Sulwhasoo focuses on using hanbang, traditional Korean medicine, ingredients that are indigenous to Korea as well. The founder, Suh Sung-whan, took an interest in hanbang herbs and used these medicinal botanicals with science backed research found at Kyunghee University of Oriental Medicine. In 1966, Sulwhasoo was founded in the AmorePacific family and use their herb farms to harvest ingredients such as ginseng, lily, lotus, green tea and camellia. I was able to try out these three lovely Ginseng products, thanks to the generosity of Sulwhasoo sending them to me. Sulwhasoo is pricey, but their products are so well formulated. I do recommend getting some samples to try first as some folks might be sensitive to some of the ingredients.
Skin Type/Concerns: oily, blemish prone, aging concerns, pores, fine lines/wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation
I received these products complementary to review and was not paid. All reviews are my own honest opinion and I never have been asked to write copy for a brand. This blog post might contain promo codes, affiliate and referral links, which using my links will help generate a small commission that helps support my blog at no extra cost to you.
Korean ginseng has twice as many types of saponin, which are an anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, anti inflammatory and brightening ingredient and can aid in the production of collagen. It helps increase elasticity and firmness, improves blood circulation to your skin, strengthen skin and also is a superb moisturizer. Sulwhasoo uses ginseng that is 4 years old, known for its higher saponin content.
Compound K is an antioxidant-rich compound extracted from Korean red ginseng to minimize the appearance of lines, and boost moisture while protecting skin against future signs of aging.
Ginsenoside Re aka hydrolyzed ginseng saponins, which are enzyme-treated red ginseng saponins, has had numerous studies that show it is effective as a anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, anti inflammatory and brightening ingredient and can aid in the production of collagen. It helps increase elasticity, improves blood circulation to your skin and also is a superb moisturizer. Ginsenosides are compounds only found in ginseng and are an excellence source of anti-oxidants.
Licorice root soothes and calms the skin, while acting as an anti-inflammatory and also reduces hyper-pigmentation. This is aged with all natural honey ~ honey being crucial for glowing moist skin and also helping fight and heal blemishes and other skin issues. This also has a slew of hanbang ingredients for moisturize, healing, antioxidant and anti-aging care: peony, lotus, Solomon’s seal, Madonna lily and Chinese foxglove. Squalane penetrates and absorbs rapidly into your skin and has anti-oxidant properties, helping prevent UV damage and hyper-pigmentation age spots, helps cellular growth and is an anti-bacterial. This is an excellent moisturizing ingredient.
All of three of these products have dimethicone, so if you are sensitive to that ingredient, please take note of that. Dimethicone is a silicone and makes for the smooth, silky texture, while forming a protective barrier on your skin. To repair your skin barrier, lipid phytosphingosine helps reduce irritation while keeping your skin moisturized. It is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, soothes skin while healing your skin.
These three jars are so beautiful. They remind me of plump ginger cats with their fat bottoms. Both the Renewing Cream and Renewing Cream Light have satin brushed copper glass with an amber rim and topped with a plastic amber flared out cap. The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream is smaller and has the same design, but the rim is a bright metallic gold-copper shade. They all are sealed inside and have a hard plastic inner lid to protect the cream. The creams come with spatulas, which I promptly lose. I wish there was a way to have the spatula fit inside the lid.
Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream Let’s start with the EYES. The eye cream not only contains the core ingredients listed above but also caffeine ~ to help reduce puffiness as it will constrict blood vessels. It also can temporarily firm up and brighten your skin, which helps soften the appearance of wrinkles and reduce dark circles. This has shea butter, which is very nourishing for your skin. Shea butter contains a rich source of concentrated natural vitamins and fatty acids ~ oleic, stearic, palmitic, linolenic ~ and is highly moisturizing and nourishing. It helps repair your skin, as well as reduce skin inflammation due to its lupeol cinnamate compound. It also smooths your skin to protect it from drying and it strengthens your skin over time as it helps aid in the collagen production.
This does have alcohol in it, but there are tons and I mean, tons of emollients in here, so I wouldn’t really worry about that too much. Alcohol can be used in skincare to help thin out a thick product and this eye cream is creamy and rich, but not so thick that it is unmovable.
This has a lovely ginseng herbal scent which I love. Seriously all skincare products should smell like this. I use this eye cream at night time right now, as it is so moisturizing that I want its benefits to be really promoted ~ as we sleep, our bodies are busy healing and rejuvenating itself and that is why I use more anti-aging skincare products at night. No wonder I am so tired in the morning! My body is so busy ~ ahaha.
This eye cream does absorb nicely into my skin ~ it is thick, but it doesn’t leave a greasy residue and it is not tacky. I also don’t use a lot, as it is so nourishing and moisturizing. My fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes look a lot more softer, less deep and not crepey when I use this. I think to really get the full benefits of this eye cream, I need to start using it during the day time and see if it really helps even more with firming and lifting. This eye cream will last a long time, so the price is worth it.
Ingredients: water, butylene glycol, squalane, glycerin, propanediol, behenyl alcohol, diisostearyl malate, dimethicone, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, hydrogenated castor oil isostearate, phytosteryl isostearyl dimer dilinoleate, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, phytosteryl/behenyl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, stearic acid, glyceryl stearate, PEG-100 stearate, 1,2-hexanediol, methoxy PEG-114/polyepsilon caprolactone, polyacrylate-13, phenoxyethanol, panax ginseng root extract, polyisobutene, hydrolyzed ginseng saponins (enzyme-treated red ginseng saponins), caffeine, honey, alcohol, fragrance, nelumbo nucifera flower extract, polygonatum officinale rhizome/root extract, rehmannia glutinosa root extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, lilium candidum bulb extract, ethylhexylglycerin, polysorbate 20, sorbitan isostearate, disodium EDTA, sodium polyacrylate, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, dextrin, glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) root extract, alpha-isomethyl ionone, limonene, hydrogenated lecithin, linalool, panax ginseng flower extract, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, hexyl cinnamal, phytosphingosine, sodium polyaspartate, tocopherol, sodium methyl stearoyl taurate cosDNA
Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Light is the lighter version of the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream. Again, it contains the core ingredients along with anti-oxidant safflower flower, which helps brighten your skin, as it suppresses the melanin production. Another antioxidant is perilla, which contains flavones, helping to improve the health of your skin by combating free radicals. Glucose and dextrin are very hydrating ingredients as they help bind water to your skin. There is no alcohol in here, which I find surprising as this cream is tailored for oily to normal skin types.
The texture is described as a weightless gel-cream which I would say is more of a cream than a gel. It has a light texture, but it feels rich as well. It also has that lovely ginseng scent as the eye cream. It absorbs quickly into my skin and despite being rich, it dries down to a nice semi matte finish without any greasiness or stickiness. I used this during the day when it was over 90 degrees here in the Boston area and didn’t feel like it was clogging or too heavy. It really helped make my skin look smooth and feel so soft. The long term benefits on this cream is that it will help firm and tone up your skin. Again, just as with the eye cream, I don’t need a lot of this to fully moisturize my face.
Ingredients: water, butylene glycol, glycerin, squalane, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, arachidyl alcohol, dimethicone, behenyl alcohol, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, cyclopentasiloxane, arachidyl glucoside, cetyl ethylhexanoate, cyclohexasiloxane, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, phenoxyethanol, panax ginseng root extract, butylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, triethylhexanoin, polyacrylate-13, PEG-10 dimethicone, lauryl PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, polyisobutene, disteardimonium hectorite, fragrance, disodium EDTA, sorbitan isostearate, ethylhexylglycerin, honey, polysorbate 60, perilla ocymoides seed extract, polysorbate 20, dextrin, lilium candidum bulb extract, nelumbo nucifera flower extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, polygonatum officinale rhizome/root extract, rehmannia glutinosa root extract, glucose, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) flower extract, glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) root extract, 1,2-hexanediol, methoxy PEG-114/polyepsilon caprolactone, gardenia florida fruit extract, linalool, hydrogenated lecithin, hydrolyzed ginseng saponins (enzyme-treated red ginseng saponins), panax ginseng flower extract, benzyl benzoate, phytosphingosine, sodium polyaspartate, sodium methyl stearoyl taurate, tocopherol, pentaerythrityl tetra-DI-T-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate cosDNA
Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream is the first product in this line that I tried and I have reviewed it already on Instagram. However, I wanted to go over it again and then do a quick comparison between the Renewing Cream and the Light Renewing Cream. The formula contains the core ingredients, but wow, it has so much more in here ~ this has a lot of moisturizing oils and butters: meadowfoam seed has excellent anti-oxidant and skin softening properties and benefits. It has rich texture that helps with your skin’s barrier and locks in your skin’s moisture, preventing dryness. Sunflower seed oil is a lightweight oil that has a high concentration of vitamin E, which is a powerful anti-oxidant and may also help protect the skin from UV rays. It is known for its hydrating and moisturizing properties and it contains omaga-6 fatty acids.
Jojoba esters are devired from jojoba (of course!) and esters do not feel as oily as “pure” oil. Jojoba esters are soothing and soften skin. Mango seed butter contains antioxidants and essential fatty acids, along with being non-coedogenic. This won’t clog pores while being rich and nourishing. Soybean oil contains genistein, which is an anti-aging compound. Soy can improve the elasticity of your skin.
Antioxidant packed avocado oil contain carotenoids, such as alpha and beta carotene, which combat free radical and environmental damage while protecting your skin from premature aging. Rich in vitamin C and E, it helps to firm skin while omega-9 fatty acids create a moisture barrier, making skin soft and moisturized. Hypoallergenic emollient carnauba wax will help create a skin barrier film without stickiness.
Now there are three ingredients in here that make me very happy as an oily skin person ~ polyphenol caffeic acid is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits. Salicylic acid ~ yep, you read that correctly ~ is great for oily skin, as it unclogs pores and removes excess oil and dirt. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and it is an active which helps promotes cellular turnover. I have used Retin-A, a prescription strength version, years ago and it really helped with my blemishes. Its other side effect, which makes this ingredient so wonderful, is it will help lighten PIH, age/sun-damage hyper-pigmentation and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, while making your skin smooth. Retinol can cause photosensitivity, so make sure you wear sunscreen during the daytime.
This also contains alcohol but with all of those moisturizing ingredients, I can see why as this cream would be so dense without it.
With all of those highly moisturizing ingredients, I was a bit nervous about this cream. However, I worried for no reason! The scent is the same as the previous two products ~ a deep woodsy ginseng scent which doesn’t linger after I apply this cream. The creams texture is very buttery, very creamy and surprisingly enough, it seems quite lightweight ~ I guess a cream can be very rich and lightweight at the same time. It glides on beautifully and thankfully, I only need a little bit to cover my face. I have oily skin, so I use it at night ~ In the morning, my skin still feels moisturized and it is soft and smooth. It really helps keep my skin hydrated and plumped up without clogging my pores, thanks to the salicylic acid and retinol in here. I have not experienced any breakouts with this cream, despite its richness. My skin does feel more plumper and bouncy in the morning after I use it.
Ingredients: water, glycerin, squalane, butylene glycol, cyclopentasiloxane, trehalose, limnanthes alba(meadowfoam) seed oil, glyceryl stearate, phytosteryl isostearyl dimer dilinoleate, octyldodecyl myristate,cyclohexasiloxane, PEG-40 stearate, stearic acid, phytosteryl/behenyl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate,helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, jojoba esters, PEG-100 stearate, propanediol, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, polyacrylate-13, PEG-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, phenoxyethanol,glyceryl linoleate, cetearyl alcohol, pantethine, hydrogenated vegetable oil, dimethicone, glycine soja (soybean)sterols, glycine soja (soybean) oil, propylene glycol, tocopherol, acetyl glucosamine, cyclodextrin, polyisobutene, salicylic acid, panax ginseng root extract, polyquaternium-51, hexyl laurate, caffeic acid, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, tocopheryl linoleate, alcohol, dimethiconol, glyceryl linolenate, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, polysorbate 20, gardenia florida fruitextract, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance, glyceryl arachidonate, lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 methicone, vitis vinifera (grape) leaf extract, sorbitan isostearate, honey, beta-glucan, dextrin, disodium EDTA, perilla ocymoides seed extract, retinol, lilium candidum bulb extract, sodium hyaluronate, nelumbo nucifera flower extract, polygonatum officinale rhizome/root extract, rehmannia glutinosa root extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) root extract, phytosphingosine, methoxy PEG-114/polyepsiloncaprolactone, 1,2-hexanediol, isostearyl alcohol, dodecene, ascorbyl palmitate, hydrogenated palm glyceridescitrate, hydrogenated lecithin, hydrolyzed ginseng saponins (enzyme-treated red ginseng saponins), panax ginseng flower extract, alpha-isomethyl ionone, limonene, linalool, BHT, butylphenyl methylpropional, BHA, sodium polyaspartate, TBHQ, sodium methyl stearoyl taurate, pentaerythrityl tetra-DI-T-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate cosDNA
Top to Bottom: Renewing Eye Cream, Renewing Cream, Renewing Cream Light
So, the differences between the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream and Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Light are not as obvious at first glance. I had to review the ingredients list and also apply them on each side of my face to really make note that they are a little bit different.
Obviously the ingredients and finish make a huge difference when I would use them. The Original renewing cream is best suited for me at nighttime, as it does leave a sheen behind on my skin. The retinol in it is another reason why I would use it at night ~ even though it is probably not a high percentage, it is one of those ingredients that I like to save for night time use. The texture between the two is very surprising ~ I found that the Light version felt a bit more “draggy” on my skin than the Original ~ the Original really spread easily and looked almost translucent and very glossy, whereas the Light version looked a bit more opaque. However, the dragginess on the Light was barely noticeable, and if I didn’t do a side by side comparison, I would not have noticed at all. The Light version really dried down to a semi-matte to matte finish so that is why it is so good for oily skin; it doesn’t add shine to my skin as I produced it naturally. The Light version is perfect for me during the daytime.
Both of these are great creams ~ even if you have dry skin, you will enjoy the Light version too if you prefer not to have that dewy look. Oily skin types can use the Original version as a night time moisturizer ~ if they LOVE the dewy look, they can even use it during the day time if they don’t live in a very humid area, imho.
Top to Bottom: Renewing Cream Light, Renewing Cream, Renewing Eye Cream
Where To Purchase
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You can purchase Sulwhasoo in several places in the USA ~ I recommend using Sulwhasoo USA, Sephora and Nordstroms. Sephora also ships internationally to Norway and Japan.
Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream 60 mL $240.00 USD
Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Light 60 mL $240.00 USD
Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream 20 mL $180.00 USD
[ products received for review purposes. blog post contains affiliate links ]