Tag Archives: Sulwhasoo

Sulwhasoo First Activating Serum

If I ever develop brand loyalty, it will be for the lovely Hanyul, which from what I see is a more affordable hanbang alternative to Sulwhasoo aimed at the Korean domestic market only. As a sucker for the rare and unavailable stuff, I have been way more into Hanyul than the much more internationally available Sulwhasoo. An exception has been made for the Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask (featured here) which I love dearly, as Hanyul does not have a sleeping pack that I enjoy (not since the Rich Effect Overnight Mask anyway).

The Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is a beloved product from the Sulwhasoo brand that is in the HG list of so many on the internet. While I was still using the Hanyul Optimizing Serum (read review), I’ve read that it is a dupe for the way more expensive FCAS, in that it is a fermented serum to be used right after cleansing, and purports to aid in the absorption of the subsequent skincare items in the routine. When I had excess expiring miles, I jumped at the chance and redeemed two bottles.

It comes with a plethora of plant extracts. For hanbang formulations I generally go by the experience more than anything in the ingredients list, as hanbang ingredients are not as well researched as the star ingredients like Vitamins A/B/C/E and the exfoliants like AHAs/BHAs.

Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Water, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Glycerin, Betaine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Adenophora Stricta Root Extract, Lycium Chinense Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, Angelica Tenuissima Root Extract, Honey, Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Natto Gum, Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Peg/Ppg-17/6 Copolymer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Potassium Carbomer, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dextrin, Cellulose Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Phenyl Trimethicone, Propanediol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Propylene Glycol, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

The serum comes in the form of a brownish gel-like liquid with a herbal fragrance, very similar to the Hanyul. It is light and layers nicely underneath all moisturisers and sunscreens that I have tried.

I’ve given it a few months of use and I can safely say that it did not do anything for my skin. I’ve tried halting its use for weeks and I have observed no difference to my skin.

To be fair, though, my regular routine is working great and I have no complaints at all. Credits go to the actives Melano CC (read review), Estée Lauder ANR (featured here) and a good emollient moisturiser Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Cream (read review). Moreover,  is not a fair comparison to the Hanyul Optimizing Serum (read review) as my skin is in a pretty much optimal state right now.

So peeps, if you haven’t found your HG serum, go ahead and give the sample or trial sizes of the FCAS a try. Otherwise, I will be giving this expensive serum a miss.

 

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A Week of Repairing Skincare

When I just returned from my trip to Switzerland, MY HEART WAS FULL (´ ▽`).。o♡ but MY SKIN WAS TERRIBLE (⌣_⌣”).

Despite taking a small army of skincare items, plus protective gear like hats and sunglasses with me, I still suffered from redness (a combination of the cold, sunburns and windburns) and the feeling of skin dryness and tightening is almost constant. So when I returned, it was an uphill battle to get my skin back to the pink of health.

Here are a few things I did to get my skin to calm the F down.

The ceramidin mask is pretty awesom. It is also the most expensive mask that I have ever repurchased. 😦

1. Masking, masking, masking

A huge problem I had was the inability to retain moisture. As soon as I stepped out of the shower, there was an uncomfortable tautness in the skin. The answer to that, I found, was using a mask every single day. Be it regular glycerin-propylene glycol-hyaluronic acid type of mask or the high end ones that claims to do everything under the sun, it is the consistency that counts the most.

I have been enjoying the JAYJUN Baby Pure Shining MaskDr Morita Hyaluronic Acid Essence Face Mask, and my absolute fave by far DR. JART+ Ceramidin Mask (review), a mask full of watery and oily goodness.

As for the mornings, I have no time or patience for masks, but I was sure to use Chifure Essence (review) or any other hydrating essences.

Repairing Skincare 02

Some high end stuff in the mix!

2. Mositurise

Following the mask, I moisturise immediately. Without a layer of emollients as well as occlusives to keep the water in, I find that my skin returns to the previous state of uncomfortable tautness. In mere minutes I can feel my skin shriveling up like an old man, seriously.

I have been enjoying: HABA Squalane (review), which isn’t occlusive enough to replace a face cream, Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream (review) absolute fave, Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Skin Refining Cream (review) for the day time under sunscreen, and SK-II RNA Power Cream.

On the first few days, I’ve also worn the Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask (review) on top of the cream as yet another layer of occlusive.

I had to take a photo with these alliums (basically flowering onions, I think?) I love having fun with the styling of the photos on this blog XP

3. Careful with the AHAs

I packed a BHA along with me for the trip, because AHAs can lead to sun sensitivity and I don’t want it to be a problem, even though I touch up on skin screen almost religiously. But as I have normal to dry skin, AHAs always made a lot more difference to my skin than BHAs ever did, so I was happy to be back home and reunited with the Cosrx AHA Whitehead Power Liquid.

The thing is, AHAs have kinda stung for my entire life. Even after 5 years of regularly using AHAs, it hasn’t gotten any better and it is something that I’ve come to accept and anticipate with any AHA usage. With my skin in a highly sensitised state, I only applied the AHA once in the week, and left it at that. Gradually, it went back to 3 times a week, which is how I normally use it.

Really short routine, but this is exactly what I used for the first 2 nights when my skin was at my worst.

4. Bring out all the anti-oxidants

I think everybody has a favourite serum for, you know, general anti-aging. If not, I wish you loads of luck and you can click through my Serums and Skin Treatment reviews for ideas. For me, my one true love has to be Estée Lauder ANR, which is my oldest cosmetic love. I don’t exactly know what is working for me, maybe it is the Vitamin A, but I always have a 100ml on hand, even though most of the time I’m trying out other serums. But during this period, I have turned to those that have consistently worked well for me.

Serums that I’m using now: Estée Lauder ANR and Melano CC Medicated Intensive Spot Correcting Serum (review). If you have dabbled in skincare for a while now you’d have your own faves too, just make sure you stick real close to those tried and tested formulas, rather than popping yet another serum that you’ve never tried open.

What I Used To Do

I’ve actually had loads of experience with dryness and sensitivity, and I’ve mostly stuck to the routine.

Back in 2014, I’ve tried a hell lot more, as seen in my post, A State of Emergency. Some things include:

  • Manuka honey mask – which I most commonly use when I have both sensitive skin and pimples, I cannot vouch for its efficacy, but it is a delicious mask 😉
  • Manuka honey + cinnamon mask – Again, delicious mask, does it do anything at all? ><
  • EPO, flaxseed oil, vitamin supplements – Nope, haven’t done any supplements in a while now, but I’m a lot healthier than I was back in 2014 (exercise & eating well. I’m still not getting enough sleep).

You can go to my old post and have a laugh (but seriously its not TOO bad) =.=

The Top 5 Repurchases

It’s been a year since my last post, and since I’ve taken this blog offline. At one point last year there were too many things going on in my life. Mind you, my skincare habit has not wavered one bit. Its just that it took too much energy to keep the words and pictures going. Things were much simpler when I took to writing snippets for myself, with no regard for grammar, vocabulary and pictures.

Earlier this year while at lunch with a friend, the topic moved on to skincare at one point. The said friend commented that my eye literally light up when I talk about skincare. I don’t even do that when I talk about my job. And I like my job.

That is when I thought maybe I don’t just like skincare. Maybe a better word is I love it? I’m even passionate about it?

And then, here it is, back to blogging and nurturing this passion of mine. I don’t know how things will go yet. I can’t wait. 😀

 ♪└|゚皿゚ |┐♪└| ゚皿゚ |┘♪┌| ゚皿゚|┘♪

Over the past year, I still like to be the guinea pig and constantly try new products. But through trial and error I found a few that I return to time and time again. So today I’m bringing you my favorite 5 beauty repurchases.
Estee Lauder ANR (m)

1. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair

This is the second and third jumbo-sized brown bottle put to action. ANR has been written and raved about so thoroughly that I guess I have nothing original to add. It is not a miracle worker, but it is good for improving skin texture and firmness. For radiance, spots and wrinkles, I’d suggest using another specialized serum on top of this. Chifure Essence (m)

2. Chifure Beauty Essence

Okay, I am cheating here, this is not technically a repurchase. I’ve been using this product for only a month since I returned from Japan, but I can really foresee myself staying madly in love with it for the rest of my life. Three refill packs is already testament to that, right? Its place in my routine is pretty simple, its just a hydrating serum to boost the moisture level and reduce dehydration lines. It is similar to UNITEC Advanced Hydrating Essence in terms of texture and function, slightly thicker than the Hada Labo Lotion that many rave about, but the price is unbeatable for what it does. Sulwhasoo Overnight Mask (m)

3. Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask

The replacement for my beloved Hanyul Overnight Mask which got discontinued. The fragrance is not as pleasant and with far less ginseng, but it works equally well. On days when I have to work past midnight, my routine is 1. ANR 2. CPR 3. Sulwhasoo, and it works out great.

On a side note, I find myself trusting brands based on traditional medicine, such as Sulwhasoo and Hanyul almost blindly. I mean, when a brand talks about employing ingredients like “peony, Solomon’s seal, East Indian lotus, white lily and adhesive rehmannia to counter the effects of dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, diminished elasticity and dullness”, I cannot dismiss it as marketing hogwash. The products work like magic, even though it has not been supported by research.

Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel (m)

4. Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel

This sunscreen has a lightweight texture, leaves no white-cast and stickiness. However, it does dry down with a light shine that some may mistake for oiliness, but I don’t mind since I go over the sunscreen with foundation anyway.

The downside is that it contains alcohol, so a hydrating serum under the sunscreen is a must. Moreover, there isn’t that much active ingredients for UV protection. I will use it on my body and face when it is cloudy, but during full days out in the sun, this one stays on the shelf.

Fino Hair Mask 01 (m)

5. Shiseido Fino Premium Touch Penetrating Hair Mask

Earlier this year had to crop my hair shoulder-length due the damage that I had wrecked, and I decided to keep further chemical treatment to a minimal.

In addition, I picked up this hair mask again to give my tresses an extra nutritional boost. After washing my hair, I’d lightly towel dry, before combing about a dollop in my hair ends and wait for five minutes. Even on days when I wash the mask off immediately after lightly massaging the hair roots without leaving it on for too long, my hair feels looks shiny and feels soft.

 

 

And there you go! My top 5 repurchases, and possible my favorites at the moment. And darn its so fun to play around with a proper camera. 😀

Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream

Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream 01

I keep getting the idea that Sulwhasoo and Hanyul are the same products but with different price ranges. I mean, they both are oriental medicine-based skincare under the Amore Pacific group, and technology and research should flow within the group, right? When I placed my order for Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream, I figured if Hanyul is supposed to be a more affordable version of Sulwhasoo, I should like the latter just as much if not more. I couldn’t be more wrong.

The Essential Firming Cream is from Sulwhasoo’s basic skin care range. It claims to:

Restore elasticity and tone… blended with potent Korean medicinal herbs to instantly firm slackened skin while stimulating collagen for long-term lift. Detoxifying adlay millet promotes elasticity while contouring. Pomegranate, green tea, and gingko fight free radicals to maintain youthful tone and increase radiance.

Right there you can see how wrong it is to compare the Essential Firming Cream with my favorites. The Rich Effect Cream is from the “Go-Gyeol-Jinaek” line in purple packaging, which is for mature skin. If I were to be totally fair, I should compare the Essential Firming Cream with a moisturizer from the Hanyul equivalent of basic skincare line, which will be the products in blue or green packaging.

Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream 02

The packaging is of course beautiful, the smooth and rounded frosted glass jar feels hefty in my hands. I expected a ginseng, or at least herbal scent, not really. It’s instead very spicy, for the lack of a better word. The texture is thicker than regular creams but absorbs easily without forming a film.

And here come the part I dislike—leave the product on for two or three hours and you’ll know why it claims to be firming. I don’t know if it is the dryness of the air, but my face feels uncomfortably taut after a while, and like the Revitalizing Cream, I must also rely on a sleep mask for extra moisture when I go to bed.

Moreover, as a moisturizer, it is honestly plain basic. It is alright at providing moisture, but it isn’t all that great at keeping the moisture there. Moreover, I do not observe much improvements after using this for months. But then again, I was indeed getting a lot more sleep when I was trying out Hanyul products. If I had lower expectations I wouldn’t be as disappointed.

Still, I will be moving on after I’m done with this, not repurchasing!