Much like the proverbial book, we know to never judge a beauty product or trend by its cover. Just look at Kate Somerville’s avid use of goat’s milk in beauty products – that raised more than a few eyebrows around the office when they first landed at our desks... A few uses on, and we were fully signed up to their beautifying benefits! The same goes for fermenting formulas.

As terrifying as fermentation (a.k.a. the process of soaking foods in salt water to allow for bacteria to flourish) as a concept for the face may sound, it’s not about slathering sauerkraut onto your newly cleansed complexionFear not!

The fermentation trend has made its way onto our shores (and into our bathroom cupboards) from Korea, where innovative skincare regimes are bountiful – and this proves no exception. Fermented ingredients are a rich source of nutrients like Vitamin B, Omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial enzymes and probiotics, all of which are designed to improve skin health and pack a punch.

Through bio-nutritional and bio-fermentation skincare, the likes of OSKIA and IMMUNOCOLOGIE are leading the buzz. The former – a leader in advances in the science of natural cosmetics – ensures its bio-available ingredients (typically fermented over a period of several weeks in oxygen-free environments to ensure bacteria is removed and to allow for particles to be broken down) penetrate deeper levels of the skin for more effectiveness on a cellular level, while through a unique, revolutionary Bio-Technical Fermentation Process (Bioferm) IMMUNOCOLOGIE works hand-in-hand with the skin to repair it from the inside out.

For a number of reasons, products combining fermented ingredients and technology alongside other active ingredients make for the winning combo; this is because ingredients like black soy, sea kelp, olive leaf extract and ginseng, plus mineral extracts fermented in yeast like zinc, magnesium and copper, actually enhance the product as a whole, rending it more readily available and potent. (In a nutshell, this is because yeast from the fermentation process breaks down the molecular structures, which are usually too large to be absorbed).

We also know that the preservation of products is central to ensure bacteria doesn’t spread and that they’re safe and effective over a long period of time – and that synthetic preservatives are bad news. And so, the beauty of fermentation is that products which have been bolstered with said ingredients needn’t think twice about looking to the artificial side. Sister & Co. – the pioneering skincare brand creating “skin foods” that are rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins and nutrients – is one of our favourites, priding itself on utilising a natural preservation, Radish Root Ferment (using a lactic acid bacteria) to retain the shelf life of its collections.

Plus, because the fermentation process neutralises natural, raw ingredients that contain toxic substances that can irritate the skin, if your skin leans on the sensitive side, you've found your failsafe formula here.

We told you not to judge a book by its cover...

Fermentation is the way forward! Shop our edit here:

Also on Because Magazine:

+ Where do you stand with natural deodorants?

+ Abigail-Gurney Read gets the low-down from Dr. Barbara Sturm on how to navigate skincare in the city.

+ We drop in for a consultation with New York's leading dermatologist.