Fermented Beauty Products: Beyond Kimchi and Kombucha

Would you put sauerkraut, kefir, or pickles all over your face? It isn’t as strange as it sounds. Fermented foods, such as kombucha, are one of the buzziest health trends around, beloved by fashion editors, supermodels and mere mortals. For the uninitiated, kombucha is created by mixing bacteria and yeast into a cocktail of tea, sugar, and sometimes fruit juice and herbs. It’s tangy and has a mild fizz, and is believed to be rich in probiotics, boost good gut bacteria, and contain antioxidants.

The same reasoning behind why kombucha and kefir are healthy to drink is being applied to beauty. There’s a new wave of skin care products containing fermented ingredients, ranging from yogurt and coconut water, and as with many a beauty trend these days, its origins began in South Korea.

“When I think of fermentation, I think of kimchi,” says Charlotte Cho, the co-founder at Soko Glam, a website which sells Korean beauty products. “The fermentation process produces antioxidants and amino acids.” Cho explains that for Koreans, fermented food equates to healthy food. “Koreans love the idea of not only eating foods like kimchi but applying fermented products to their face,” she says.

About 60-70 percent of the plant extracts found in Amarte’s Aqua line are fermented, including ginkgo biloba nut extract, which the brand has patented as a unique antioxidant. Dr. Craig Kraffert, a dermatologist and president of Amarte, says that “fermentation greatly improves ingredients’ absorptive abilities, making water-rich formulations elegant and smooth, while also ensuring the formula is rapidly and smoothly absorbed on the skin.”

Here’s a look at 10 of our favorite beauty products made with fermented ingredients.


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