Real vs. Fake Sea Moss | How To Tell The Difference

Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between real versus fake sea moss? 

Real and fake sea mosses have many differences in their appearances, making them relatively easy to distinguish.

Sea moss comes in many colors, ranging from gold to dark brown with hints of purple and green. Natural mosses are typically darker, with distinguishing smells and textures so you can tell them apart.

This article discusses the differences between real and fake sea moss and how to differentiate the two.

What are the differences between real and fake sea moss?

The main differences between real and fake sea moss are appearance and scent.

The two types of sea moss look distinguishable because they are grown under different circumstances. They have different textures, making natural sea moss appear differently from its fake counterpart. 

Natural sea moss has many more benefits because of its purity than fake sea moss.

The most apparent differences between real and fake sea moss include: 

  • Appearance
  • Smell
  • Saltiness
  • Texture (dryness, smoothness, etc.)
  • Size
  • Health benefits

Compared to the wild sea moss, sea moss with bleach-based additives will be lighter. Artificial bleaching takes the color from sea moss and leaves a synthetic smell.

Additionally, sea moss can have different textures based on how it is grown.

Fake sea moss is much more likely to be coarse and covered in salt because of the additives.


Color is one of the most significant differences between real and fake sea moss.

Both sea mosses are naturally brownish but can range in color based on how they are grown.

Artificial sea moss is lighter than natural sea moss, making it easy to distinguish the difference between them.

Real sea moss is darker brown, and it is normal for sea moss to have a purple or green tint.

Both real and fake sea moss can have tinted coloration but should generally remain brown.


Real and fake sea moss will have different smells. Sea moss grows in the ocean, inheriting an earthy scent that can resemble some of the many minerals that sustain it.

Real sea moss can have an oceanic smell. Rotten sea moss can have a putrid odor that resembles dead fish.

Fake sea moss has an entirely different smell, similar to synthetic fibers. The artificial smell of the sea moss resembles commercial products.

The scent of artificial sea moss is similar to new t-shirts or a freshly-opened box of shoes.


The saltiness of your moss is a good way of determining the difference between natural and artificial sea moss.

Farmers use extra salt when growing their fake sea moss, creating additional grit on the moss, which may come across as grainy or rough in texture.

Real sea moss does not need extra salt to grow; it gets enough from its environment.

Real and fake sea moss have different amounts of salt in their growing processes, resulting in different textures.

Fake sea moss has more graininess because growers add sea salt during the growing process. The artificial sea salt creates coarseness on the stem’s exteriors.


The texture will be drier when the plant is self-grown because it does not get enough natural vitamins from its environment.

Natural sea moss will have smooth surfaces that are slimy to the touch. The texture of artificial sea moss lacks the same smoothness as natural sea moss.

Fake sea moss is rough, so it looks less sleek. There is no texture on sea moss because the chemicals have dried the sea moss.

Natural sea moss should have a spongy texture roughly the same size all-throughout the plant.

The spongy texture should be slightly bouncy, springing back to the touch, and the length of each stem should taper slightly. 


The size of the sea moss stem is an indication of how someone cultivated the sea moss.

Wild sea moss has thin stems, often around 1-3 millimeters thick. Pool-grown sea moss stems are twice the size of the natural sea moss stem, roughly 5-10 mm.

Check the stem of your moss for easier identification of whether the sea moss is real or fake.

Health benefits

Real sea moss has many more health benefits than fake sea moss.

Natural sea moss has many vital minerals, but artificial sea moss can compromise your health because it lacks the same vitamins and nutrients.

It would help if you chose natural sea moss, given it is good for your health.

Still, many people sell artificial sea moss in products because it is easier to mass produce than harvest.

Do real and fake sea moss look differently?

Real and fake sea moss look different because of the sun bleaching and growing process.

They are grown in different environments, under varying conditions, which changes the plant’s natural brown coloration.

The chemicals added to the aquatic sea moss can cause discoloration in the artificial sea plant. 

Does real and fake sea moss feel different? 

You can tell the difference between real and fake sea mosses using your key senses, like feel, smell, and visual observation.

Natural sea moss should feel dry when you touch it because it should go through a natural drying process under the sun. Pool-grown, artificial moss retains moisture, so it continues to feel wet.

Fake sea moss does not use sunlight like real moss.

Chemicals are required to replicate the vitamins and minerals of ocean water when growing artificial sea moss.

The chemicals strip the sea moss of its natural enzymes, causing it to feel grimy instead of slimy. The salt added to pools during the growing process can create a gritty texture.

Feel the sea moss at their stem to better identify whether it is a real or fake batch of sea moss.

Does fake sea moss have the same vitamins as real sea moss? 

Fake sea moss does not have the same amount of vitamins and nutrients as natural sea moss.

Sea moss loses beneficial nutrients when grown in pools using chemicals and artificial lighting.

Artificial growing tactics are the leading cause of fake sea moss’s vitamin and nutrient deficit.

Not using natural sunlight can cause sea moss to have less vitamin D, offsetting the growing process.

Artificial chemicals can drain the moss of its natural components.


Appearance is the easiest way to identify the difference between real and fake sea moss.

The main differences between these mosses are aesthetic. However, there are plenty of other differences, including the sea moss’s appearance, scent, and texture.

After learning the key differences, it will become relatively easy to identify real from fake sea moss. They have clear physical and sensory differences. 

Natural sea moss is a slimy aquatic plant that can change its consistency and texture because of the many chemicals added during the pool-growing process.

Artificial growing produces less nutritious sea moss, which you should consider when purchasing your sea moss for consumption purposes. 

A large difference between real and fake sea moss is the smell. Real sea moss has a natural scent that resembles hay or grass.

If the sea moss is wet, it may also resemble damp grass or mud.

Artificial grass smells fake, like synthetic fibers.

Once you smell artificial sea moss for the first time, you will easily recognize this smell in the future because of its repulsive stench.

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