Sulwhasoo is a cult Korean skincare brand that was recently embraced by celebrities like K-pop icon Rose from BLACKPINK and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton. Their best-selling First Care Activating Serum is a nourishing serum that uses the JAUM Balancing Complex—a combination of five herbs including peony, sacred lotus, Solomon’s seal, white lily and Rehmannia.
In a modest kitchen in Kaesong more than 80 years ago, Yun Dok-Jeong started concocting conditioning camellia oil hair treatments for elegant Korean women. Her second son, Suh Sung-Whan, took over the family business after the war and launched Sulwhasoo in 1947. The brand is a traditional beauty brand that combines heritage and skin science and has become one of the emblems of Korean beauty. It is now part of Amorepacific and sells worldwide.
Jung von Matt partnered with the brand to launch a campaign to reflect its traditional values and to position itself for global growth. The campaign’s key messages are “Explore the unknown and pioneer new experiences” and “Build a world of beauty with art and heritage”.
Sulwhasoo combines time-honored ingredients, long used in Asian herbal medicine, with modern technology. The brand’s research led to the discovery of a balancing complex called JAUM, which comprises five Korean medicinal herbs—white lily, sacred lotus, peony, Solomon’s seal, and adhesive Rehmannia—which work in optimum synergy to enhance skin’s natural healing process.
Sulwhasoo’s most famous products include its First Care Activating Serum, a first step in the skincare routine that is loved by K-beauty enthusiasts. It contains a combination of nourishing botanical extracts—white lily, red pine, and the brand’s signature ginseng root—to re-awaken the skin, giving it radiance. The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream is another flagship product that is a luxury anti-aging formula that provides the skin with vitality and resilience, restoring its youthfulness.
First Care Activating Serum
An essential first-step serum that hydrates, nourishes and visibly firms skin and boosts absorption of subsequent skincare products. It is formulated with JAUM Balancing Complex, a combination of five traditional medicinal herbs that include sacred lotus, Paeonia lactiflora root extract (aka white peony), adhesive Rehmannia, Solomon’s seal, and more. This formula was updated and improved five times since its launch in 1997.
These medicinal plants are cultivated and harvested in-house by Sulwhasoo, which allows them to control the quality of the ingredients and ensure their proper extraction. They are then combined together by their chemistry team to create the right synergies that will work together for the best results. The brand’s hero ingredient is ginseng, but their JAUM Balancing Complex also includes plants like glycyrrhiza uralensis, which helps brighten and firm the skin; Paeonia lactiflora root, which can decrease hyperpigmentation; rehmannia, which softens the skin; and licorice, which helps diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
This formula is a bestseller for Sulwhasoo, and it claims that one bottle is purchased every ten seconds in Korea. It is a watery, lightweight product that has a light herbal scent, and it absorbs into the skin quickly for a non-sticky finish. It is recommended for all skin types. Note: This serum does contain denatured alcohol, which is a common ingredient in herb-heavy skincare products to stabilize the extracts and enhance their absorption into the skin.
Bloomstay Vitalizing Serum
Korean skincare has taken the world by storm thanks to its effective formulations and holistic approach. The 91-year old brand Sulwhasoo is no exception, and it stands out as one of the most popular brands amongst K-beauty addicts. Its luxurious products feature traditional Korean herbal medicine and ingredients that are effective in promoting beauty through balance and harmony.
Sulwhasoo is the first to incorporate ginseng into skincare and is renowned for its unique skin science combining time-honored herbs with modern technology. The brand focuses on the importance of balancing the skin and offers a wide range of skincare for all skin types. Its products are made with concentrated extracts from the ancient medicinal herb ginseng, along with a blend of five other precious Korean medicinal herbs—peony, red pine, sacred lotus, Solomon’s seal and white lily—in its JAUM Balancing Complex.
Founded by Suh Sung-Whan, who grew up on the farm in Kaesong, the brand was originally called Taepyeongyang after its founder’s surname. Taking inspiration from Korean rituals, the brand encourages a multi-step routine of self-care to nourish the skin and relax the mind, ensuring that it is truly radiant.
Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum
Infused with red ginseng saponin, this concentrated serum is an anti-aging superstar. It works to boost circulation, improve skin elasticity and firmness, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, treat dullness, and rejuvenate the complexion. It also helps to improve skin tone, boost collagen production and protect against environmental aggressors.
The brand focuses on creating high-end skincare products that use traditional Korean herbal medicine and ingredients, which are known for their anti-aging and skin-nourishing properties. Their luxury products aim to encourage holistic beauty and balance, and they are also committed to using eco-friendly packaging materials and sourcing their ingredients responsibly.
Tilda Swinton recently signed on as the face of Sulwhasoo, and the brand has been making a big push to expand its presence in the Western market. It has even redesigned its signature amber bottle to incorporate a faded ombre effect, which is aimed at attracting a younger and more Western audience.
Sulwhasoo offers a variety of skincare products, including cleansers, masks, and moisturizers. The brand’s serums are particularly popular, and they have a reputation for being effective and luxurious. The brand’s First Care Activating Serum and Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum are some of the most sought-after products in the Korean skincare market. You can purchase Sulwhasoo products online through the brand’s official website. The brand’s products are also available at select Sephora stores in the US.