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7 best fermented skincare products

Good bacteria isn’t just for the gut, it’s a topical treat too. We found out why Korean's are so obsessed with this skincare trend

Christopher Cunniff
Thursday 24 January 2019 11:12 GMT
There’s a plethora of probiotic goodies that can help improve the functioning of your skin
There’s a plethora of probiotic goodies that can help improve the functioning of your skin (iStock)

Continuing to sweep the faces of the Western world is the Korean innovation of fermented skin produce. It’s of course much more sophisticated than walloping a load of yogurt under your eyes; there’s a plethora of probiotic goodies that can help improve the functioning of your skin.

The process, in basic terms, is micro-organisms such as bacteria are added to natural ingredients. Not only to break down the size of the molecules so your skin can drink up the goodness, but the fermentation process can also give way for an influx of new elements like organic acids and other antioxidants that were not previously in the mix.

So without further adieu, below are the best picks to cover each step of your routine if you fancy giving your face the fermented treatment.

Benton fermentation eye cream: £29,

First things first, this comes in a very generous 30g tube, unlike the usual 15ml for eye products, so we’re already off to a good start. Even better is that it’s stuffed with a stack of ingredients that have been selected carefully to work in synergy with one another for your peepers. The texture is also quite interesting. We were surprised at the firmness of it at first, however, upon application this smoothed out very nicely and absorbed quickly. Use any excess on your elevenses to keep your frown lines as friendly as possible.

The trick here is fermented yeast which has a multitude of benefits. It also has a hat trick of humectants which attract moisture to the skin throughout the day like a magnet. This is a terrific buy if you’re after an effective eye cream that’s not going to be too heavy. We definitely felt the difference if we went without it for a day.

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Fresh black tea kombucha facial treatment essence: £59, John Lewis & Partners

Fresh’s humble beginnings over 25 years ago with a single product, now houses one of our fave essences. Essentially this preps your skin for deeper penetration and absorption of your products post cleanse. This kombucha based gambit is a multitasker, with anti-pollution as its core defence mechanism and hyaluronic acid for a hydration boost. It’s a watery liquid with a pleasant scent that you pat gently onto the face.

Think of it as a pumped up primer – to give your serums to follow a little bit more sparkle. We found it to be a cracking accompaniment in the morning as an extra perk up. Luckily, you don’t need to encounter the debatably acquired taste of kombucha to reap the benefits.

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Aurelia miracle cleanser: £42, Aurelia Skincare

Claire Vero’s empire has only been around since 2013 and has since carved itself a niche, British based brand on a probiotic mission. Aurelia focuses on getting into the nitty gritty underneath the skin’s surface, giving it some well deserved TLC.

Firstly, this smells gorgeous. Always a nice plus, especially when it’s not synthetic or added for no reason. It’s a deliciously aromatic, cream cleanser; which feels more like a moisturiser upon application. Inside you’ll also find a cloth to dampen and remove the cleanser after applying to skin. The cloth is less rough in texture than your usual muslin, adding a gentle exfoliation along with the primary removal.

Chamomile and bergamot are the main sells in the de-stress department balanced with rosemary which has antiseptic properties. The ritual itself is enough to give you a moment of calm but also leaves skin surprisingly soft. Particularly great for drier skin and equally for sensitive skin as the brand prides itself on being free from nasties. Give this a go if your after a non-stripping cleanser with a bunch of effective ingredients for a serene start or end to your day.

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Whamisa organic flowers toner deep rich: £33.90,

This toner is indeed a Beast from the East. Whamisa pride their products on diligent research and development. With more than ten years in the biz, this toner has become a cult favourite from the brand. With no water in their products either; it's all killer, no filler. Now, if you haven’t heard of the Korean "7 Skin Method", this is the product to get and try it out with. Basically in this case, it’s layering the toner seven times in succession leaving a couple of minutes in-between each. We of course tried it out and it’s a super treat. Mega moisture with a dewy finish.

This toner has an incredibly unique texture; it’s thicker than a serum and thinner than an oil. It’s wonderfully bouncy and smoothing with a naturally floral fragrance. With aloe vera extract and oat kernel, it’s a mega moisturising prep before a cream or oil. If you’re after an uber glow or simply to replenish some of that moisture, this is your new go to.

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BLITHE velvet yam pressed serum: £43, Selfridges

Another joy from Korea is the pressed serum from Blithe; which markets itself as a two in one. It's a whipped gel consistency that claims to be in-between a moisturiser and serum. It has a rather hefty 68.5 per cent wild yam root extract, which is renowned for attacking dry skin and keeping it supple. The gel transforms into a super glossy serum upon contact with the skin.

A terrific accoutrement for winter, especially for those who are time poor. If you’re a gal or guy on the go, this is great if you can’t be bothered to layer your products but want maximum impact. Housed in the box is also a small spatula so you don’t overuse or taint the product with your mucky mitts. This also works well as a nighttime treatment mask. Beauty sleep pun intended. A great multitasker that fits snugly into anyone’s regime.

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Allies of Skin molecular multi-nutrient day cream: £79, Cult Beauty

New kid off the Singaporean block is Allies of Skin. This is another for urbanites with a cocktail of ingredients to keep the stress of the outside world at bay. The active ingredients list on this is long and robust with the fermented part in particular aiding towards a happy skin flora. In layman’s terms, this is sending happy bacteria in to start a peace war with whatever naughty bacteria might be present and causing a ruckus.

Moringa extract is present to stop pollution particles sticking to your skin, manuka honey for a natural antibacterial touch and two types of hyaluronic acid for moisture. It’s a light texture with a faint scent; not unpleasant but noticeable nonetheless. Airtight packaging is always a plus to keep it fresh and frisky.

Definitely go for this if your skin is on the normal to oily side, as it will adress texture and redness. Add an essence prior to complete the ritual if you feel like you need an extra moisturising boost.

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Algenist prebiotic balancing mask: £38, SpaceNK

San Franciscan brand Algenist have excited us with their products in the past, and this is a great addition to the line. It’s a probiotic algae party for your face. What’s particularly nice about this mask is it’s not a jack of all trades. It doesn’t claim to brighten along with magically making you look like Sharon Stone at the same time. It’s a clearly sign posted, effective mask.

This targets surface skin bacteria and aids towards a more even complexion. The prebiotics detoxify with patented alguronic acid hydrating in five minutes. It’s also falls nicely into the skintertainment category, transforming from mint green to a pale pink while doing its business. Use once or twice a week consistently to see a more clarified canvas. Great if you’ve got excess oil or want to stamp out any uneven patches that are getting on your nerves.

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The verdict: Fermented skincare

While each of these are great in their own right, Benton’s Eye Cream is not only great value but packed with a multitude of ingredients that is a great addition to anyone’s kit. Whamisa and Aurelia are also top of the list if you’re after a treat to shake up your routine.

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