The antibacterial and antifungal activity of 82 marine macroalgae (18 Chlorophyceae, 25 Phaeophyceae and 39 Rhodophyceae) was studied to evaluate their potential for being used as natural preservatives in the cosmetic industry. The bioactivity was analysed from crude extracts of fresh and lyophilised samples against three Gram-positive bacteria, two Gram-negative bacteria and one yeast using the agar diffusion technique. The samples were collected seasonally from Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of the Iberian Peninsula. Of the macroalgae analysed, 67% were active against at least one of the six test microorganisms. The highest percentage of active taxa was found in Phaeophyceae (84%), followed by Rhodophyceae (67%) and Chlorophyceae (44%). Nevertheless, red algae had both the highest values and the broadest spectrum of bioactivity. In particular, Bonnemaisonia asparagoides, Bonnemaisonia hamifera, Asparagopsis armata and Falkenbergia rufolanosa (Bonnemaisoniales) were the most active taxa. Bacillus cereus was the most sensitive test microorganism and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most resistant. The highest percentages of active taxa from Phaeophyceae and Rhodophyceae were found in autumn, whereas they were found in summer for Chlorophyceae.