Today I’m reviewing some Korean beauty and skincare products from brands that may not be well recognized in America, but are already ALL the rage in Asia; I’m talking about brands like The History of Whoo and Su:m37. When I traveled to Korea earlier this year, I walked by some of these stores and was curious about these luxurious, high end skincare products. Thank you to LG for shipping me these best-selling products to try and review!
The History of Whoo
The History of Whoo is a well-known Korean skincare brand that combines traditional skincare ingredients from the Korean royal palace with the latest skincare technology. I sampled their Bichup Self-generating essence set ($185), which contained the Self Generating Essence, Soon Hwan Anti-aging essence, Hwahyun Balancer (Toner), Hwahyun Rejuvenating Emulsion, and Bichup Jayoon Cream. This set retails for $185, so I had pretty high expectations going in!
First of all, the packaging is wonderful. When I opened up the box, I felt like I was receiving a gift from Korean royalty, complete with the yellow cloth forming the backdrop of the gift set (yellow is considered to be a royal color in Asia, just like how purple is considered the color of royalty in the Western world).
The order of the products is:
- Hwahyun Balancer
- Self generating essence OR Soon Hwan anti-aging essence
- Hwanhyun Emulsion
- Bichup Jayoon Cream
The Hwahyun balancer acts as a first step on the skin, functioning as a lightweight formula providing moisture after cleansing. Then there’s two essences for you to choose from depending on the state of your skin. The self-regenerating anti-aging (JaSaeng) essence, the company’s best selling product world-wide, is a thick sticky yellow serum that contains ingredients such as cordyceps (a fungus), lotus, and other secret ingredients (I swear, it’s not just because I can’t read Korean. There are secret ingredients that have been passed down from Korean royalty listed in the technical info packet!). The other, the Soon Hwan anti-aging essence, contains tiny microbeads meant to increase circulation in the skin. In my opinion, the self regenerating anti-aging essence is pretty heavy; two pumps is enough for my entire face. It is great for winter months when my skin is so dry and in need of moisture. The Soon Hwan anti-aging essence is great though, perfect for use during any season.
Next, I used the Hwanhyun emulsion as a face cream, and it is also on the thicker side, providing a nice layer of moisture. In fact, when I use the emulsion, the next morning when I wake up my face is glowing as if I had done a face mask the night before! My favorite product in the kit may be the Bichup Jayoon cream though, which I personally use as an eye cream. It contains exotic ingredients such as deer antler collagen, cordyceps, and more, but all that aside, it’s a thick and luxurious cream that works well to hydrate the thin skin around my (tired) eyes.
Overall, I liked that this set contained an entire nighttime skincare regimen, making it easy for me to go through each bottle and not have to think about what else I need. On the whole, the consistency of this line is thicker and heavier, which is better suited for more mature or dry skin. I think this set will become a favorite during the wintertime for me, although I will use the Jayoon cream as an eye cream all year round.
The story behind the name is quite interesting. ‘Sum’ means breathe in Korean, and 37 degrees is the optimal temperature for fermentation and aging, as well as the normal human body temp. The reference to fermentation reveals the philosophy and trade secret behind Su:m37: use of naturally fermented ingredients to strengthen and improve the skin.
I tried both the Su:m Secret Essence ($80, 80ml) and the Su:m Secret Essence Mist ($45, 60ml). The Secret Essence, their best selling product, contains ingredients from 86 different plants, such as roots, flowers, leaves, and seeds. These ingredients are fermented for 365 days, and then fermented further with ferulic acid. I was a fan of both of these products. The consistency is thicker than the SKII facial treatment essence (read my take on that here) but more lightweight than the History of Whoo self generating essence that I reviewed above. I think it is a great in between product that delivers hydration without leaving sticky or oily residue on the face. This would be a good product for oily skin or people who are prone to breaking out.
I love the mist particularly because I can use it easily throughout the day, and I don’t have to get my hands dirty! I’m in the hospital all day long so my hands are not always the cleanest. I definitely don’t want to be touching my face during work so the mist spray makes it so easy to apply anytime. It can also be used before or after makeup, so you can keep it in your bag and spritz away.
So all in all, I think the History of Whoo and Su:m37 brands are both luxurious high end Korean products that deliver great hydration for mature, dry, or irritated skin. My favorites out of the whole lot are the History of Whoo Soon Hwan anti-aging essence, the Jayoon cream, and the Su:m37 essence mist. Though these products are on the pricier end, I’ve found that they last a LONG time, especially the History of Whoo essences and creams. So it’s a bigger investment up front, but the products will serve you well all year long.