K-Beauty Fermented Skincare Ingredients: What You Need to Know

K-Beauty is no stranger to any skincare or cosmetics lover. The trend of South Korean-based beauty products appeared on the scene even before K-Pop (think PSY and Gangnam Style) rose on the music charts. The inclusive nature of K-Beauty has become renowned all over the world, attracting everyone from preschoolers with a budding interest in skincare to octogenarians seeking freshness and fun with their makeup. K-Beauty packages are abundant on most beauty shelves these days. But why and how did this craze begin?

Craving All Things Korean

The Korean wave, which is known as Hallyu, spread through the world quite rapidly. The appetite for all things Korean, such as television dramas, cuisine, and music, no sooner had people recognizing the care Korean women and men took with their skin. The appearance of clear, translucent, youthful-looking skin was typically the result of a specialized beauty routine often including no less than ten steps excluding makeup. And so, interest in Korean skincare products emerged, and the K-Beauty trend began.

The 10-Step K-Beauty Skincare Regimen

  1. a balm or oil cleanser
  2. a foaming cleanser
  3. an exfoliant
  4. a toner
  5. an essence
  6. an ampoule or serum
  7. a sheet mask
  8. an eye cream
  9. a light moisturizer
  10. a thicker night cream or sleeping mask (night) or an SPF (day)

K-Beauty Innovation

Korea’s beauty industry is worth about 1 billion dollars, ranked among the top 10 beauty markets in the world, over-indexed in proportion to its population. Korea is considered a pioneer in cosmetic innovation, heralded for a level of quality, design, and novelty advancement that often leaps ahead of other markets. The packaging ranges from cute to sophisticated. The formulation textures range from silky to bouncy.

But beyond the Korean panda skincare masks, the heart-shaped BB cream cushions, and flower-molded lipsticks, K-Beauty is perhaps best known for the effectiveness of its skincare ingredients. K-Beauty products typically use naturally-sourced ingredients, and they are often layered or combined within the regimen to offer enhanced benefits. There is one significant ingredient process that is worth elaborating on since it has such a profound impact on the world’s microbiome health. That process is fermentation.

Fermentation is Key

When we think of fermentation, we think of wine, beer, cheese…and now kimchi. Fermentation is the process that breaks down a substance using yeast, bacteria, and/or other various microorganisms.

Fermentation is present in many functional foods and wellness products such as probiotics which are excellent for digestive health. Fermented foods such as kimchi add healthy bacteria to the gut. But the skin also requires a healthy microbiome, so the benefits of fermentation don’t stop at the medicine cabinet or dinner table.

Fermentation is an integral part of K-Beauty and has been for centuries. While a fermented ingredient or two may be present in American beauty products, many K-Beauty products contain fermented ingredients.

Recently, a Korean biotech company called Labio discovered the profound skin benefits that can result from fermenting simple vegetable oils. Through many months of testing, Labio found that fermenting oils significantly boosts antioxidant activity. This is notable because antioxidants help protect the body against free radicals, which are molecules with unpaired electrons that are highly unstable. Free radicals can cause deep cell damage, even diseases like cancer, if not properly contained. Antioxidants are vital for optimal skin health because they protect cells from the deterioration that results from free radical-induced activity such as inflammation, pollution, stress, and UV rays. Oil fermentation can also yield amino acids and peptides that are effective for stimulating cell turnover, ideal for youth-preserving skin-renewing benefits.

Benefits of Oil Fermentation:

  • Increases skin’s hydration
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps maintain a normal pH
  • Protects the skin barrier

Labio has trademarked a proprietary series of fermented oils for use in skincare called Fermentoils.


The Fermentoil series aims to create various oils that feel and work better than traditional ones. Stated plainly, the benefits of the original base oil are enhanced during the fermentation process.

The Fermentoil series includes but is not limited to Fermentoil Glycyrrhiza, Fermentoil Complex, Fermentoil Olive, Fermentoil Argan, Fermentoil Green Tea Seed, Fermentoil Meadowfoam Seed, and Fermentoil Shiunko.

Each Fermentoil has its own unique benefits, but they can also be combined for compound effects when formulated together. 

K-Beauty Fermented Skincare Ingredients - Fermentoil Boosts Antioxidant Benefits

Fermentoil Complex

The Fermentoil Complex is a mixture of specific Fermentoils to create a product that has a better moisturization capability and better feel than traditional oil products. It also offers benefits of being anti-inflammatory, anti-irritation, anti-sebum (the oil produced by your skin), as well as increasing antioxidant activity.

The key constituents of the Fermentoil Complex and their benefits to skin as reported by Labio include:

  • Pseudozyma Epicola – the bacteria used to kick off the fermentation process
  • Olive Fruit Oil – moisturizing, anti-aging, antioxidant booster, UVB protection, anti-inflammatory
  • Sunflower Seed Oil – moisturizing, antioxidant booster, anti-irritant, bactericide
  • Argania Spinosa Kernel – moisturizing, anti-sebum, anti-aging, wound healing, anti-acne
  • Shiunko Oil – antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, cell regeneration, increased collagen

Fermentoil Glycyrrhiza

Glycyrrhiza uralensis, more commonly known as Chinese licorice, is a plant that produces purple-hued blooms. This plant is where Fermentoil Glycyrrhiza gets its name from. The benefits of Fermentoil Glycyrrhiza include improved skin absorption and formula emulsification.

The key constituents of the Fermentoil Glycyrrhiza and their benefits to skin as reported by Labio include:

  • Apricot Kernel Oil – improves skin tone, maintains softness, anti-wrinkle
  • Olive Fruit Oil – moisturizing, anti-aging, antioxidant booster, UVB protection, anti-inflammatory
  • Sunflower Seed Oil – moisturizing, antioxidant booster, anti-irritant, bactericide
  • Glycyrrhiza – antioxidant booster, anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, skin brightening

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil

Both Fermentoil Complex and Fermentoil Glycyrrhiza are formulated at active levels into the Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil formula. By incorporating these compounds, this facial oil offers a boost of antioxidant activity to protect the skin from the effects of oxidative stress and damage.

In addition to Fermentoil Complex and Fermentoil Glycyrrhiza, Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil also contains super antioxidants sourced from Pomegranate, Tamanu, Seabuckthorn, Raspberry, Kakadu Plum Cranberry, Blue Tansy and Black Cumin Seed. Plus, full-spectrum whole hemp, bio-identical lipid moisturizers, and organic botanical astringents help to balance, clarify and condition skin to feel exceptionally youthful with a healthy, radiant glow.

Herban Wisdom Facial Oil 1 ounce Against Oil Droplet Background

Additional assurances regarding the Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil include:

  • 100% Naturally Derived Ingredients
  • EWG Verified™
  • Leaping Bunny™ Certified Cruelty-Free
  • 100% Vegan
  • Gluten-Free
  • Dye-Free
  • Paraben-Free
  • Preservative-Free
  • Naturally Scented
  • Has Recyclable Packaging

You can order the Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil here. Your skin will love you for it.