Normally I start with the introduction of the product and then cover what it is supposed to for, but I will be honest, I have flip flopped on my opinion and put off this review for the sole reason that I am very much on the fence about the Sulwhasso First Care Activating Serum. I figure it is best to just get that out up front so that no one is confused when I seem to waffle between pros and cons.
So the sample size of the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum came to me in an Allure Beauty Box. I have heard many people rave over this brand and I know two people who are just absolute die-hard fans. So the brand was on my list to try out, I just hadn’t quite gotten around to it yet, mostly because I wasn’t certain which product to try first. Having one appear in a subscription box really helped me with that decision.
First off, it must be said, how stinkin’ cute is this bottle? I was prepared to open it and have a little squeeze to drop the product into my hand and was pleasantly surprised to find a tiny little pump. I don’t know why that gets me, but it does. I just think it is adorable.
The product itself comes out in a brownish color. It actually reminds me a bit of the Dermelect Self Esteem serum I tried (and loved) a while back. It even has a similar scent.
Similar, because there is one big difference. But I will get to that in a moment, here I am going to pause and cover what the serum is supposed to be doing when I apply it to my face.
Formulated with JAUM Balancing Complex™, a potent cocktail of five Korean herbs, this unique prepping serum designed to be the first step post-cleanse that hydrates, nourishes and visibly firms, while boosting absorption of subsequent products that are applied on top.
WATER / AQUA / EAU, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, ALCOHOL, GLYCERIN, BETAINE, PEG/PPG-17/6 COPOLYMER, GLYCERYL POLYME-THACRYLATE, OPHIOPOGON JAPONICUS ROOT EXTRACT, PHENOXYETHANOL, BIS-PEG-18 METHYL ETHER DIMETHYL SILANE, PEG-60 HYD-ROGENATED CASTOR OIL, CARBOMER, TROMETHAMINE, GLYCYRRHIZA URALENSIS (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT, FRAGRANCE / PARFUM, HONEY / MEL / MIEL, JUGLANS REGIA (WALNUT) SEED EXTRACT, THEOBROMA CACAO (COCOA) EXTRACT, DEXTRIN, LILIUM CANDIDUM BULB EXTRACT, PAEONIA ALBIFLORA ROOT EXTRACT, REHMANNIA GLUTINOSA ROOT EXTRACT, POLYGONATUM OFFICINALE RHIZOME/ROOT EXTRACT, NELUMBO NUCIFERA FLOWER EXTRACT, XANTHAN GUM, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, PORTULACA OLERACEA EXTRACT, LIM-ONENE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, DISODIUM EDTA, PHENYL TRIMETHICONE, CHONDRUS CRISPUS (CARRAGEENAN), LINALOOL, BIOSACCHARIDE GUM-1, ZIZYPHUS JUJUBA FRUIT EXTRACT, NATTO GUM, CITRONELLOL, CITRAL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, GERANIOL, CHLOR-PHENESIN, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, BHT, SODIUM DEHYDROACETATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, CITRIC ACID, SORBIC ACID, TOCOPHEROLSulwhasoo
Okay, it isn’t a long list of things this product is attempting to accomplish it is really only one thing. It is designed to help other product absorb faster. And to be honest, it does this really well. Applying my moisturizer after this meant I spent less time waiting for it to absorb and could cut my getting ready time down a little. I know the point isn’t making morning preparation shorter but to help your skin absorb more of the ingredients, but I don’t really have a way to measure absorption rate. I do know that more of my moisturizer absorbed and it absorbed into my skin faster when I used this serum than when I didn’t.
In that sense it worked really well and was fantastic.
I know what you are thinking. This is going to be another scent issue.
This time it is scent with a side concern.
Remember I said it smelled almost like the Dermelect Serum but with one big difference? The Dermelect Serum smelled like many different herbs that had been distilled to create a single herbal-ly smelling serum that smelled very medicinal.
This Sulwhasoo Serum smelled like similar herbs distilled in rubbing alcohol. The scent was somewhat strong actually and when you look at the ingredients list it is easy to see why. Alcohol is rather high up on the list. Which means there is a pretty high concentration of it.
This is where my waffling comes in. Where skincare is concerned, I know that alcohol can be really good in the short term, but have rather bad long term effects on the skin. If it is low on the list of ingredients I am less concerned by its presence, but when it sits that high on the list, I start backing away from the product.
So here is my final sense of the product. It works well, really well. It does exactly what it says it is going to do. However because that alcohol sits so high up in the ingredients list and the product smells like herb infused rubbing alcohol, I think I am going to give it a pass. I will poke around a bit more for information bout the product and its ingredients and talk to a few people whose profession is more in tune with the skin and ingredients upon it than my skin care junkie self, but for now, the alcohol in the product makes it a pass for me, despite how well it seems to work.