I don’t always get excited about new skincare or skincare brands because I really have already worked out what works for me and what my skin likes. But when I found out that Korean luxury skincare brand Sulwhasoo was debuting in Malaysia, I couldn’t stop that little hop, skip and jump of excitement. I haven’t felt this way in a while and its refreshing! :D
I first came across Sulwhasoo when I visited Korea a few years ago. My host’s wife told me that she had been using it, and she had lovely skin! The name trips off your tongue and sounds like a breeze sighing through the trees. Try it for yourself – Sul-wha-soo…. Ahh…. :D What it means in Korean is “Snow Flower Supreme” which is just as romantic a notion, you will agree. A snow flower, I’m told, is a flower that blooms in the harsh winter so the name is a celebration of a woman’s beauty and inner strength.
I was introduced to the brand last week in the beautiful tranquil setting of The Spa at Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur and there was so much to take in! I’ll just share with you an overview of the brand here, and tell you a little about it. If you have tried anything from the brand, or know anyone who has, I’d love to hear your views too!
Sulwhasoo is a luxury skincare brand, which means that it is pricey. No mass market product here, folks. Be prepared to suck it up and pay top dollar.
I was told that the brand uses herbal medicines and medicinal methods, coupled with latest technology to develop their products. As may be expected from a Korean brand, the use of ginseng will feature quite greatly. Anyone who ingests ginseng will know that Korean Ginseng is highly prized (and highly priced) for its quality. In fact, the topselling Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream (RM650/60ml) uses extracts of the root and fruit of Korean Ginseng in its cream.
This cream is one of Sulwhasoo’s top selling, top tier products and smells strongly of ginseng. You will either love it or hate it methinks. I don’t mind it, but it does bring to mind a herbal soup, or a medicinal soup. So do take a healthy sniff of it. It smells…. invigorating :)
The cream feels a little thick and is targeted at anti-aging. On the back of my hand, I found it took a while to absorb but once it did, my skin felt lovely and smooth. I’d use this one primarily as a night cream, if I were using it. Its a bit too thick for the day. The round green things you see in the picture are jade rollers that they use for facial massage when working this cream into your skin. Its not sold together of course.
You see, in Korea and Hong Kong, there are Sulwhasoo facial salons! No plans to open them here or anywhere else yet though. More’s the pity. I had the opportunity to try the products under the deft and skilled hands of a Sulwhasoo facial therapist flown in from Korea and she was, in one word, amazing. It was either the products or her skilled hands that left my face glowing after the 1 hour session, or it could be both. Damn, I hope they open up a facial salon here or if I ever have the chance to visit Korea again, I’m going to try to book myself a session there! :P
We were told that Sulwhasoo products are formulated in accordance with the Korean philosophies of Sang-Seng (rather like yin-yang) to foster harmony between body and mind, harmony between scents and texture, traditional techniques and technological breakthroughs. The other principle upheld is that of Jaeumdan which is a combination of 5 herbal and medicinal plants of Peony, Solomon’s Seal, East Indian Lotus, White Lily and Adhesive Rehmannia to produce products and protect the yin energy of the skin. Extracts of herbs are obtained through the time honoured poje method where goodness is extracted by various methods of pickling, steaming, baking or fermenting. Its all quite esoteric but you have to admit, it captures the imagination ;)
So, what sort of products do we expect from Sulwhasoo?
This is the Sulwhasoo Essential Line which is the basic range suitable for most skintypes. It helps treat dryness and restores health and glow to the skin. Rather like your first step to anti-aging skincare, as it were.
The star product in this range that can be used across all skincare ranges is this one – the First Care Activating Serum (RM250/60ml)
This is a pre-serum that you use after cleansing BEFORE anything else. It reminds me a lot of the concept behind Dior’s One Essential serum and the L’Oreal Youth Code. The idea behind this is to prepare your skin to receive the goodness of whatever other products you choose to put on your face after this. I am VERY intrigued by this one because the concept of pre-serums isn’t new to me and I’m going to have to try this! There is a very light herbal scent that isn’t unpleasant and the texture is very liquid.
For those who have combination-oily skin or who want something more hydrating, there is the Hydro-Aid Line which adds moisture to plump up skin and give a more supple appearance. I didn’t have the chance to test this one but it sounds lovely doesn’t it? As might be expected, this one would be targeted at younger customers who may not have problems with skin dryness or fine lines and who want just something light and hydrating.
You may notice that none of the lines featured so far contain a cleanser. This is because cleasnsers have a range of their own. There is a herbal soap bar and cleansing foam as well as cleansing oil makeup remover. These cleansers are used across the board, regardless of the skincare range you eventually put on your skin.
The skincare range that is specifically targeted at anti-aging is the Timetreasure line which is a premium line to boost skin energy and combat signs of aging. This would be targeted at those who have problems with aging skin and lines and wrinkles. I’d like to think I don’t quite fall into this category just yet but who am I kidding eh? ;)
I also had to show you the Men’s Line because I LOVE THE PACKAGING! When I saw it, I literally squealed and embarrassed myself LOL :D I love the cool grey and black tones and how the bottles remind me of stoneware. Darn! I wish the women’s range was packaged the same way! :P
My take away from the introduction to Sulwhasoo is that the products are formulated to address signs of aging and to restore skin energy to give you that glow you seek. Other than the Hydro-aid range and another range that has skin whitening as its focus, I found that anti-aging was the common thread that runs through most of Sulwhasoo products. I suppose focus is a good thing too!
I asked which range one might look at to start with if one were new to the brand and I was told that the Essential range would be the one to start with.
This is like the most basic range Sulwhasoo has to address hydration and anti-aging. The target customer for this range would be those in their 30s to 40s although I can imagine that most younger women may prefer the Hydro-Aid which is supposed to be lighter in texture and therefore more suitable for someone who has oilier skin as most young women do. But don’t use age as your guide. Use what your skin needs to decide what you need right now :) Apparently in Thailand, the Essential range is very popular among women as young as their early 20’s! The Thais take their anti-aging seriously ;)
Have you tried anything from Sulwhasoo or know someone who has? Do you have something to share about the products you may have tried?
I will definitely be giving the First Care Activating Serum a go, because I am intrigued by it. I also have a tiny little sample tub of the Concentrated Ginseng Cream that I want to try. I hope my skin likes it and yet my wallet hopes it doesn’t :P If you have a product you think is a must try, please do share! :D
Sulwhasoo is available at Parkson Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and will be available in Parkson Gurney in Penang from end June 2013.