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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum 2022 overview

In the event you’re acquainted with Korean skincare, you then’ve positively heard of the model Sulwhasoo, particularly their star product: Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. It was one of many first Ok-beauty merchandise I attempted nearly a decade in the past, and that is my 4th bottle. So why am I solely writing about it now?

As a result of for the longest time I used to be confused about what it’s purported to do. Don’t be fooled by the identify, it’s something however your typical serum.

In the event you’re additionally confused by this product, or simply wish to know if it lives as much as the hype, this submit is for you.


What’s it
This best-selling Ok-beauty serum is the coveted step to getting a visibly clean, glass skin-level glow–now elevated to perfection with a shiny exterior for a extra luxurious appear and feel. The key is in JAUM Activator™, a masterfully blended complicated of 5 treasured herbs that improves the look of pores and skin’s hydration, brightness, radiance, translucency, seen wrinkles, and moisture barrier.

Finest suited to
Anybody who enjoys the grounding scents of hanbang (Korean natural medication) in a light-weight but hydrating components. These of their late 20’s or older will in all probability get extra out of this than youthful of us.
Delicate pores and skin could wish to keep away from as a consequence of all of the extracts, alcohol, and perfume.

Issues to notice
Comprises alcohol however doesn’t really feel drying. Additionally comprises perfume.

A good looking opaque ceramic pump bottle. Sometimes additionally they launch restricted version designs.

A light-weight natural scent which I personally discover calming. In the event you’re acquainted with Chinese language or Korean natural medication, this smells similar to that. Scent dissipates after the product has absorbed.

Mild and nearly water like, with an amber shade.

Absorbs shortly, and assuming you apply this primary on clear pores and skin, it leaves a pure non-sticky end.

$89 for 60ml on Amazon, Sephora, Skinstore; $66 on Jolse, $57 on Stylevana

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Components

Water, Alcohol Denat., Butylene Glycol, Betaine, 1, 2-hexanediol, Bis-peg-18, Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Carbomer, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tromethamine, Propanediol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Walnut Seed Extract, Dextrin, Cocoa Extract, Skullcap Root Extract, Perfume, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Limonene, Methyl Trimethicone, Disodium Edta, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Honey, Madecassoside, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Linalool, Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract, Polygonatum Odoratum Rhizome Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Propylene Glycol, Ziziphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Natto Gum, Licorice Root Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, BHT, Citric Acid, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Tocopherol, Hydrolyzed Soybean Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Ginger Root Extract

Your typical Ok-beauty components with heaps of extracts, get your tea/espresso prepared and let’s break them down:

  • Walnut seed extract – Exhibited antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties in vitro.1
  • Cocoa extract – Much like walnut seeds, the polyphenols inside present antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging advantages in in-vivo research.2
  • Skullcap Root Extract – A standard Chinese language medicinal herb wealthy in flavonoids that present anti-inflammatory and antioxidant advantages.3
  • Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract – Aka Chinese language foxglove and 1 of the 5 extracts within the JAUM Activator. A examine in mice discovered it may suppress the expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, each which might contribute to pores and skin getting older.4
  • Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract – A examine discovered it to be anti-inflammatory and barrier restoring.5 
  • Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract – Aka White Peony or Bai Shao, one other conventional Chinese language medicinal herb that may lower hyperpigmentation.6 Additionally part of the JAUM Activator.
  • Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract – Aka White Lily and part of the JAUM Activator, although there’s little analysis on its actual advantages. One examine did discover that when used along with different extracts (none of that are included right here), it may assist scale back the looks of darkish circles.7
  • Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract – Goji berries are thought of a superfood wealthy in antioxidants, however topically it’s additionally discovered to assist lower hyperpigmentation and enhance pores and skin tone.8
A fluffy cat photobombs the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum shot
Taking a break to concentrate on my fluffy assistant who determined he was the star of the shoot, not the A fluffy cat photobombs the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum lol
  • Polygonatum Odoratum Rhizome Extract – Aka Solomon’s Seal and part of the JAUM Activator, it claims to be anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial however I couldn’t discover any analysis supporting this.
  • Ziziphus Jujuba Fruit Extract – Aka Jujube, a examine discovered it to have anti-inflammatory results when utilized topically.9
  • Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract – Aka Lotus Flower and the ultimate member of the JAUM Activator, analysis has discovered it to have anti-aging advantages.10,11
  • Pueraria Lobata Root Extract – Aka Kudzu, it’s proven to assist with collagen manufacturing and inhibit photoaging.12
  • Licorice Root Extract – One of many higher researched extracts, it’s been proven to have antioxidant, anti-aging, and brightening advantages.13
  • Prunus Mume Fruit Extract – Aka Chinese language Plum, it’s been discovered to brighten the pores and skin by inhibiting melanin manufacturing.14
  • Lentinus Edodes Extract – aka Shitake Mushrooms, is wealthy in flavonoids, polyphenols, and amino acids that present antioxidant and anti inflammatory advantages to the pores and skin.15
  • Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract – aka Peony, which is totally different from the White Peony earlier. I couldn’t discover any analysis on this particular Peony, but it surely comprises Paeoniflorin as properly, which is an antioxidant.
  • Ginger Root Extract – Its principal compound Gingerol has nice antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.16, 17

Based mostly on the research I discovered, the brightening/radiance and anti-aging claims of the JAUM Activator complicated are supported, albeit the help is fairly weak. However there’s nothing to help the hydration or barrier help claims, although different substances choose up this slack.

General it’s a blended bag right here, with some extra confirmed extracts like licorice root but additionally lots of obscure ones like lily bulbs and solomon’s seal (apparently each a part of the JAUM Activator). Not a totally misplaced trigger although, as there are different well-researched substances like honey to moisturize and vitamin e + madecassoside (from centella asiatica) as highly effective antioxidants.

A warning about having too many plant extracts: the extra you have got, the larger the prospect of 1 inflicting a delicate response. Granted I’ve by no means skilled any points, but it surely’s one thing to remember.

It is important that you simply use the serum in proper step of your skincare routine and in the correct amount, in any other case you are not going to see the anticipated outcomes.


  1. After cleaning, calmly dry your pores and skin leaving it damp however not moist. Or spritz a light-weight layer of facial mist.
  2. Apply 2-3 pumps into your palms and gently heat up the serum with a light-weight rubbing movement. Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum texture
  3. Therapeutic massage the serum gently into your pores and skin.
  4. Press your palms in your face and maintain it in place for a couple of seconds, permitting the warmth out of your hand to assist the product take up.
  5. In the event you love the natural scent, take a couple of deep breaths and benefit from the aromatherapy advantages! 
  6. Proceed on with the remainder of your skincare routine!


Do not skimp on the quantity to make use of – you are not going to see the complete advantages in the event you simply use 1 pump! To save lots of on the product, you possibly can simply use it as soon as a day within the night as an alternative.

Utilization Expertise & Outcomes

✅ A pleasant sensorial expertise

Whereas outcomes is my #1 precedence, I nonetheless love when merchandise ship an attractive utilization expertise, and this Sulwhasoo serum completely hit the spot. From the attractive bottle to the grounding natural medication scent to the water-like texture, it’s a pleasure to make use of. The scent is really calming for me, respiration it in as a part of my night routine is a superb solution to finish the day.

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum review

✅ Helps with product absorption

It appears contradictory that including an additional layer of skincare would assist subsequent layers take up higher, but it surely works. Possibly it’s the alcohol (a identified penetration enhancer), however the remainder of my toner and serums appear to aborb faster and depart much less of a movie once I use the Sulwhasoo activating serum.

✅ Helps increase different merchandise’ efficacy

This was barely more durable to note, however I’ve observed that the remainder of my merchandise work more durable once I use the Sulwhasoo serum. After I don’t, my pores and skin hydration and glow ranges appears to drop by about 10%, which is clearly an arbitrary quantity, however you get my level – my pores and skin simply feels extra moisturized and has a bit extra glow once I use this. I didn’t discover a distinction in advantageous strains both method although.

💡 The older your are, the higher it really works

So in the event you’re in your 20’s, as I used to be once I first tried the Sulwhasoo Activating Serum, you’re going to be upset. However as we grow old and our pores and skin will get drier, duller, and extra advantageous strains, this product might be simply the increase your skincare routine wants. I’m positively noticing extra total outcomes now than I did 10 years in the past!

😐 Should use 2-3 pumps to see outcomes

I’ve tried utilizing simply 1 pump, which actually feels sufficient for my face, however the efficacy is noticeably lowered. As in you gained’t discover any distinction in any respect. With this serum, you both go huge or go house, which is hard since a bottle isn’t low cost!

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum texture
That’s one pump, so that you’ll wish to double the quantity

😐 Doesn’t ship the claimed outcomes when used alone

Sure it appears to spice up the efficacy of different merchandise, however what about when used alone? I attempted utilizing this with none of my different skincare merchandise besides moisturizer, and it was a flop. It’s positively not hydrating by itself, and it’s anti-aging advantages are inferior in comparison with retinol. As for pores and skin brightening, there are such a lot of more practical and reasonably priced choices as properly!

However as a “first serum”, it’s not meant for use by itself, similar to how the SK-II FTE isn’t meant for use by itself. First serum/essence targets are primarily to spice up total routine absorption and efficacy, which it does properly. However once more in the event you’re going off the claims pondering this $98 is the reply to all of your skincare issues, you’re going to be upset.

What Others Say

I’d think about including it to my routine to spice up my favourite serums if it had been cheaper, however at $89, I don’t suppose it’s for me. 

Kelsey Clark, dry pores and skin

I wouldn’t say there’s an enormous, obtrusive distinction in my advantageous strains that I may 100% attribute to this product. I do suppose it makes my pores and skin look extra radiant, wholesome and plumped up.

Ok Magnificence Hobbit, mixture pores and skin

What my pores and skin gained from the First Care Activating Serum EX (after which misplaced once I reduce it from my routine, after which regained once I welcomed the product again into my life) was a youthful radiance that I don’t suppose I’ve had since I used to be seventeen.

Fiddy Snails, regular pores and skin

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum review
Cooper’s opinion: I like that it matches the colours of my fur!

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum dupes

We’re going to take a look at different merchandise with both 1) related hanbang substances or 2) related features.

🌿 Missha Geum Sul Rejuvenating Essence
That is in all probability the closest “dupe” you’ll get within the conventional sense: it’s additionally a primary essence/serum that you simply use firstly of your routine, with Korean natural substances like ginseng, licorice root, and reishi mushroom extracts.

🌾 Haruharu Marvel Black Rice Hyaluronic Toner
Not as many extracts, however this consists of ginseng, rice, bamboo, and skullcap root to call a couple of. It additionally as an identical texture to Sulwhasoo, a light-weight hydrating liquid that absorbs properly into the pores and skin. The primary impact of that is hydration, which partly helps with subsequent product absorption.

🌌 Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drops 
This has an excellent minimal and non-hanbang components, however its EGF content material and assist present an anti-aging increase to your routine. I’ve discovered it to enhance my total pores and skin well being when utilized in my routine. Full overview right here.

💦 Any facial mist!
You don’t want a elaborate serum to assist increase product absorption, simply use a face mist to dampen your pores and skin and also you’ll discover that your serums and lotions take up a lot simpler and quicker! Don’t use one earlier than acids or retinol although, or else you’ll improve their efficiency and irritation!

Last Verdict

  • Components
  • Packaging
  • Texture/Software
  • Efficiency
  • Value

This cult-favorite Korean skincare serum just isn’t for the skincare minimalist, I would not even think about it a serum on your common skincare consumer. Whereas the outcomes are there, I argue which you can nonetheless get hydrated and glowing pores and skin for much less. Is it going to odor or really feel as good because the Sulwhasoo Activating Serum? Possibly not.

I could repurchase this one primarily as a result of I genuinely love the utilization expertise and that Korean natural medication scent, but it surely’s on no account a should have!

Article Sources

To maintain my content material correct and reliable, I depend on peer-reviewed research, articles from respected educational establishments, and quotes from licensed healthcare professionals to again my claims. No woo-woo clickbait nonsense right here!

  1. Agata Przekora, et al. “UVB Protecting, Anti-Getting old, and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Aqueous Extract of Walnut (Juglans Regia…” ResearchGate, unknown, 31 Oct. 2018, www.researchgate.internet/publication/328846984_UVB_protective_anti-aging_and_anti-inflammatory_properties_of_aqueous_extract_of_walnut_Juglans_regia_L_seeds.

  2. Scapagnini, Giovanni, et al. “Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Upkeep of Pores and skin Well being.” Vitamins, vol. 6, no. 8, Aug. 2014, pp. 3202–13, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu6083202.

  3. Schinella, G. R., et al. “Antioxidant Exercise of Anti-Inflammatory Plant Extracts.” Life Sciences, vol. 70, no. 9, Jan. 2002, pp. 1023–33, https://doi.org/10.1016/s0024-3205(01)01482-5.

  4. Sung, Yoon-Younger, et al. “Topical Software of Rehmannia Glutinosa Extract Inhibits Mite Allergen-Induced Atopic Dermatitis in NC/Nga Mice.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 134, no. 1, Mar. 2011, pp. 37–44, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2010.11.050.

  5. Mainzer, Carine, et al. “Scientific Efficacy of Oligofructans from Ophiopogon Japonicus in Decreasing Atopic Dermatitis Flare-Ups in Caucasian Sufferers.” Medicaljournals.se, 2020, www.medicaljournals.se/acta/content material/summary/10.2340/00015555-3224.

  6. Qiu, J., et al. “The Pores and skin-Depigmenting Potential of Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract and Paeoniflorin:in VitroAnalysis Utilizing Reconstructed Pigmented Human Dermis.” Worldwide Journal of Beauty Science, vol. 38, no. 5, Mar. 2016, pp. 444–51, https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12309.

  7. Alsaad SM;Mikhail M. “Periocular Hyperpigmentation: A Assessment of Etiology and Present Remedy Choices.” Journal of Medicine in Dermatology : JDD, vol. 12, no. 2, J Medicine Dermatol, 2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23377386/.

  8. Huang, Huey-Chun, et al. “Supercritical Fluid Extract of Lycium Chinense Miller Root Inhibition of Melanin Manufacturing and Its Potential Mechanisms of Motion.” BMC Complementary and Various Drugs, vol. 14, no. 1, June 2014, https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-14-208.

  9. Al-Reza, Sharif M., et al. “Anti-Inflammatory Exercise of Seed Important Oil from Zizyphus Jujuba.” Meals and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 48, no. 2, Feb. 2010, pp. 639–43, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2009.11.045.

  10. Park, Ki Moon, et al. “Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Protects towards UVB-Induced Wrinkle Formation and Lack of Subcutaneous Fats by Suppression of MCP3, IL-6 and IL-8 Expression.” Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, vol. 161, Aug. 2016, pp. 211–16, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2016.04.006.

  11. Paudel, Keshav Raj, and Nisha Panth. “Phytochemical Profile and Organic Exercise ofNelumbo Nucifera.” Proof-Based mostly Complementary and Various Drugs, vol. 2015, 2015, pp. 1–16, https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/789124.

  12. Heo, Hee Solar, et al. “Pueraria Montana Var. Lobata Root Extract Inhibits Photoaging on Pores and skin by Nrf2 Pathway.” Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 29, no. 4, Apr. 2019, pp. 518–26, https://doi.org/10.4014/jmb.1812.12019.

  13. Ciganović, Petar, et al. “Glycerolic Licorice Extracts as Energetic Cosmeceutical Components: Extraction Optimization, Chemical Characterization, and Organic Exercise.” Antioxidants, vol. 8, no. 10, Oct. 2019, p. 445, https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8100445.

  14. Pi, KyungBae, and KiBeom Lee. “Prunus Mume Extract Exerts Antioxidant Actions and Suppressive Impact of Melanogenesis beneath the Stimulation by Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone in B16-F10 Melanoma Cells.” Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, vol. 81, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 1883–90, https://doi.org/10.1080/09168451.2017.1365591.

  15. Wu, Yuanzheng, et al. “Mushroom Cosmetics: The Current and Future.” ResearchGate, MDPI AG, 8 July 2016, www.researchgate.internet/publication/305078746_Mushroom_Cosmetics_The_Present_and_Future.

  16. Kim, Jin-Kyoung, et al. “[6]-Gingerol Prevents UVB-Induced ROS Manufacturing and COX-2 Expression in Vitro and in Vivo.” Free Radical Analysis, 2022, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10715760701209896?journalCode=ifra20.

  17. Guahk, Gui-Hee, et al. “Zingiber OfficinaleProtects HaCaT Cells and C57BL/6 Mice from Ultraviolet B-Induced Irritation.” Journal of Medicinal Meals, vol. 13, no. 3, June 2010, pp. 673–80, https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2009.1239.

Product was offered for overview functions, however all opinions are 100% sincere and my very own. This submit comprises affiliate hyperlinks, and every buy helps cowl the
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