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Brand Break Down: Syrene Skincare

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

*This feature is not sponsored or paid for in any way by Syrene Skincare or any other invested party

**This feature has had no input from Syrene Skincare and will be updated if/when they respond to requests for information

With many products targeting various skin concerns available on the market, it is easy to get lost and be confused by the kaleidoscope of hero ingredients. After all, our unique skin conditions require different treatments, and no single skincare routine is applicable for everyone.

Enter Syrene.

Unlike other skincare brands that have a dedicated product range with a specific skin type (oily, normal, combination, dry) or targeted concern (brightening, acne treatment, pore tightening, calming, etc) in mind, Syrene developed the Aqua Range thinking about the busy modern women who just need to slow down and pamper herself after a long day.

Case in point: My skin has been exposed to different acids and plant-based ingredients for brightening dull skin and treating acne, that I have forgotten what it feels like to just have a simple routine that nourishes my skin instead of slathering products on until it becomes red.

When I purchased the dainty Travel Companion (NZ$129.99) which offers a mini size of the entire Aqua Range, I was able to adjust my product use according to my day to day activities and personal preference. I didn’t feel the pressure of a 10-step routine or having to select which among my skin problems I am going to use a serum for. From the silky-matte finish of the bottles to the calming scent, and the gentle touch of the products – it was definitely a soothing experience.


Established in 2016, Syrene is proudly founded and made in New Zealand by immigrants Jo Gilberd and Karen Yang. Their branding, as beautifully reflected in their website and packaging, was inspired by Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s 1955 book ‘Gift From the Sea’

(Note: Find and read this book if you haven’t yet!).

The duo found a gap in New Zealand’s luxury skincare industry and set about to create a sustainable skincare range that was light yet hydrating enough for all skin types. It combines science and the power of New Zealand’s biodiversity with its products that are rich in marine nutrients and infused with ingredients like manuka honey, larch tree extract, seaweed extract, Kakadu plum, and marine collagen to name a few.

Founders Karen Yang and Jo Gilberd


Syrene boasts a cruelty-free formula that’s dermatologically tested with a 100% natural fragrance that exudes luxury and calm. Their website lists the ingredients for each of their products but in this section, we’ll highlight the different seaweed extracts used in their formula:

  • Ephemer™ - found in every product, this is an extract from the Undaria Pinnatifida seaweed species commonly known as brown algae. This oil-soluble extract has the ability to provide an immediate (24 hours) and long-lasting (8 days) antioxidant effect on cells and is the first cosmetic active ingredient from macroalgae cell culture for a long anti-aging effect.

  • Contacticel™ - extracted from the Acrochaetium Moniliforme algae and helps to eliminate pollution accumulated on your skin throughout the day.

  • Aldavine™ 5X - a highly potent active ingredient derived from two different types of algae harvested in a pollutant-free environment. It helps to protect the skin from UV exposure, preventing premature aging, and helps increase skin elasticity. It also reduces the appearance of dark circles and under-eye bags.


Syrene is locally made in New Zealand and takes no shortcuts with its sustainably harvested ingredients such as:

  • Seaweed extract – painstakingly lab-grown from a small sample of algae collected from the ocean to avoid harvesting limited resource

  • Marine collagen – extracted from the scales of fish which would have been otherwise discarded by the fish industry

We're happy to see that Syrene has gone through lengths with the sourcing of their hero ingredients and we'd like to know about other ingredients like Manuka honey, Kakadu plum, Mamaku extract, Larch tree extract, and black fern. We're also very curious about pohutukawa, a tree that holds a significant place in Maori mythology!

We will be updating this post should Syrene respond to requests for information.


As an ocean-inspired brand, it is no surprise that Syrene has partnered up with Ocean Waste Plastic™ (OWP™), an organisation that collects plastic wastes from waterways and oceans and gives it new life by recycling.

For Syrene, they create packaging like the mesh bag that comes with the Travel Companion. This collection and recycling activity not only reduces the plastic wastes in our waters but also brings down CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions by 56% compared to virgin resin. With fewer new plastics to manufacture, less energy is used and therefore fewer greenhouse gases emitted. This partnership with Syrene alone has helped remove approximately 180,000 plastic bags from the oceans!

At the moment, Syrene does not have a recycling program but they encourage giving A Second Aqua Life to used jars in their Pinterest board here.


With the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement fuelling the conversation of race and equality in 2020, the beauty and skincare community demanded more transparency from their favourite brands. We have not received feedback on this yet but we are very interested to see if a brand founded by immigrants also provides equal employment opportunity.

A little snooping around Syrene’s Facebook and Instagram shows us women of colour being featured as a model or influencer. However, this doesn’t mean that the brand is inclusive right off the bat. We will have to wait for the official figures to see if the social media accounts reflect the working force behind Syrene.

We’re staying positive about it so watch this space for updates!


If you're not yet sold on the whole mermaid-ocean-warrior theme, I'm swearing my lucky pearls on this. I have maintained two different skincare routines: (1) The Basic and (2) The Actives. The Basic is a nourishing and calming routine especially for days when my hormones are on overdrive a.k.a. monthly period. While the Actives routine is where I use the stronger chemical exfoliants. Instagram account @sciencebecomesher advises reducing the use of harsher actives a few days before and during your period, as this is when our skin becomes more sensitive to irritants.

Syrene is anything but basic with the range of products it offers – from cleanser to sheet masque, and soon: serum! But the formula is gentle, light, and nourishing to build your own Basic Routine:

  1. Start with the best-selling Aquagel Oil to Foam Cleanser that combines the 2 steps of cleansing in one.

  2. Follow this with the Aquagel Refreshing Toner.

  3. And finish with the Aqualight Moisture Gel Lotion.

  4. Those needing extra hydration can layer with the Aqua Intense Cream.

  5. If you use eye creams, they have the Aqua Restore Eye Essence.

  6. Pamper yourself once or twice a week with the Aqua Hydrating Masque.

  7. And refresh tired and dull skin with the Aqua Power Masque (sheet mask).

Syrene Skincare ships worldwide including UK and the rest of Europe. It is also available at the following retailers: Mecca (New Zealand and Australia), Majesty’s Pleasure (Canada), Harvey Nichols (UK), Liberty London (UK), and Harmay (Hong Kong).


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