Launched in South Korea in 2007, Su:m37 (the “Su:m” is pronounced “soom”) is a cosmetics brand that specialises in naturally fermented skincare. The first part of the name means breath in Korean, and 37 represents the optimum temperature for natural fermentation.
Unlike artificial fermentation, which uses additional steps to quicken the process, a natural process requires letting the raw ingredients sit in barrels to ferment for as long as they need to. But that doesn’t mean there’s no quality control – the brand carefully ferments its ingredients under stringent conditions at its Natural Fermentation Research Institute, to ensure consistency and quality. More than 80 seasonal plants – including the roots, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds – are fermented for at least a year. Some are even fermented for up to 10 years.
“Natural fermentation produces 166 times more good bacteria than artificial fermentation,” says Joyce Teh, president of The Face Shop Singapore (Korean company The Face Shop is Su:m37’s parent brand).
“It also increases active ingredients like protein by 30 per cent and amino acids by 50 per cent, and reduces toxicity by 65 per cent. The raw ingredients are broken down into microparticles that are easier for skin to absorb. And because naturally fermented products are detoxifying, they are hypoallergenic and gentle even on sensitive skin.”
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The star product
Su:m37’s star product is the Secret Essence ($108). To be used after cleanser and toner, this pre-serum with a watery texture soothes and hydrates. It contains more than 80 naturally fermented plant extracts, and a concentrated dose of it reportedly strengthens skin and prevents skin-cell damage and the breakdown of collagen. It is also said to inhibit dark-spot production.
The brand offers 13 ranges (read more about them here), including skincare for men, and makeup (base and lipsticks). The three best-selling lines are Water-full, which helps skin retain moisture; White Award, for curbing dark spots as well as evening out skin tone and brightening the complexion; and Secret Repair, to help restore elasticity so skin looks more youthful.
Su:m37's counter at Tangs Vivocity. The brand also has another beauty counter at Tangs Orchard.
This story was originally published in the August 2017 issue of Her World magazine.