They possess fine-fronds, giving them a tufted appearance, which also branch into solid segments. Their colours vary from pinks to deep reds and purples. These colours camouflage their chlorophyll.
When the seaweeds are collected, they are then laid out on a beach, bleached and dried. To obtain the gel like solution, the seaweed is boiled in water and filtered. This is then dried in the sunlight and prepared into bars, flakes or fine granules.
Japanese innkeeper, Minoya Tarozaemon, first encountered Agar in 1660. These types of ‘agarophyte' seaweeds have been cultivated in Japan since 1769.
Agar has been used as a culture medium for bacteria since the 1880s, when Robert Koch discovered its usefulness. It is used in the food industry, medicine, dentistry and forensics.
A teaspoon of agar powder will create a jelly from a cup of liquid. This gel is softening and moisturising for both skin and hair.
We use agar agar gel in our Retread triple-strength hair conditioner, which holds together the other ingredients to revitalise damaged, coloured, frizzy and thick curly hair.
Seaweeds contain up to twenty times the elements of land plants.
We suspend clays and exfoliating granules in the gel-like structure of agar for our Love Lettuce fresh face mask. The gel softens the skin, balancing the cleansing action of the other ingredients.
In the creamy Veganese conditioner, we use the gel for its softening action on the hair follicles. It also acts as a thickening agent in the product.