Malcolm Macrae is one of the founders of ishga Organic Seaweed Skincare

What’s the story behind your brand?

THE name ishga is derived from the Gaelic word for water. The origins of ishga can be traced back to 2006, when Hebridean Seaweed Company was set up by my colleague Martin Macleod and myself.

We first ventured into the beauty sector in 2010 when we were asked by Blythswood Square Spa in Glasgow to supply them with fresh seaweed for detoxifying seaweed baths for their new spa menu. Following on from this we decided to create our own prototype products and send them to Blythswood Square to see what they thought. The Spa Manager at the time, Leon Trayling, thought there was real potential in what we had created so he then came on board and along with Martin and his wife Evelyn and my wife Joanna (pictured with Malcolm), we created a team and Hebridean Spa and the ishga brand was born.

The National:

My background is marine biology and chemistry and my wife Joanna is a beautician, so I formulate the products and then Joanna user tests them and provides feedback and we continue to refine the products until we feel they are right.

What do you make?

WE make luxury organic skincare products by combining sustainably harvested Hebridean seaweed with natural spring water, sea water and other certified organic ingredients. ishga specialises in anti-ageing face and body therapies.

ishga specialises in anti-ageing face and body therapies including its signature seaweed bath with mineral sea salts containing more 85 natural trace minerals, which is excellent for cellulite and detoxifying. The typical spa menu features core treatments including rejuvenating facial designed to revitalise and repair, hot stone massage, a body wrap and salt and oil scrub.

The National:

The seaweed contains natural compounds that are anti-ageing, anti-wrinkle, hydrating, protecting, and nourishing. The retail range now includes 26 products, including a men’s range and two hand-poured candles, all developed and manufactured in Stornoway 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.

How do you make them?

All the products are made by hand by our highly skilled team at our manufacturing facility in Stornoway, ensuring that each product is produced with care and attention and to the highest quality standards.

The National:

What sets you apart from other makers?

COMBINING the natural resources of the shores of the Hebrides with locally sourced, nutrient-rich and sustainably harvested seaweed, the organic range (certified by the Soil Association) is found in some of the UK’s leading spas, and stores around the world.

We are also very respectful of the natural environment in the Hebrides and work closely with Scottish Natural Heritage and other agencies to ensure the harvest is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

What are your most popular products?

ALL the products in the range are very popular but I would say that our most popular product is our Anti-Oxidant Marine Cream.