On some days, a very affordable moisturiser seals the deal for me. On other days, I head right to the other end of the price scale, and whack on something eye-wateringly expensive. It’s just how I roll.
And that was when I realised that I’d never ever once mentioned nor reviewed the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX. How remiss of me!
Most regular readers will know that I’m not big on Korean skincare. While I know the Korean wave is still strong, I struggle to find a K-beauty brand or product to love wholeheartedly. That was until I met Sulwhasoo a few years ago. Since then, I’ve tried a few products from the brand, both in full size and in sample form.
I don’t make it a secret the fact that the only Korean brand I have been able to use and more importantly, notice results from, is Sulwhasoo. My skin has reacted well to most products I’ve tried from the brand (especially the Overnight Revitalizing Mask), and each time I try something new, I cry a little inside, because I know my skin will like it, and then my wallet will die :P
It is also no secret that Sulwhasoo is a luxury brand of skincare. There are different tiers within the brand (and I can tell you that the basic Essential range – white body, yellow caps – is quite good to start with), but in the main, it strikes a heavy blow to your wallet, so I will understand if you sigh a little.
I’d come across many raves for the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Renewing Ginseng Cream EX before this, and one day, I scored a little sample pot, which I guarded with my life. When I finished it, I knew I was in trouble. I wanted the full sized tub! Sigh…
Long story short, I indulged one day, picked up the full sized tub, and then forgot about it. As always happens with me :P Ah but no longer!
My new year mantra for 2019 is to use it or lose it, so when I finished The Inkey List Turmeric cream, I headed straight for my skincare cupboard, dug out the precious jar of Sulwhasoo Concentrated Renewing Ginseng Cream EX, and put it to use.
Sulwhasoo reformulated their famous ginseng cream a few years ago, and came out with a new lighter version. If you have a combination skin type, or if you don’t like heavier textured creams, then you will want to go for the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Renewing Ginseng Cream EX LIGHT.
The texture is noticeably lighter, and it also sits more lightly on the skin. I personally found it a little too light for my tastes, so I gravitate to the original version – there are 2 versions, so be careful when buying.
The cream comes in a lovely, luxuriously designed, squat glass jar. I love how the jar, with its rounded bottom, sits comfortably in the palm of your hand, with a comfortable heft to it. Another thing I like is that the jar comes sealed for freshness. This way, you will know for a fact that you are getting a brand new jar of cream.
I have noticed this in all Sulwhasoo products – their full-sized bottles and jars all come sealed and it is this little attention to detail that grabs me from the get-go.
A plastic spatula is also included in the box, if you prefer. Because I’m the only person using it, I don’t always use the spatula. I find it quicker to just dip my (clean) finger in – but it is there, if you prefer not to.
Unlike most creamy moisturisers, the texture of the cream isn’t thick. When you scoop it out, it isn’t solid, but a little runny and liquid. It is almost like a thicker emulsion.
It however, feels almost like an oil-based cream. A cream, blended with oil. It sinks right into my skin, and almost immediately seems to soften my skin and moisturise it. I do have skin that tends to be dry, so it might be why I fell in love with the texture almost immediately!
When the cream touches my skin, it almost seems to liquify, and then sink in most satisfyingly with just a minimum of massage. For this cream, I find that this technique of applying skincare is best because it sinks in so quickly. It probably is no coincidence that I discovered this technique from Sulwhasoo too! :D
My skin drinks it all up, and the best part is that although I don’t use very much each time, it leaves my skin feeling just right. It is just the right amount of moisturized. It is just the right amount of comfort. It is, to repeat myself, just right!
While many people find it a bit rich for use in the day, I use it both day and night. A little less in the day, but it keeps my skin feeling comfortable all day long. A wee bit more at night, and I wake up the next morning with soft, moisturised skin.
I don’t like to use the word “glow” too much, because sometimes, it’s so hard to identify what that “glow” is. Is it just a good night’s sleep, is it because you’re happy, or is it from your wonderful skincare? It’s so hard to tell!
But I find that after weeks of using this cream, day and night, and sometimes day OR night, my skin seems to be re-balanced. It feels softer. It feels smoother. I struggled with some random patches of dry skin on my face for a little while (I was sick with a strange viral fever and that messed up my skin) and using this cream softened all the hard, rough skin, and chased the flakiness away. When I wash my face in the morning, it doesn’t get red and I use less makeup.
My skin is happier. And when my skin is happier, I’m happier. And I have a better day. It’s all a happy knock-on effect :D
The other thing I noticed also, is that my skin appears to be stronger. It’s hard to explain this, but basically, when I use more irritating products like the Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel, or Liquid Gold, my skin doesn’t feel so sensitive.
I also find that my skin does not turn red, or look as red and patchy even in our hot weather. I’m no expert, so I do wonder if it is the ginseng that might be helping, as it is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and ginseng also boosts blood circulation. So maybe my skin doesn’t just FEEL stronger, maybe it is.
I also use this cream over products that might potentially be drying, like a retinol serum, just to counteract the effects. So far, it seems to be working well for me.
I will have to note that there is fragrance added, and it smells quite strongly of herbs, roots and ginseng. If you don’t like smells like that (like a Chinese herbal shop!) then you will hate this, I’m afraid. The ginseng scent is unmistakable!
While I complain a lot about scent, I happen to love the smell of herbs and roots and yes, ginseng. So this was great for me. I find the scent so soothing, especially in the evening. It will dissipate, so you do not smell of ginseng all day, but it is there when you open the jar, it is there when you scoop out the product, and it is there when you apply it to your skin. And I bloody well love it! :D
So, what don’t I love about this wonderful cream then? Well, the price, primarily.
A 60ml jar retails now at RM750 (US$240) and as prices are wont to do, will go up. It is therefore hard to sustain in a regular routine. A jar can and will last you a little while (depending on how much and how often you use it), but it will eventually run out, and you’ll spend the better part of your pay cheque replenishing it. For this reason, it is a little unattainable, and if attained, unsustainable in the long run.
It is kind of sad, but that’s the fact of it.
I have used many expensive, high-end skincare products in my time. But there aren’t many that I’d say, with certainty and alacrity, that I’d grit my teeth and pay for them.
But I will, for the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Renewing Ginseng Cream EX -and I did :)
IN A NUTSHELL
The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Renewing Ginseng Cream EX is a luxurious, cream moisturiser that almost seems to melt on my skin. It comes in 2 versions – the original, and a Light version, depending on your skin type and preference. I personally go for the original version. I love the texture and how it almost seems to melt into my skin. I love how moisturised my skin feels when I use it, and how soft, smooth and comfortable my skin feels. It almost seems to feel stronger as well, especially as my skin doesn’t seem to react as much when I’m using some harsher treatment products. I love everything about it, from the herbal, earthy ginseng scent, to its beautiful texture and packaging. But what I don’t love is the price, which is prohibitive for most. But if you can spring for it, or if you can find a trial set with a little jar of cream in it, try it. Just don’t fall in love with it like I did :P Or maybe do :P
Lightweight texture melts into the skin
Skin feels softened almost immediately
Skin feels and looks smoother a
SKin feels stronger and is less sensitive
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who has drier or more matured skin, Anyone who wants a cream that softens, moisturises, smoothens and strengthens skin all at the same time, Anyone who appreciates earthy herbal ginseng smells
PRICE: RM750 | US$240 for 60ml (may sometimes come in 30ml jars)
WHERE TO BUY: Sulwhasoo stores and counters, Zalora, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus
For those interested, here is the ingredients list for the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Renewing Ginseng Cream EX:
Ingredients: Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Water, Glycerin, Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Trehalose, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Phytosteryl Isostearyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Peg-40 Stearate, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey, Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Enzyme- Treated Red Ginseng Saponins), Panax Ginseng Flower Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Extract, Retinol, Beta-Glucan, Caffeic Acid, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Leaf Extract, Polyquaternium-51, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glyceryl Linolenate, Glyceryl Linoleate, Glyceryl Arachidonate, Dextrin, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Lauryl Peg/Ppg-18/18 Methicone, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Methoxy Peg-114/Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Cyclodextrin, Salicylic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Sodium Polyaspartate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Stearic Acid, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Acetyl Glucosamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Pantethine, Palmitic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Propanediol, Propylene Glycol, Peg-100 Stearate, Peg-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Phytosphingosine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hexyl Laurate, Jojoba Esters, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
A Note about buying samples
Sulwhasoo is a Korean brand, and Korean brands are usually a little more generous with handing out samples in store or at the counter. If you are keen to try this, you may be able to snag yourself a sample sachet from the store/counter. I have, just by asking nicely, and without buying anything. If you do buy something (the Overnight Revitalizing Mask perhaps, or even a trial kit like this one), they are much more generous.
However, I must caution against buying samples online. You will be able to find many websites that sell little 5ml sample jars of this cream. Because it is so expensive, it is tempting to buy these sample jars, because it will work out cheaper than a full-sized jar.
The problem is that you do not know how old these samples are, where they have been, if it’s hygienic (samples aren’t usually sealed) and worst of all, if they’re authentic.
So I understand the temptation to buy a sample jar, but please don’t. These sample jars are often found in trial kits. Sulwhasoo makes trial kits quite often and I buy them, because the sizes are very handy for travel, and it allows me to test the product more extensively. It is also more affordable.
So if you do want to buy a sample product, buy them in store or at the counter, from the original, authentic, legitimate source. Not from a website, and especially NOT from someone who purports to decant them into jars for sale. It makes my skin crawl just thinking of it :P
Have you perchance tried this Sulwhasoo Concentrate Renewing Ginseng Cream EX?
I understand it is expensive. Don’t all of you yell at me at once :P But heck, this bloody damn well works like a charm! :P