When you think of algae, you may first think of ocean kelp or the blue-green blankets that can form on the surface of lakes. And you're not wrong!

It’s estimated there are between 30,000 and more than 1 million species of algae — and new sub-species are discovered each year — all with their own unique characteristics.

So which type of algae does WTHR use?

The first, and biggest, distinction between types of algae is their size — either macro or microalgae. Macroalgae more closely resemble plants, like kelp or seaweed. Microalgae are typically single-celled, microscopic organisms. 

Microalgae are incredibly resilient, having evolved over the last 1.5 billion years to thrive in some of the harshest and unlikeliest of environments, like inside a volcano. We look to them for new oils when building high performance products that support skin health.


When building WTHR, we gravitated towards these tough microorganisms and the rich oil that they inherently produce as they grow.

Unlike plants, our microalgae don't need sunlight to survive. Our particular type of microalgae simply needs sugar and other nutrients in the right environment to grow and thrive. We ferment the microalgae cells in large tanks, using a process similar to how beer is made, in which yeast turns sugar into alcohol. In our case, microalgae cultures produce a nourishing, velvety-smooth oil in a matter of days. And while microalgae can be genetically modified to produce different types of oils with other beneficial characteristics, the microalgae we work with is non-GMO.


The microalgae oil we use is rich in oleic acid, also known as an omega-9 fatty acid. And while "acid" may sound harsh, many acids — including oleic — can provide incredible skin benefits when we use them in products in the right concentrations.

  • Reduce Moisture Loss: Oils rich in oleic acid support skin hydration, helping to  reduce moisture loss. Microalgae Oil helps to soften and soothe dry skin, which we know can be an annoying or painful distraction when you're out seeking that next challenge.

  • Skin Deep: Oleic acid is known for its ability to assist in the absorption of other beneficial active ingredients.

  • Just the Good Stuff: This 100% biobased and pristine oil is neutral in odor and light in color, so it doesn’t add any unpleasant smells that then need to be covered up with fragrance or harsh ingredients. 

  • Smooth Ride: The oil produced by microalgae cells has a velvety smooth texture, meaning it gives a great glide, absorbs quickly, and feels non-greasy.

Microalgae Oil is both the captain and a team player of our formulations — and that's someone we definitely want on the trail with us.

Learn more about how Microalgae Oil plays a role in our product innovation.