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Fermented skincare: what is it and does it really work?

Consider this a cheat sheet containing everything you need to know – and more – about skincare’s best kept secret: fermentation
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Fermentation is something you’d traditionally associate with food and drink, from beer and wine to cabbage, even that sourdough bread you’ve been desperate to make is made from fermented grains. But now, fermentation is becoming more mainstream in the skincare world – and it’s about time.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a new trend that’ll go as quickly as it came though, because believe it or not, fermentation is a process that’s been used in skincare since the beginning of time (probably!) – lactic acid, for example, is derived from fermented milk. The only difference is that now other ingredients are getting involved in the fermentation action, so it’s becoming a much more recognised technique. But how exactly does it work and what are the benefits of fermentation in skincare?

Here, we break down everything you need to know, along with the best products to try because, despite not tasting quite as good as a bottle of red or a slice of sourdough, it’s a genuinely brilliant thing and it could be the key in helping you unlock that all-important glow.

What exactly is fermentation?

Although it sounds like the stuff of school science lesson nightmares, the process of fermentation is entirely natural and actually fairly simple, but it’s one that takes time. In short, it breaks down one substance and turns it into a much more simple one. As a result, the most powerful compounds and molecules within an ingredient become more concentrated and therefore more effective. That’s something especially useful in skincare because it means said ingredients will work harder and give you the best results possible.

How does the fermentation process work in skincare?

Florena – a vegan* brand – is one of the first to champion fermented skincare and bring it to the masses. It has a whole range of vegan products that are both effective and affordable. Its fermentation process is kept as natural as possible, and it prides itself on having the least amount of interference, which means the end result will always have the best possible outcome for your skin.

The brand’s unique five-step process includes preparation of ingredients, which extracts the main components from carefully considered oils and flowers that are known and loved for their natural properties – including olive oil, safflower oil, honeysuckle and jasmine, among others. Then natural fermenting agents are added before being left for as long as necessary; each ingredient ferments differently and the process is never forced. Once completed, the active, fermented elements are filtered out and added into 100% natural formulas ready for use.

Does fermented skincare actually work?

In short, yes – but there aren’t really many brands out there harnessing and championing the power of fermentation, despite the fact it’s a natural process and has the ability to seriously boost the effectiveness of ingredients. Take Florena’s fermented olive oil, for example: it contains 50 times more omega-6 and omega-9 than its unfermented counterpart, which help make it more nourishing. It also works to strengthen the protective barrier, which helps maintain skin’s suppleness and the all-important moisture levels.

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How do fermented products benefit skin?

There really are countless benefits to incorporating fermented skincare into your routine, with the most important one being that ingredients are actually much more potent, powerful and productive after going through the fermentation process.

Fermentation also breaks down ingredients into much smaller molecules, which are easier for skin to absorb, as well as meaning they are able to penetrate into much deeper layers.. The other good thing to note about fermented skincare is that it’s often used and recommended for those with reactive and sensitive skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory and calming benefits.

The fermented skincare products to try first

THE SUITS-ALL OIL

Restore lost radiance with EXCLUSIVE Florena Illuminating Facial Oil. It’s enriched with fermented pink helichrysum, as well as fermented safflower oil, used for its nourishing and hydrating benefits.

THE AM MOISTURISER

EXCLUSIVE Florena 24H Hydrating Cream offers long-lasting hydration, with a combination of fermented camellia sinensis and fermented olive oil, which is jam-packed with at least 10 times more essential fatty acids compared to non-fermented olive oil. It’s made without silicones, so it won’t leave a film on skin, and instead, creates the perfect base for SPF and makeup.

THE PM MOISTURISER

The fermented portulaca in EXCLUSIVE Florena Antioxidant Night Cream is known for its hardworking, detoxifying properties, while added fermented lactobacillus is loved for its hydrating abilities. This cream is suitable to use alone, or layer it over an oil for an intensive hit of moisture.

THE BI-WEEKLY MASK

EXCLUSIVE Florena Firming Face Mask works in five minutes flat. Used a couple of times a week, it’ll leave skin feeling softer and more supple, thanks to a cocktail of plumping hyaluronic acid, firming fermented honeysuckle and skin-strengthening fermented olive oil.