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Global Perspectives: Fungal and Mushroom Biotechnologies for Cosmetic Applications

This time, my column for EuroCosmetics magazine considers the power and potential of fungi and mushrooms both as cosmetic ingredients and as factories to produce ingredients for beauty and personal care.

photo courtesy of Deanna Utroske

“The world functions because of fungi.” This may sound extraordinary; but as I spoke with Alison Cutlan about the biology, chemistry, and materiality of mushrooms and fungus recently, I was convinced that she’s right, that the power and prevalence of fungi are integral to life on Earth—to our life.


Cutlan is a biologist, with an academic background in medicinal plant research and a well-earned reputation as a skincare formulations innovator. She and I first met in August of 2019 at the New York City edition of Indie Beauty Expo (a trade show once hosted by the Indie Beauty Media Group, where founder-owned brands exhibited to press, buyers, suppliers, and avid consumers).


Building better skincare with biofermentation tech

When we connected at IBE, what we discussed was mushroom biotechnology. Cutlan is the mind behind the formulations and the brand that is—or, rather, was—Biophile Skincare. The brand’s award-winning Bio-shroom Rejuvenating Serum formulation is a triumph of beauty science.


The Shroom Serum, as it’s known to devotees, has as its central active ingredient a ferment (or broth) made using 4 types of bacteria and 3 medicinal mushrooms: Chaga, Tremella, and Reishi. This proprietary broth, the water phase of the serum formulation, is “nutrient-dense,” comprising vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants as well as beta-glucans from mushroom cells walls—all of which benefit both the skin and the skin microbiome, says Cutlan....


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