Would you spread sour milk or fermented tea on your face in the name of beauty?

Kombucha, a fizzy Asian tea, and kefir, an eastern European fermented milk, are two of the hottest ingredients in skincare.

That’s because fermentation, using bacteria and yeast cultures, leaves these food products packed with beneficial microbes. 

With skincare, bacteria have to be heat-treated to make the product stable, which kills them off. 

Kombucha, a fizzy Asian tea, and kefir, an eastern European fermented milk, are two of the hottest ingredients in skincare. FEMAIL tested a range of fermented beauty products to see which you should buy

Kombucha, a fizzy Asian tea, and kefir, an eastern European fermented milk, are two of the hottest ingredients in skincare. FEMAIL tested a range of fermented beauty products to see which you should buy

The bacteria do, however, still produce ‘metabolytes’ which act as food for your good skin bacteria.

Kombucha has also been shown to stimulate production of adipocytes, skin cells that store energy as fat.

Kefir, meanwhile, is a great moisturiser thanks to its combination of sugars and lactic acid.

So, which fermented beauty product should you try?

POLLUTION PROTECTION 

Fresh, Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, £28, cultbeauty.co.uk

Fresh have used probiotic-rich Chinese kombucha in an essence — a watery product designed to be used before a serum in your daily routine. 

Rather like wetting a sponge, an essence ‘waters’ your skin back to life and gives your subsequent skincare a chance to sink in better.

Fresh, Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, £28, cultbeauty.co.uk

Fresh, Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, £28, cultbeauty.co.uk

Verdict: Getting your kombucha via an essence is a winner; because you apply it before all your other gunk, the bacteria have a chance to feed the skin. 

Kombucha ‘ferment’ is the second ingredient here after water, followed by green tea, which has protective antioxidants — both are a powerful pollution shield.

It’s incredibly hydrating and made me look less wizened first thing. My fine lines and pores are less visible, too. 8/10

PRIMER WITH A HEALTHY GLOW

Elemis Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser with kombucha, £39, beautybay.com

This multi-tasking fluid with a light, sheer texture also acts as a primer for make-up and a highlighter with a glow-giving sheen. 

It’s rich in bacteria-boosting fermented ingredients such as kombucha, fermented ginger and fermented green tea seed oil, plus there’s an ‘active prebiotic’ to feed good skin bacteria and help them thrive.

Elemis Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser with kombucha, £39, beautybay.com

Elemis Superfood Glow Priming Moisturiser with kombucha, £39, beautybay.com

Verdict: The best thing about this lightweight, pinkish fluid is the instant glow. It made my dry skin look and feel healthy and well-nourished, and a blob or two on the cheekbones and along the bridge of the nose really did pep me up. 

It’s harder to tell if the fermented ingredients are working though. 7/10

FAMILY FARM’S SKIN SOOTHER 

Chuckling Goat Calm Down Kefir Lotion, £8.95, chucklinggoat.co.uk

A soothing cream with lavender essential oil and goat’s kefir, handmade at the Chuckling Goat family farm in Wales to soothe inflammatory skin conditions related to gut bacteria imbalance, such as acne, eczema and rosacea. 

Hundreds of their four kefir lotions went to help the NHS during lockdown and this Calm Down lotion was the one stressed medics requested most.

Chuckling Goat Calm Down Kefir Lotion, £8.95, chucklinggoat.co.uk

Chuckling Goat Calm Down Kefir Lotion, £8.95, chucklinggoat.co.uk

Verdict: This lotion has a high kefir content and sinks in like a dream. Because of the soothing lavender oil, I use it at bedtimeand leave it to work its magic. 

I also dab it on my teens if they have eczema flare-ups or rough patches. A bargain healer for all the family. 9/10

NOURISHING AND HYDRATING MIST 

Elemis Superfood Kefir Tea mist, £25.95, beautybay.com

This hydrating face mist made with rooibos tea and vegan soy kefir has four different uses — toner, primer, moisturiser and make-up setting spray.

Verdict: Thanks to its multiple uses, I’m getting several doses of fermented skincare a day. 

Elemis Superfood Kefir Tea mist, £25.95, beautybay.com

Elemis Superfood Kefir Tea mist, £25.95, beautybay.com

The gingery smell might not be to everyone’s taste, however, and the powerful pump can make it into a bit of a super soaker. 

Top tip: spray it in front of the face and then lean in to the mist. 6/10

KOREA’S QUICK COOL DOWN  

Sweet Chef Ginger Kombucha + Vitamin D Chill Mist, £15.75, cultbeauty.co.uk

Straight out of Korea, this botanical mist can be used as a toner under serum or any time you need to cool down. 

Ginger is rich in protective antioxidants while vitamin D helps skin fight environmental damage. 

Sweet Chef Ginger Kombucha + Vitamin D Chill Mist, £15.75, cultbeauty.co.uk

Sweet Chef Ginger Kombucha + Vitamin D Chill Mist, £15.75, cultbeauty.co.uk

Kombucha adds a dose of B vitamins and feeds your skin microbiome.

Verdict: I loved this fine mist with its subtle scent, especially when I woke up hot and bothered and sprayed it all over my neck and chest (areas that I often don’t moisturise because I don’t want the cream to mark my clothes). 

So many cooling sprays chill you by using alcohol, which is not just drying but damaging for your skin microbiome. 

This alcohol-free spritz is a well-priced winner. 7/10



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