From The Straits Times    |


Music: Dyalla- Fresh Cut

Skincare brands are always on the lookout for new, exciting and effective ingredients to put into their creams, lotions and serums, and it seems like the latest skincare ingredients trend points to fermentation.


What is fermentation?

Fermented food and beverages are known to be good for our bodies. (Hello, good bacteria.) There’s yogurt, kimchi, miso, tempeh, wine and the list goes on. These consumables get their beneficial properties from the fermentation process they’ve been through.

The process happens when natural bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms break down sugar and starch in food or drink, creating an acidic environment. Fermentation not only changes and preserves the original substance, beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics are produced, multiplying the health benefits of eating or drinking fermented products manyfold.


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The latest fermented star ingredient – Kombucha

It’s not surprising then that the trend of fermented ingredients have made its way into skincare, and the latest fermented ingredient in skincare is Kombucha, a type of fermented tea that is not new, but has been steadily growing in popularity in cities like New York and Melbourne. In Singapore, there are several online stores selling it already.

To brew a batch of kombucha, start off with some black or green tea that is sweetened with sugar and placed in a glass jar to ferment. What kickstarts the fermentation is a “scoby”, which is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Sounds revolting, but it is essentially a piece of cultured bacteria and yeast that when placed in a jar of sweet tea, feeds off the sugars and transforms the tea into deliciously tangy, slightly fizzy kombucha that’s full of good bacteria and vitamins and is beneficial for the gut. Plus, it is mildly alcoholic, up to six percent, so it is a bit like beer or even a cocktail, only beneficial for your gut too.



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The new brew

You’ll find kombucha as an ingredient in Fresh’s new Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence. A skincare step that you pour into your hand and pat on after cleansing and toning, and before you apply your serums and creams. The subtly sweet smelling watery lotion reportedly makes skin smoother, more refined and helps it fight the effects of pollution thanks to the mix of antioxidants and probiotic extracts in kombucha.

Fresh co-founders Lev and Alina Glazman have been fans of kombucha beverages for years and believed wholeheartedly in its health benefits for healthy gut and digestion.

Convinced that as an ingredient, it has skincare benefits too, he tasked his brand’s research lab to study its skincare properties. “Tea in itself is full of antioxidants, which is a free radical fighter,” said Lev, “And through the process of fermentation, kombucha has added probiotic qualities, which is great for keeping skin balanced and healthy, enhancing its clarity, and making its texture more supple.”

The new facial treatment essence reportedly protects skin from free radicals, moisturises skin, boost radiance and elasticity and strengthens skin’s barrier, preventing breakouts.


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Put to the test

To review out the product myself, I used it during the brand’s press trip in Siam Reap, Cambodia, where we were ferried around in open jeeps and tuk-tuks, exposed to lots of street dust and pollution. I pat it on after cleansing every morning and night – it feels a little sticky on the skin at first but the sensation dissipates in 10 to 20 seconds, leaving skin feeling very well-hydrated and velvety soft – and I feel like I need less moisturiser to keep my skin hydrated and moisturised. I am a convert also because it has prevented my normally congested skin from breaking out big time.

Since then, I have been bringing it for all my trips and my skin has been well-behaved despite the constant air-traveling and late nights, which usually send my oily-combination skin into overdrive and subsequently breaking out. My complexion looks clearer and more refined, and is more supple that it has been in a while, so I’m not giving up on it anytime soon.


Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, $108 for 150ml, available at Fresh stores.


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