Review: Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum


Today’s review is on the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum, which i purchased from the Sulwhasoo counter in Tangs Orchard. I got it quite a few months ago, when the 60ml retailed for $106. I’ve also briefly mentioned this before in an earlier post on the serums and essence that I’ve been using.

Claims from Website:
Formulated with Korean Medicinal Herbs, this essential regimen boosting serum assures optimal skin care results, promoting balance and replenishing essential moisture and nutrients.
– Membranous Milk-vetch promotes natural skin circulation and Dwarf Lilyturf and Licorice boost synergy among herbal extracts to restore skin’s natural healthy radiance.
– Absorbing instantly and deep within the skin, this serum leaves the skin soft, smooth and supple, prepares skin to receive treatment and boosts the efficacy of skin care used throughout the regimen.

This is actually a pre-serum. I know, as if we don’t have enough steps in our skincare already! But this is actually not an uncommon concept in Asian skincare. It’s basically a product that you apply first before the rest of your skincare, so that it boosts the efficacy of your skincare. I sometimes use it as a pre-serum as it’s meant to be, but most times I also just use it on its own just like a serum.

How to apply:
Sulwhasoo even provides application tips for maximum effect. Check out the website on how to use it.
– After facial wash in the morning and evening, pump 2~3 times onto palm and apply with fingertips. Gently wrap the face with hands to help absorption of the product.
– Release an appropriate amount and distribute them to your cheeks, chin, and forehead. Use your fingers to gently massage the cheeks to enhance penetration (repeat about 3 times)
– Use the middle and ring fingers to massage up from the nasolabial folds to the ridge of your nose.
Use all of your fingers alternately to massage diagonally to enhance penetration (repeat about 3 times)
– Use all of your fingers to massage up the chin line to enhance penetration and finish up with the firming massage (repeat about 3 times)


I love how thorough they are with the instructions! I think it shows how serious the brand is about skincare and ensuring that you get the best benefits out of it. I adore the packaging – it’s very simple, but elegant; it’s made of ceramic I believe, so be careful not to drop it, and is quite heavy which makes it feel quite luxurious. It comes with a nice pump – 2 pumps gives me the perfect amount.

The serum (or pre-serum) itself is a clear brown liquid with a slightly gel-like texture – it’s more fluid than gel but thicker than water; absorption into the skin is easy and very quick without leaving behind any oily or sticky residue. There is a pretty distinct herbal/ginseng smell to it; personally, I love the smell of Sulwhasoo’s products. Since Sulwhasoo prides itself on using traditional herbs, I find the scent very reassuring – kind of like being reminded that there really are herbs in them.

I’m more than half through the bottle, and this lasted me for a seriously long time. Overall, I think the actual effect on my skin is not too obvious – but I do find my skin less dry and my pores appear to be smaller. I don’t see it being more radiant and at this moment, I’m not sure if my skin can be more supple than what it is – it’s not a reflection of the product, but rather my age.

Some of the cons – it’s quite pricey, and some people are allergic to herbal ingredients/scents. Also, I think a lot of people would be iffy about the benefits of using a pre-serum and find it too cumbersome – I mostly use this as a serum and I think its good enough this way. Personally, I also have had no negative reactions to the ingredients in this product.

In all, it’s not incredibly outstanding but I like it. At $106 for a 60ml bottle, I think it’s reasonably priced and worth a try. Have you tried this First Care Activating Serum?

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2 thoughts on “Review: Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

  1. Pingback: Empties #17: January 2015 – Part 2 | the fabulous nerd

  2. Pingback: Empties #22: July 2015 – Part 1 | the fabulous nerd

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