Beauty habits have changed considerably since the beginning of the pandemic, with many consumers trading their multiple layers of cosmetics for a more minimalist and holistic beauty, with the aim to safeguard the skin from environmental factors — like pollution, tobacco, the sun, etc. — while giving it the opportunity to restore and strengthen. To this end, the boom in prebiotics and probiotics is expanding, giving rise to a new, very similar trend, in fermented beauty.
An age-old process
An age-old process used in many countries around the world, particularly in Asia, biological fermentation describes the transformation that certain organic materials undergo under the action of enzymes secreted by micro-organisms. In other words, these micro-organisms — which can be enzymes, bacteria or yeasts — induce the decomposition of basic materials or ingredients to transform them into components that may be much more powerful. As with prebiotics, the objective is to multiply the “good” bacteria at the expense of “bad” ones in order to ramp up the power of each active ingredient and boost its benefits for the skin.
Fermentation has long been practiced for the processing of a large variety of foods. And the process is essentially the same for fermented beauty. According to the supporters of the technique, not only does fermentation act as an active ingredient booster, but it also makes for a higher concentration of nutrients and antioxidants — goodbye signs of aging — while optimizing the penetration of active ingredients into the skin.
Furthermore, the natural substances developed during the fermentation process supposedly extend the shelf life of these formulations.
2022, the year of fermented cosmetics?
Some niche brands already offer — and in some cases have long offered — cosmetics based on fermented ingredients, but the giants of the sector are also starting to gradually adapt to meet new customer demands. Indeed, fermented beauty is one of the beauty trends that’s predicted to boom in 2022, as revealed by projections from trend forecaster WGSN. It’s a phenomenon that could send kombucha, a fermented tea-based drink, racing to the top of the most popular cosmetic ingredients.
In the meantime, it’s already possible to try out this new generation of cosmetics thanks to the Gallinée brand, a specialist in prebiotics, whose hair cleansing cream is enriched with fermented rice water. Otherwise, look for Innisfree and its fermented soy masks, or Whamisa, a true specialist in the field.