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If you’re familiar with the world of K Beauty, you’ll likely have heard a recent buzz around fermented skincare. From eye creams, to toners, to masks, promising to anti-age, battle acne and boost glow, there are seemingly no limits to this fermentation power. But what actually is fermented skincare? How does it work? And is it truly the wonder process it’s cracked up to be? Read on.

What is fermentation?

Fermentation, in layman’s terms, refers to a reaction which converts sugars into other substances. Think yeast making air in dough, or alcohol in beer. Basically, it’s a great process for making tasty things.

And what does it have to do with skincare?

The general claim is that fermented skincare breaks down bigger particles in order for the skin to be better able to absorb them. Fermentation also creates new vitamins and minerals  which can be beneficial to the skin – stuff like amino acids and antioxidants. Put simply, skincare which is fermented is more nutrient dense than skincare that isn’t. When combined with the fact that the skin will likely have an easier time absorbing these nutrients, you’re on to a winner.

So how do I get in on this?

There are a whole host of brilliant fermented skincare items on the market. Perhaps the original, and without doubt one of the best, is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Based around the brand’s miracle ingredient of Pitera, it’s truly one of the best brightening products on the market. It also smooths out any fine lines and texture, and softens skin to the touch. It’s extremely pricey but extremely fantastic, too. Sorry.

A more affordable fermented essence comes from Origins – their Dr. Weil Mega Mushroom Relief & Resilience Facial Treatment Lotion, to give it its full and very long name. Rather than have a brightening effect, I find this a better option for reddened, irritated or otherwise compromised skin. It speeds up healing and soothes irritation. It’s also a great refresher and hydrator.

I have two fermented eye creams which I love – the Benton Fermentation Eye Cream and the Omorovicza Reviving Eye Cream. The two are surprisingly quite different. The Benton is thicker and has an almost whipped texture. I like to apply a lot of this before bed, which gives it plenty of time to absorb. In the morning you’ll notice a smoother, softer under-eye. The Omorovicza is much thinner and more lightweight – almost serum-y in texture. This is one of the best daytime eye creams I’ve tried, because it absorbs quickly and adds an immediate dose of brightness.

Another fermented favourite is Kypris Moonlight Catalyst. This is an overnight serum which uses fermented pumpkin enzymes to speed up cell turnover without any harshness and potential irritation. This means faster healing, better skin texture and a more even skin tone night by night. And I’m not going to lie – the name helps.

A final option is the Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant. Rather than being marketed as fermented, it is simply packed with yeast (the key which unlocks the fermentation door, as it were). As far as skin purifying goes, it truly is one of the best treatments around, and totally unlike any other mask I’ve tried. It also smells exactly like Marmite, meaning most people hate it and I totally love it.

Shop our editor-approved fermented skincare products below

Featured images via Look Fantastic

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