The last time I visited South Korea in 2006, Korean skincare wasn’t really a big thing internationally. I don’t remember seeing a lot of the brands like Nature’s Republic and It’s Skin on every street and corner. Since then, KPop has exploded and the along with it awareness of Korean cosmetics through idol endorsements. I wasn’t into Korean products, but I did snoop around the Amore Pacific online store for intel.
Earlier this year, I wanted to try the Sulwhasoo products, as the concept of using traditional ingredients appealed to me. It is however out of my budget. Then I found out about Hanyul, a supposedly “more affordable” version of the Sulwhasoo, belonging to the same company Amore Pacific. I asked friends to help me purchase some of the products during their trips to South Korea—the Hanyul Optimizing Serum, Rich Effect Whitening Powder Serum and Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream—the ones listed prominently on the Amore Pacific site. Later I realized the brand has a separate website. I wanted to kick myself for not doing proper research and going through their entire catalogue first 😦
I cannot find information about the product in English, even the ingredients list is in Korean so bear with me, I can only go with my feel on this. Unarmed with information it seems like one of my senses has been robbed from me.
The serum comes in the form of a brownish gel-like liquid with a herbal fragrance which I cannot place. I do not understand the ingredients list but I do smell alcohol in there. It is very quickly absorbed with a slightly cooling sensation, which of course is due to the alcohol.
I like to wear this serum in the mornings, directly under my sunblock/sunscreen/BB cream. Having a layer of moisturizer before the SPF is really uncomfortable for me and the BB cream especially tends to slip. When used at night with my regular moisturizer I do not observe any effects the morning after, except when I pair it with Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream (but that is entirely thanks to the the cream, not the serum).
Repurchase? Hmm no. As I use this daily, I’m constantly reminded of the awesomeness that is Estée Lauder ANR (read review). The color and consistency is similar, but ANR is superior in its morning after healthy glow. After months of psychological side-by-side comparison I think I’ll continue my quest to find a younger version of the ANR.
UPDATE Jan 14, 2014: I’ve recently switched over to Lancôme Génifique for a week, and BAMF, out popped those whiteheads. After the subsequent scramble to get rid of them, I have a new found appreciation for the Hanyul Optimizing Serum. Honestly, while it is not ANR, it is fantastic at calming the skin and reducing inflammatory response to products. I estimate I have a further 2 weeks supply of this serum, and then I’ll be out.
Definitely will repurchase after the current stash of serums run out. It is worth coming back to, every now and again.