subject Fermented Skincare: Is it More Efficacious? A Look at Some Anti-Oil Products by Korean Brand Whamisa
Fermented Skincare: Is it More Efficacious? A Look at Some Anti-Oil Products by Korean Brand Whamisa
edited by MAYA






I am a huge fan of Korean skincare, like most beauty enthusiasts out there. South Korean beauty has literally catapulted the global beauty industry into a frenzy of sheet masks, “essences,” cushion foundations, and fermented skincare with each company trying to out do the other. Now the latest trend from South Korea is something known as “aqua peel” – a 3-step method that exfoliates and hydrates your skin at the same time. Very interesting, indeed The speed at which they innovate is so astounding, it’s hard to keep up!
Anyways, my most recent experimentation with Korean beauty has been with an organic fermented skincare brand called Whamisa. I have been testing three of their products as part of a specific regime designed to help alleviate symptoms of oily or combination skin. In my last post on fermented skincare (click here if you missed it!), I posed a few questions concerning the efficacy of products that contain fermented ingredients. Does fermentation work on our skin like it does in our gut? It can’t possibly, I would say, but that doesn’t mean the products aren’t effective!
So, let’s start with their Organic Flowers toner first, as it is the first step in the regime after you cleanse  I would actually classify this product an “essence” – simply because it is quite hydrating and it’s a little more viscous than traditional toners. The formula does contain alcohol, but based on the ingredient listing, it looks like it’s at a small percentage. This toner is cooling and the fragrance is quite potent (like all of their products) – very herbal, but I like it! I don’t know but there is something so satisfying about applying these type of products with a cotton ball or pad. You know you’ve covered every inch of skin that you need to! (In my case, just the T-zone area). From an ingredient standpoint, this toner has an impressive spread: galactomyces fermentation filtrate (a fermented yeast product similar to beer that helps improve the barrier function of our skin), fermented crysanthemum, fermented camellia, cucumber, broccoli, and rice extracts to name a few. And there is absolutely no water in the formula (like all their products!), just aloe maculata (a South African species of aloe) for extra potency and hydration. Overall, love the way my skin feels after I use this – soft and “treated.”

Moving on to the Organic Flowers Apple Sebum Treatment, which is an ultra-cooling clarifying lotion. Or you could call it a fluid, as the consistency of the product is quite thin. Like the toner, this one is also jam-packed with some of the same amazing ingredients, but contains tea leaf and apple extracts, as well as salicylic acid (a classic ingredient in  most anti-acne/anti-oil products). From a sensorial perspective, this product feels so amazing on the skin. It instantly cools and soothes. Just as I do with the toner, I use a cotton ball to apply the product on my T-zone, but I take a bit more time with this one – mainly because I love the cooling effect so much.
Last but not least, we have the Organic Flowers Water Cream and contrary to the name – this product does not contain water!
This cream has a very unique texture – it’s quite gummy, which comes from a powerhouse ingredient called natto gum. Natto is a Japanese food made from fermented soybeans and while it’s incredibly good for your health, it’s also very hydrating and softening for your skin. Because of the higher viscosity of this cream, and the fact that there is no surfactant (surfactants reduce the surface tension for easier spread-ability and absorption) in the formula,  it’s a bit “draggy” – you really have to work it into your skin. But the beauty of this moisturiser lies in its texture – you would never think that a gooey cream like this one could possibly be suitable for oily skin. It’s highly moisturising, but does not impart a”heavy” feeling or any greasiness whatsoever. It’s amazing. Moving on from the sensory…since this cream contains no water, only actives, it’s already more effective than your average moisturiser, where water content is typically high and percentage of actives, low.
Overall, here are my comments after following this regime for nearly three weeks:
-Helped minimize oil around T-zone area, but did not help reduce appearance of pores.
-Products are super “balancing” and good for combination or oily skin. They’re very hydrating without leaving a “heavy” feeling or greasiness behind.
-The sensories of these products are great…how a product feels on my skin after application is sometimes more important because at the end of the day we need to fulfill an immediate need of hydration or cleansing of our skin. The fragrances are also therapeutic.
Now to answer the key question: are these products containing fermented ingredients more efficacious than your average anti-acne or anti-oil products? I would say, yes, but I obviously don’t know to what extent the fermented ingredients are the reason these products are effective. The biggest challenge mainstream topical products have is penetrating the layer of dead skin cells (stratum corneum) of the epidermis (the outermost layer of our skin), but it all depends on the size and chemical composition of the ingredients or the delivery system. Whamisa’s fermented ingredients are probably more easily absorbed due to size – since they are broken down vis a vis the fermentation process. And I think it’s plausible to assert that fermented ingredients act somewhat similarly to the way probiotics work on our skin (like in UK skincare brand Aurelia). They help alleviate inflammation, thereby balancing the skin. They soothe and protect the skin. So, as a result, a healthier pH level is achieved. (One of the secrets to healthy skin is all in the pH balance!)
Also, ingredient quality has a lot to do with long-term benefits. These formulas are nearly 100% organic and it’s quite rare to find such products in the market! Ok, I have been going on and on haven’t I…but I think I have covered everything I wanted to say! Oh, there’s one last thing –  unfortunately Whamisa is not available in India, but they are in the EU and UK at or in the US through


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