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We Tried P10,000 Worth of Korean Skincare for 3 Months. Here’s What We Think

We Tried P10,000 Worth of Korean Skincare for 3 Months. Here’s What We Think

It may not be the case here, but Sulwhasoo is a household name in Korea. It is after all one of the leading anti-aging skincare brands out there. Song Hye Kyo, among other veteran actresses, has been an ambassador of the high-end brand. It’s really no surprise why she’s the face of the brand too—the woman is nearing 40 and looks fresh out of college.

That’s why when 2 members of our team got hold of luxury samples from Sulwhasoo, we couldn’t NOT try them.

We originally planned to do a video shoot spanning 30 days of using the products but the pandemic hit and prevented us from finishing the shoot. We only had 5 sample-sized products each, and it’s important to note that we simply included Sulwhasoo in our usual skincare routines. Another important disclaimer—we’re in no way middle-aged women in need of anti-aging. Our sole goal is to experience what a renowned, luxe K-beauty brand can do for 20s-30s skin!

Here are honest thoughts from 2 oily-skinned, acne-prone girls:

Gentle Cleansing Oil 

Claims: This oil-based formula infused with apricot kernel oil and tangerine peel extract removes impurities like waterproof makeup while keeping skin balanced. 

Ella

Oil cleansers are pretty straight-to-the-point in terms of function, and this one, though lightweight, melted my makeup off straight away. The faint smell of herbs is surprisingly pleasant and not at all off-putting and my skin felt clean right after rinsing. It took out my makeup in no time so I didn’t need to keep massaging needlessly. Leaving no greasy residue and effective in clearing out makeup, this is a good oil cleanser in my book.

Cine:

Compared to the other oil cleansers I’ve tried, the consistency of this one was a lot less thick, so I had my doubts about it being able to remove my makeup. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it melted everything away with minimal rubbing, especially with my mascara!

I made the mistake of using 2-3 pumps the first try, because one pump is also enough!

Gentle Cleansing Oil, 50ml for php440 / 200ml for php2.170 

Gentle Cleansing Foam

Claims: A gel cleanser that gently pulls dirt, makeup, and grime from pores while softening skin with a nutrient-rich blend of botanical ingredients.

Ella: 

I used this for 2 weeks and though I didn’t really expect any visible changes in my skin, I do love how it leaves it soft and just a tad bit supple afterwards. My problem with a lot of foam cleansers is that they dry out my skin right after, but this one didn’t feel like I was stripped of some moisture. I did notice a couple zits come up during this time, HOWEVER, I won’t deduce from the use of this product since there are other factors to consider for my random pimple pop-ups.

Cine:

As a huge fan of double cleansing, especially since I wear a ton of SPF and makeup, gel cleansers have been a staple in my routine. My biggest issue with most gel cleansers is that they strip my skin, but this one never made my skin feel taut or squeaky, which is a big win! You also only need barely a pea-sized amount to lather your whole face. A little really goes a long way.

Gentle Cleansing Foam, 50ml for php390 / 200ml for php1,910

Overnight Vitalizing Mask

Claims: A soufflé-like night-specific formula that delivers a concentrated boost of nourishment, glow, and intense moisture to skin while you sleep.

Ella:

This is my favorite among all Sulwhasoo products I’ve tried thus far. The description ‘souffle-like’ is on point—it’s yummy in its texture, consistency, and smell. Though fragrance is frowned upon, I don’t mind if it’s from botanical herbs. As the last step of my night routine, I put this on before going to bed and I always woke up with very supple and hydrated skin. It honestly feels like waking up with baby skin with its glowing and refreshing effect. Rising in the morning with your skin nourished is a great feeling so I would say this adds value to my skincare routine. 


Cine:

I’ve been cursed with extremely oily skin since my teenage years, so I’ve always been cautious about layering too many oils or creams at night—overly moisturizing has historically triggered breakouts for me.

That being said, this product has been a godsend because not only does my skin look radiant first thing in the morning, but it also doesn’t irritate or clog my pores. I can only imagine how good this would be once I’m in my 30s!

Overnight Vitalizing Mask, 30ml for php300 / 120ml for php2,700

Clarifying Mask

Claims: This honey-textured peel-off mask removes debris from pores and dead cells from the surface for a noticeably smoother, brighter complexion.

Ella:

I don’t usually do peel-off masks because from my experience, they didn’t yield any good results but since this is Song Hye Kyo-approved skincare, I trusted it. The product is a bit difficult to apply with its rich, dense texture (it’s honey!). I advise using a spatula to spread it across your face for an even application otherwise you’ll have a hard time.

I used the mask twice a week for a month and did notice that the red acne marks I had slightly diminished. The peeling part was extremely satisfying and for the first time, I didn’t have any “purge” breakouts after using a peel-off mask! Any mask that doesn’t give me a raging zit invasion is a yes for me.

Cine: 

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I’ve never been the biggest fan of peel-off masks, because my skin reacts at the slightest irritation. Nonetheless, I gave this a go, because if I can’t trust luxury Korean skincare, who can I trust?


The formula is definitely dense (like my ex), but I was still able to work with it (unlike my ex). It took a while to dry, but once it did, I got the oh-so satisfying feeling of a peel that doesn’t break midway. Compared to other peel-off masks, this one also didn’t pull out as much debris, but it also didn’t irritate my skin.

Clarifying Mask EX, 30ml for php310 / 150ml for php2,200 

Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Creamy Mask

Claims: This anti-aging sheet mask contains concentrated ginseng that leaves your skin firm and glowing by enhancing moisture, radiance, resilience and translucency.

Ella: 

Off the bat, the cloth for this mask is rather thicc. It’s divided into two parts—upper and lower face. I could tell the quality for the cloth is high-quality compared to regular sheet masks. It smells luxe, to boot. I had it on for 20 minutes while massaging my face with a jade roller for maximum benefits—after all, when will I ever get to use a P490 mask again?

Afterwards, I could feel my skin was more supple and the moisture it left wasn’t sticky at all. While we can’t really draw conclusions if this mask does wonders (we only got 1 mask each), I do see the luxury factor and why it costs more than your average mask.

Cine:

This is unlike any other sheet mask I’ve tried. Other than the sheer luxury of the packaging and the fact that it comes in 2 pieces, I’ve never experienced one where you have to peel it off from a backing. Think: double-sided tape! Between those two layers is a thick cream that adheres the sheet to your face.

The product is heavy and highly moisturizing, so I can see how beneficial it would be for older skin. It did take a while to completely sink in, but it wasn’t sticky so I didn’t mind it as the final step in my routine!

Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Creamy Mask, php490

Overall, we were unsurprised by how good the Sulwhasoo products performed. This sought after Korean brand definitely lives up to the hype!

Though we are well-aware these products will yield more drastic results for women with aging skin, we think it’s also good to start investing in anti-aging skincare as early as your late 20s to early 30s. As pricey as they come, you’ll thank yourself one day as you look in the mirror in your 60s and see how it was a good decision. 

If you’re curious and want to try these for yourself, you can purchase authentic samples and full-size Sulwhasoo products from Sanct Beauty, Glowio, and BeautyMNL.

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