Review: Sulwhasoo First Care Serum

I used to settle for any products I’d receive from office, or else buy almost anything from Tony Moly, The Face Shop, Etude House (yes yes, I’m a Korean product fanatic, you get the gist). They were cheap and good, and did the job.

However, ever since I unearthed a bottle of this in the dust-ridden corner of the CLEO office and brought the poor orphan home,  my entire skincare regime has changed completely.  85% of my skincare products (and salary) are from Sulwhasoo 설화수 or 雪花秀. In fact, majority of Korean women use Sulwhasoo. Always envied their snow-white skin? Now you know their secret (besides plastic surgery, of course).

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating SerumSulwhasoo First Care Serum (now known as Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum) – 60ml, ₩80,000 (SGD90)
Limited edition 100ml – ₩120,000 (SGD134)

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum 2

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum 3

I say…

My first impression of this brand can be summarised in one word – “Huh?” I mean seriously, from a Singaporean perspective, anything related to TCM and herbs = bad-smelling patches and a middle-aged lady massaging the bejeezus out of you while you yelp and squirm. It’s even worse when that middle-aged sinseh is your aunt, and your 30-something year-old cousin is happily snapping photos of your agonised face and posting them on Facebook.

But, I digress.

  • The packaging was unimpressive (brown and plain), smelled of herbs, and was barely heard of.
  • The First Care Serum 윤조에센스 (pronounced Yoon Jo E-sen-seu) was absorbed almost instantly, and the herb scent seemed to have a therapeutic calming effect upon me.
  • 2 weeks to a month after I used it, there was a noticeable difference to my skin – I kid you not. The pores were smaller and the skin tone was evened out.  I was sold.
  • Even my dork of a brother, who rarely gives two hoots about his skin, started sneaking into my room and using my First Care Serum. He liked that it smelled good, absorbed easily, had no sticky residue, and made his skin smoother. I’m not sure whether that’s true, considering the fact that he rarely shaves and looks like a 1.69m version of Hagrid.
  • I use it once a day (it’s too much of a luxury for me to use twice a day). Cleanse – tone – first care serum. Sometimes, I get lazy and it’s just cleanse +first care serum.
  • On the rare occasion that I decide to be extravagant and apply it in the day before I go out, I find that it makes my skin smoother and makeup glides on more easily. It’s like liquid Glad Wrap for your face that allows it to breathe.
  • I’m into my 3rd bottle already, and next week, I’m zipping off to Korea again to grab another bottle. If Sulwhasoo was priced at Tony Moly / The Face Shop prices, I’d have bought a carton to bathe it in.



19 thoughts on “Review: Sulwhasoo First Care Serum

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  14. Hi, thank younfor your review on Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. from my the official web, is suggest to use this first after cleansing…. maybe you want give it a try?
    Can this product help change your skin tone, like from combi skin to normal skin, I have heard Taiwanese blogger raves about this benefit and really keen to try. But very expensive thou..

    • Hi Ash, I’ve actually been using this since 2009 and I’ve tried many methods of using this – after freshly cleansed skin, after toner etc but the method I prefer the most is after a lightweight toner / treatment essence because the recommended application method of skincare by scientists and researchers across all brands (after my 9 years as a magazine editor) have all mentioned that you start with the most lightweight product. I am not sure whether it can change your skin type (not skin tone cos skin tone is the colour and shade) from normal to oily etc but it’s all genetic, lifestyle as well as environmental. You could have good skin but once you move to a country with heavy pollution you might have major outbreaks, and vice versa. You should try this product though. It’s pretty decent at like SGD80-100. 🙂

  15. hi beautiful buns!
    i am your big fans!! 🙂
    wanna ask something regarding skincare. i’ve been using Laneige since 5 years ago. and then now i’m reaching 23 years old. and i wonder that i need to update my skincare to the one that have more effect for my skin and i see this sulwhasoo first care serum come in mind. am i too young for sulwhasoo product?? 🙂

    • Hello! Thank you for the blog love 😀 I’m just happy you would want to read my blog. I don’t think you’re too young for that particular sulwhasoo first care activating serum (as it’s a skincare booster and is pretty light). I wouldn’t recommend going for their TimeTreasure range as it’s more targeted for anti-ageing concerns of ladies in their 40s. 🙂

  16. hi Dalja! may I ask where do you usually buy your sulwhasoo products from?

    and would you recommend to buy from lotte Dfs or from the stores in myeongdong? which option would be cheaper? thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Hi Christina,

      I usually buy my Sulwhasoo products from the dept stores (the non-dfs areas), and then claim my tax back. It’s more tedious but I can’t deal with the hugeeee crowds of prenominantly-Chinese tourists at the duty-free levels of Lotte dept store. I also find that I get more samples and better service at the non-dfs area (i.e. the beauty hall area). Sulwhasoo doesn’t retail in stores in myeongdong – they only retail at the dept stores such as Hyundai, Shinsegae and Lotte (DFS and beauty counters) or at their boutique spas. 🙂

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