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Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Review

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

01.17.23DISCLAIMER

Sulwhasoo is a Korean beauty brand that’s most well known for the bestseller Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

And when we say bestseller, we aren’t exaggerating; one bottle of Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is sold every 10 seconds in Korea, and since its launch in 1997, more than 35 million bottles have been sold worldwide!

But is Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum really worth the hype? To answer this question, we’ll have to evaluate the formulation details, including the key ingredients and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare.

We’ll also share some Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of this product.

Is Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Right For You?

Before we get into the details, here’s the TL;DR if you just want to know whether or not  Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is right for you.

  • Key ingredients? Denatured alcohol, lotus, rehmannia, peony, Solomon’s seal, and white lily
  • Skin type? Recommended for all skin types
  • Texture? Gel-like serum
  • Fragrance? Yes
  • Cruelty free? No
  • Cost? $89 USD for 60 mL

What Are The Key Ingredients in Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum?

In order to determine how well Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum performs, we’ll have to evaluate the key ingredients in this formula. Let’s get started.

JAUM Activator
According to the brand, the secret behind Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is in JAUM Activator, a proprietary blend of 5 herbs (lotus, rehmannia, peony, Solomon’s seal, and white lily).

Together, these herbs are said to improve the look of skin’s hydration, brightness, radiance, translucency, visible wrinkles, and moisture barrier.

Denatured Alcohol
One thing we have to point out about the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum formula is the high concentration of denatured alcohol. In fact, it’s the highest concentration ingredient after water!

So why is this a problem? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of denatured alcohol.

On one hand, alcohol functions as a penetration enhancer by disturbing the skin barrier so that key ingredients can penetrate deeper into the skin. It also helps to remove excess oil and temporarily tighten skin while giving products a weightless feel and quick-drying finish.

On the other hand, alcohol-based products can cause excessive skin dryness. Over time, this can cause the sebaceous glands to compensate by producing even more oil, leading to clogged pores and acne. 

Furthermore, alcohol disrupts the lipids that make up the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin), according to a publication in the journal BBA Biomembranes

While there are some benefits of denatured alcohol, we don’t believe the benefits outweigh the risks, which is why we don’t recommend Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum.

Humectants
There’s also high concentrations of several different humectants in Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum, such as butylene glycol and betaine. 

A humectant has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups, such as hydroxyl groups (OH) and/or amine groups (NH2). These groups hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin.

Humectants pull water from the dermis to the epidermis and stratum corneum in order to hydrate the upper layers of skin. In addition, humectants can draw water vapor from the air to help moisturize the skin if the humidity is over 50 percent.

How to Use Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum?

After your morning and evening cleansing ritual, apply three pumps of Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum to damp skin with your fingertips and press serum into skin with an open palm for optimal absorption. 

Where to Buy Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum?

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum and other Sulwhasoo skin care products are sold on the brand’s website (sulwhasoo.com), as well as several third party online retailers, such as Sephora, Nordstrom, Amazon, and more. 

How Much is Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum?

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum costs $89 USD for 60 mL on the brand’s website. 

What is The Sulwhasoo Return Policy?

The Sulwhasoo return policy states, “We are happy to accept merchandise purchased from our web site at Sulwhasoo.com  within 60 days of purchase. Return labels will be provided for a $5 fee.”

Is Sulwhasoo Cruelty Free?

No, Sulwhasoo is not cruelty free because Sulwhasoo skincare products are sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law.

Our Verdict

Overall, we don’t recommend Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum due to the high concentration of denatured alcohol, as well as the fragrance in this formula. 

Pros

  • JAUM activator contains a beneficial blend of herbs
  • Many positive Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum reviews

Cons

  • High concentration of denatured alcohol
  • Formula contains fragrance
  • Sulwhasoo is not cruelty free

 

References:

BBA Biomembranes, May 2012, pages 1410-1419

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