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Fermentation Technology and the Future of Beauty Ingredients

In recent years, fermentation has captured the attention of the cosmetics and personal care industry and of consumers in relation to K Beauty, as it pertains to microbiome–centered health and wellness, and as a vehicle for education around biotech ingredient production.

Manufacturing Cannabinoids for Beauty with Fermentation Tech

Much of what I hear about fermentation lately is in the CBD space. Despite regulatory discrepancies about using cannabinoids in skin care and other beauty products, biotech companies are developing production processes, using fermentation, to deliver CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, CBGA, CBDV etc. at commercial scale.

Lygos CBx makes at least 8 cannabinoids using fermentation technology for sale into the pharma, supplements, and beauty marketplaces. Amyris, which makes ingredients and leads brands in beauty and personal care, announced having scaled fermentation-based CBG production 6 months ago.

Can Fermentation Tech Solve Beauty’s Palm Oil Problem?

And while cannabinoid beauty is a swiftly growing and important new opportunity for the industry, I am most enchanted just now with a biotech company using fermentation to produce a much more long-standing and common beauty ingredient: palm oil.

C16 Biosciences is led by Shara Ticku. And the New York City – based company prides itself on “making clean, safe, bio-based alternatives to palm oil.”

The challenge with conventional palm oil is that all too often, palm trees are cultivated and the fruits harvested for oil at the expense of biodiversity, endangered species, delicate tropical ecosystems, and local populations. And due to the circuitous nature of the supply chain, it’s very difficult to get single-source palm oil or otherwise ensure that no egregious practices were used in the sourcing process.

C16 Biosciences’ technology uses yeast (and therefore fermentation) to produce its palm oil replacements. The resulting ingredients are notably less of a burden on the natural environment. And as I understand it, the C16 ingredients are less expensive than conventional palm oil too.

Beauty Consumers are aware of Fermentation Tech

Fermented beauty isn’t lingering behind the scenes. Of course, fermentation is still a part of many popular brands’ formulations and, as such, visible to beauty consumers.

Here I am thinking of the We Are Wild Solid Clean Probiotic Cleanser made with “fermented anti-oxidants,” the Active Treatment Essence from Vintner’s Daughter that includes an ingredient blend made during a “two-week fermentation process that produces beneficial probiotics,” Alo Yoga’s new line of skin care made with “K beauty fermented ingredients,” and the hair and scalp care products from Gallinée that are made with “fermented rice water.”

What are Your Thoughts on Fermented Beauty?

Fermentation may not be a top beauty ingredient trend just now. Still, I’m paying attention to what fermentation can offer the cosmetics and personal care industry.

If you are too, please take a moment to leave a comment and let me know what you’re seeing in fermented beauty!

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this DUviews item was originally posted to LinkedIn and now appears on


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