Biofermentation is responsible for three of my favorite things: kimchi, kombucha, and bomb-ass skin.

Everyone knows kimchi and kombucha are good for you, but as I recently learned, it’s a little tricker to see those benefits when it comes to skincare. After years of slathering on every serum, cream, and oil containing ingredients for healthy skin, it behooved me to ask if the nutrients costing me top dollars were even being absorbed. Fun fact: they weren’t. Most skincare, even natural skincare, have nutrient molecules that are too large and unconcentrated for our skin to process.

Enter fermentation. Fermentation is the process in which small microorganisms break down nutrient molecules into smaller and more concentrated sizes, which, in turn, allows our skin to synthesize not only the nutrients we are trying to feed it, but also more of them.

Fermentation is not exactly a new trend in skincare. Brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm, Vintner’s Daughter, SK-II, and Joanna Vargas have all employed the fermentation process to concentrate nutrients into potent and effective products. The problem? They’ve largely decided to charge $225-$350 per product while adding unnecessary preservatives.

Launched in 2019, Biophile is a skincare start-up created by founders Alison Cutlan and Grace Fooden to provide a more affordable, completely natural, small-batch, preservative-free, and full-range option for the fermentation fiends and folks. Their three product offerings (Essence, Serum, and Oil) were created in the founder’s uber-hip super-nerd Brooklyn laboratory with the goal of encouraging the living biology of our skin.

As badass founder Alison Cutlan noted, “We have an amazing constellation of bacteria on our skin that most of beauty hasn’t acknowledged. This bacteria is the lifeforce of our skin and [traditional beauty] is working against our biology— so we [created] a full-formula that was all active skin food.”

Biophile ferments its products two ways: naturally and bio technically. The natural fermentation creates post-biotics which increases the ingredient’s nutritional value and makes it immediately available for absorption, while biotechnical fermentation creates new “ingredients” such as hyaluronic acid. These processes create Biophile’s starting point for each of its products – their broths – which eliminate any need for added preservatives due to their natural self-preservation abilities.

Biophile (whose name means “lover of life”) acknowledges the intangibility of big business beauty: one where products are formulated in warehouses with unpronounceable ingredients designed to patch together skin, not enhance it. As Alison says, “innovation and creativity can come out of a small lab in Brooklyn.”

After testing out Biophile’s Root Bionic Refining Essence, Bio-shroom Rejuvenating Serum, and Bio Barrier Nourishing Oil, I couldn’t agree more.

The Review

To set the stage for the rest of this review, it’s important to note that I have dry and extremely sensitive skin with the added bonus of eczema. My dermatologist has referred to it as a triple threat; I, myself, refer to it as annoying. Because of this, some manipulation for these products was taken to suit my needs.

It’s worth noting that I sent the following trio of products to a friend who was dealing with adult acne and excessively oily skin, who saw immediate results in just three days. These products are also sensitive skin approved, and in my opinion, perfectly ideal for combination skin. If you have dry skin, you might want to just skip ahead to the Bio-Barrier Nourishing Oil. Here we go.

Root Bionic Refining Essence ($78)


After a recent move to Miami, I was experiencing a bizarre combination of both extreme dryness and oiliness. I concentrated the essence exclusively where shine would matriculate and saw the pores on my nose shrink threefold which allowed me to cut out the baking in my make-up routine and regard humidity as a tameable, yet naughty little minx. All-in-all, my skin looked more refined once carefully allocated. If you have oily skin please do yourself a favor and purchase this product or, at the very least, begin your exploration of fermented essences.

On a side note, the product does have a distinct smell derived from the fermented ginger and burdock. Sometimes natural ingredients will smell as they naturally smell. ‘Tis life.

Bio-shroom Rejuvenating Serum ($148)


Bio-shroom is a cult favorite and Biophile’s most recognizable product after its win at the Indie Beauty awards for “Best Serum.” Created out of a three mushroom broth, chaga, lishi, and snow mushroom, this brown serum provides natural melanin (UV protection), adaptogens (calming), and PGA (hydration), with peptides, vitamin B, and vitamin C thrown in for good measure.

After a week, my skin looked softer, calmer, and more even. As a mere learning experience, the introduction of softness and calmness made me mature intellectually in my skin-care process. I hadn’t necessarily considered those aspects as particularly important in my pursuit for perfect skin and now I feel as though I have done myself a disservice. Nevertheless, I truly believe this product would provide the necessary, and non-inflammatory, moisture for my more combination or oily-skinned comrades. For myself, a little drop of concentrated hyaluronic acid was necessary to include.

Bio-Barrier Nourishing Oil ($118)


Two words: matte finish. I had never considered oil as a final product and now…now I am addicted. Yes, this product takes a couple (just a couple) minutes to sink into your skin, but holy Zeus’ beard. It is as though there is nothing on my skin at all and it just comes out a perfect smooth template for make-up application. Primer? Unneeded. Foundation? Unnecessary. Powder Blush? Meh. I had to transition my make-up routine to daintier liquid options as anything else was detracting from the perfection of my skin’s general smoothness. The secret? Fermented green tea oil. Bravo. Brilliant. Chef’s kiss.

Honestly, it reminded me of make-up commercials where you watch models slather on foundation on top of their skin which already has foundation on it, except the smooth, yet plump, matte photo finish was just happening naturally. This product plumps up the skin by strengthening the dermis and epidermis junction and, as someone who is on the thinner side, the plump-up is necessary.

Mazel Tov, Biophile. Mazel Tov.

TLDR;

– Fermentation helps break down nutrient molecules into smaller and more concentrated sizes, which, in skincare, helps it be absorbed better and into deeper layers of your skin

– Biophile is a Brooklyn-based skincare brand with the goal of making affordable, completely natural, small-batch, and preservative-free fermented skincare

– They currently offer just three products, Root Bionic Refining Essence, Bio-shroom Rejuvenating Serum, and Bio Barrier Nourishing Oil, ranging from $78 to $148

– Ideal for all skin types, especially sensitive and combo skin

– Buy HERE

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