Skin care made from fermented plants and herbs? Absolutely! Our beauty editor Anna takes a closer look at the fermented cosmetics trend
Many people know about fermentation from the culinary world – and specifically, from kombucha, kimchi, and the like. By adding certain micro-organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and fungi, foodstuffs are deliberately fermented and given a longer shelf life in the process. Admittedly, this doesn’t sound very appetizing, but fermented food is extremely healthy. This is because the fermentation process results in numerous vitamins, minerals, and probiotics that balance digestion and strengthen the immune system.
And what’s good for your stomach is also good for your skin. For one, skin care products containing fermented herbs, plants, or fruits are especially well-tolerated – after all, they don’t contain any chemical preservatives. And at the same time, the ingredients don’t have to be heated to ultra-high temperatures, which is why they are often more effective than conventional creams. Plus: Quite a few beautiful skin boosters (such as antioxidants and amino acids) are released during the fermentation process. Clever!
As is so often the case with beauty innovations, Korean labels such as Whamisa have been pioneers in the field. However, there are now several brands that use fermented ingredients. Here are five favorites for an all-around skin care program:
1. Organic Sea Kelp Facial Sheet Mask by Whamisa
Sheet masks are the absolute classic of Korean cosmetics. The green, gel-like Organic Sea Kelp Facial Sheet Mask by Whamisa consists of seaweed soaked in a concentrate of fermented algae, Aloe Vera, bamboo extract, and camellia. The natural ingredients deliver a lot of moisture deep into the skin’s layers and when I removed the mask after 15 minutes, my skin felt wonderfully firm.
A tip: This seaweed mask is best used when you are home alone. This was not the case when I used it and the joke arose immediately that I looked like a scary version of the Grinch. Well, the person wasn’t completely wrong about that…
2. Phosphorescence Facial Mask by Soapwalla
Another mask? Yes, and a very special one at that! This organic mask is also enriched with fermented seaweed as well as red and brown algae, and in addition to the plant pigment chlorophyll and grape seed and lavender oils, which allow small inflammations to heal quickly. This mask helped me a lot when my skin was out of balance after all of the tasty excesses of the holiday season.
3. Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner by Whamisa
You clean and moisturize your face every day, but a toner often goes forgotten. This intermediate step is extremely important in order to free the skin from hard water deposits left behind by tap water. A toner also optimally prepares the skin for any subsequent products – similar to a base coat in a manicure. And you wouldn’t leave that out, would you?
The Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner feels unusual on the skin at first, as it is slightly thicker and a little bit sticky. The texture reminds me of a highly concentrated serum and that makes sense: Inside you’ll find a moisturizing power trio of fermented dandelion, Aloe Vera, and argan oil.
4. Moonlight Catalyst Serum by Kypris
Applied in the evening either alone or under your normal cream, this milky serum works with fermented pumpkin enzymes – a gentler, plant-based alternative to retinol (better known as vitamin A) which effectively removes old skin cells. This way the cells on the skin’s surface have less time to clog up pores and your complexion becomes visibly more refined and smoother after just a few nights.
5. Reviving Eye Cream by Omorovicza
I was at war with eye creams for a long time. Either they were too rich for me or the sensitive skin around my eyes was quickly burning and feeling flaky. I’ve now made a real find with Hungarian cult brand Omorovicza, which relies on the healing power of Budapest’s mineral-rich thermal water.
The base of their Reviving Eye Cream is the so-called “Hydro Mineral Transference”-complex: The naturally large molecular structures of the minerals are reconfigured through fermentation so that they can penetrate deeper into the skin. There’s nothing more nourishing than that. Cucumber extract, hazelnut peptides, and the medicinal plant arnica provide the “hello, I’m awake” effect.
Anna Bok was born and raised in Berlin. After stops in Freiburg and Florence, she made her way to Hamburg in 2007 to study journalism and art history – where she stayed and worked as a freelance journalist with various publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Blonde. She’s now returned to Berlin after nearly 10 years in the Hanseatic City. When Anna isn’t writing about beauty, fashion, or traveling, you’ll often find her on her yoga mat (recommendations for studios in Berlin welcome!).