The tide cannot be turned. Scottish seaweed is spreading rapidly around the world. It is passed on by hand. And word of mouth. And can now be found throughout the UK as well as in Australia and the U.S.
Sustainably sourced, formulated, and manufactured in the Hebridean island of west Scotland, “Ishga” is a premium skincare range that blends a mineral-rich potent seaweed extract with organic ingredients and essential oils, offering natural, results-driven products and professional spa treatments.
The origins of the brand can be traced back to 2010 when Blythswood Square in Glasgow first introduced detoxifying seaweed baths to the spa menu using fresh Hebridean seaweed. Developed by local entrepreneurs, the raw ingredients are sourced by a team with years of hands-on experience working with seaweed under the direction of Martin Macleod. He founded Hebridean Seaweed with Mark Macrae. Along with Leon Trayling, they founded Ishga.
There are now 33 retail products, including hand and face creams, eye and lip balm, beard and shave oil bath salts. Those with acne and psoriasis report instant results from them.
Ishga is derived from the Gaelic word for water and infuses healing spring water with a potent extract of Hebridean seaweed with scientifically proven results. Ishga has a license to harvest seaweed throughout the Isle of Lewis and works in conjunction with Scottish Natural Heritage and SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) to ensure the harvest (both manual and mechanical) is sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Ishga specializes in anti-aging face and body therapies including its signature seaweed bath with mineral sea salts containing over 85 natural trace minerals which are excellent for cellulite and detoxifying. “
Hebridean seaweed extract is the cornerstone of Ishga,” says Inverness-born Malcolm Macrae, a marine biologist who formulated the range. He grew up in Leurbost on the Isle of Lewis. His father worked in the Harris tweed mill in Stornoway and his mother as a hotel cook. He studied Marine & Freshwater Biology at Glasgow University and obtained a master’s in chemistry.
The products are inspired, tested, and refined by his wife Joanna, a professional beauty expert.
“It’s extracted directly into Hebridean spring water using a low-temperature extraction process, which protects the beneficial compounds and enzymes. Rich in polyphenols the extract provides protection against environmental damage to the skin by neutralizing free radicals.”
Used throughout the retail and professional range, the mineral-rich extract is blended with organic ingredients and essential oils to create each individual product. Cucumber extract, macadamia, jojoba, thistle oil, Hebridean sea salt, aloe vera, and lemon peel are some of the natural ingredients. It contains a potent mineral content including potassium, magnesium, and sulfates.
Anti-aging, hydrating, protecting, and nourishing, the retail range includes 26 products, including a men’s range and two hand-poured candles, all developed and manufactured on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides. The products offer anti-inflammatory; rejuvenating and protecting; healing and therapeutic benefits for healthy, youthful-looking skin.
Leon Trayling is an ex-fitness instructor. After an internship at the Tan-Tar-A Marriott Resort in Missouri and completing a business-focused Leisure Management degree, he was introduced to skincare and spa at London Marriott County Hall where he was Club & Spa General Manager.
In 2008, he moved home to Scotland to manage the APA at the exclusive Loch Lomond Golf Club and later became Group Spa Director for IHG (UK).
“We are obviously fans of all types of seaweed but clearly biased towards the Hebridean varieties. What can be certain of is the pure, pristine environment that we harvest the seaweed from and the focus on using our science background to deliver results-driven skincare in a sustainable way”, The team in the lab complete every step of the process from handpicking the seaweed, creating the extracts, bottling the products and sending them across the globe”.