Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Jar EX

Review: Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream

A+
11 '
Intro

At a glance

I tried the luxurious Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream by the premium Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo, and I gave you my thoughts! Why is it super expensive, what’s in it, and why is it a cult-favorite product in Asia? I answered all these questions in my review 🙂

Welcome to the wonderful world of traditional Korean luxury cosmetics (= Hanbang), which is almost like magic with its ancestral medicinal ingredients that are not well known (especially in the West). Yet, trust me, it’s very far from folklore. And even if these ingredients have been popular for several centuries in Asia, they can now be combined with modern technology like it’s the case with the famous Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream. Let me introduce it to you!

For several years now, I have been wanting to write a dedicated review of this K-Beauty gem. Because the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream is a true Korean cosmetic cult favorite, a bit like the Crème de La Mer in the West (but without the mineral oil and with many more interesting ingredients).

In Korea, it’ s typically the moisturizing/anti-aging cream that you would offer to an older woman from your family you love and/or want to impress, it’s THE perfect skincare gift!

Furthermore, this moisturiser has a real history, it basically started the whole adventure of the Korean cosmetic empire AmorePacific.

Today, I’ll tell you all about its origin, I’ll also introduce you to the ingredients behind this exceptional product and I’ll finally share with you my experience with this very special product!

Sulwhasoo flagship store, Seoul South Korea Travel Sulwhasoo flagship store, Seoul South Korea During my trip to Seoul last September, I was lucky enough to visit this architectural gem that is the sublime flagship store of the very prestigious Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo. Today, let me introduce you to Sulwhasoo, a true flagship of the Korean cosmetic industry. I will also tell you more about the wonderful “shopping experience” I tried out in this beautiful place. Read more

Sulwhasoo’s brand story, and the origin of their ginseng range:

If there’s really one Korean brand I am totally fascinated by, it’s definitely Sulwhasoo… Since I went to visit (yes, visit, that’s the word) their incredible store in Seoul, I completely fell in love with this brand, which symbolizes for me the excellence and expertise of Korean cosmetic savoir-faire.

Sulwhasoo is not really a newcomer in the cosmetic landscape of the quiet morning country… Let me tell you their story!

It begins in a modest kitchen in Korea, more than 80 years ago. Yun Dok-Jeong, a mother of six, decided to use camellia oil to create hair treatments for elegant Korean women. She chose the best camellia flowers from peddlers who travel and resell their products throughout the Korean Peninsula and spent hours extracting oil from them to make her treatments. Her camellia oil haircare products were popular, so she was able to open her first shop in the village of Kaesong, a city that is now part of North Korea.

Her second son, Suh Sung-Whan, worked with her from an early age. He learned the ropes, going with his bicycle to collect bottles and labels needed for conditioning hair oils all around Kaesong. Later, he also started to concoct face creams alongside his mother.

Sulwhasoo is considered one of the emblems of Korean beauty.

Suh took over the family business in 1945, just after the end of the second world war. He began by renaming the company “Taepyeongyang”, which translates as “Pacific Ocean”, a name that says a lot about Suh’s international ambitions, who saw the future of his company well beyond the borders of Korea.

To develop the company, he decided to focus on a cosmetic range based on ginseng. This inspiration came directly from his childhood in Kaesung, famous for the high quality of their ginseng. This plant has indeed been used throughout Asia for centuries for its many medicinal benefits. It’s also very popular nowadays for its energizing, balancing and stimulating properties of the immune system.

Suh Sung-Whan had a very specific idea in mind. He knew that eating ginseng was good for your health. But its use as a cosmetic ingredient was unprecedented. He set up his own laboratory in the 1960s and his team of lab researchers studied each part of the ginseng plant, from the flowers to the roots, to be able to provide proof of its effectiveness on the skin.

In 1966, the research was successful, so he launched the ABC Ginseng cream, a real innovation combining the modern technology of cosmetological research and the use of traditional Korean herbal medicine. The brand became “Ginseng SAMMI” in 1973, and started to export its ginseng products worldwide.

Then, in 1987, the brand decided to expand its research to other valuable ingredients from traditional Korean herbal medicine and took the opportunity to change its name. It became “Sulwha”, which means “the flower of snow” in Korean. This flower is still used as their logo today.

Eventually, the brand became Sulwhasoo in 1997. The term “Soo” means “phenomenal” in Korean. Sulwhasoo’s research focused on the study of the synergy between thousands of ingredients from traditional Korean herbal medicine. This gave birth to the JAUM Balancing Complex, a unique formula to rebalance the skin and optimize the results of products (I told you all about it in my review of the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX).

Over the last 50 years, Sulwhasoo has become one of the leading beauty brands in South Korea and throughout Asia. The brand is considered one of the emblems of Korean beauty. Its products are even offered to first ladies around the world when they come to visit Korea during major international events.

Now, Sulwhasoo is distributed in 11 countries around the world: South Korea, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, the United States and Canada.

Sulwhasoo belongs to one of the largest South Korean cosmetics group, Amorepacific, founded in 1997 by Suh Sung-Whan’s second son, Suh Kyung-Bae.

Sulwhasoo and Ginseng:

The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream is not young! It has officially been around since 1966, but it has of course undergone numerous reformulations as the Sulwhasoo research teams have discovered new technologies over the years.

As you can probably guess with its name, the star of this cream is ginseng!

Indeed, among the many ingredients used in traditional Korean medicine, Goryeo ginseng (used by Sulwhasoo) is known for its exceptional effectiveness! It’s a red ginseng, the oldest of the different types of ginsengs (more than 6 years old), and also the most popular because it contains many more active ingredients than younger ginseng.

The active ingredients of ginseng are called ginsenosides, from the family of saponins, powerful antioxidant ingredients. They are scientifically recognized as being anti-ageing (they help to boost the production of collagen and smooth the texture of the skin).

For Sulwhasoo, the key factors of anti-aging are the natural vitality of the skin and its defense capacity.

In Korea, ginseng is almost considered as a divine plant that can heal almost all everyday little troubles. It’s widely used in particular for its relaxing and stimulating properties. It’s known to be a formidable antioxidant, which preserves the youth and vitality of the body, and is also very effective against stress.

As I mention above, the brand story of Sulwhasoo began with the following question: “How could we make the skin benefit from the astonishing effectiveness of Goryeo Ginseng?”. Since 1966 with the first ABC Ginseng cream, Sulwhasoo has been studying ginseng for over 50 years through what they called “Ginsenomics“.

“Ginsenomics” is a careful study of ginseng that examines in detail this plant and its benefits to the skin. All the ginseng plant is observed super closely: all its components, but also the most effective extraction methods, the best ways to cultivate it… All this in order to discover all the benefits of ginseng for the skin!

Sulwhasoo’s extensive study of ginseng led to the discovery of “Compound K“. This ingredient exclusive to Sulwhasoo allows the full power of ginseng to be delivered through Bioconversion Technology, a patented technology that converts ginseng to ensure better penetration into the skin.

Specifically, this method combines two steps. First, a traditional treatment is conducted to activate the ginseng, by steaming it for two to three hours and then drying it in a sunny and well ventilated place for two to three days afterwards.

This traditional steaming method is then combined with modern biotechnology to obtain a red ginseng saponin treated with enzymes (ETRGS) in microcapsules that allow a better absorption of the plant ingredient into the skin.

For Sulwhasoo, the key factors in anti-aging are the natural vitality of the skin and its defense capacity. As the skin ages, it loses its natural capacity for regeneration and defense, which accelerates the symptoms of aging.

The brand has therefore succeeded in developing an effective anti-aging innovation that combines the ancestral recipes of traditional Korean medicine with ultra-modern (even almost futuristic) cosmetic technology to help the skin better defend and regenerate itself!

The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, formulated with all of Sulwhasoo’s expertise on ginseng, aims to strengthen the skin’s ability to restore and defend itself to increase its natural vitality.

Compound K, found in the ginseng roots, its main source of energy, and the Ginsenoside Re, derived from the ginseng flowers, work together to restore the skin and make it more resilient!

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, product presentation:

You guessed it, Sulwhasoo’s ginseng range is clearly anti-aging! But as I mentioned above, Sulwhasoo approaches anti-aging in a rather different way than Western brands. Indeed, instead of focusing on a skin problem with specific dedicated ingredients, they rely instead on the precepts of oriental medicine, which sees the skin’s health as a whole and therefore wants to restore the vital energy of the whole body to be able to treat it properly.

I won’t go into more details about the differences between the Western and Eastern approach to the question of anti-aging, the topic is fascinating but it’s also super complex and this review is already very long lol

But if you’re interested, I strongly suggest you check out Odile Monod’s wonderful blog, The Monodist, which talks about it regularly and also her YouTube channel (including this video). It’s fascinating!

Personally, even if I’m not ready to let go of my retinol, I’m all for experimenting with different ingredients, like ginseng. And if it’s in a cream that’s as pleasant to use as it is technologically interesting, I’m doubly interested!

And Sulwhasoo has not spared any means with this formula. This is a pure product of Korean expertise, designed by one of the two largest cosmetic groups in South Korea, Amorepacific.

Concretely, it means that the ingredients used in this cream have been selected for their effectiveness and purity. Amorepacific also controls the production of its key ingredients from A to Z, they manage the farming of ginseng themselves so that they can guarantee its top notch quality.

But it also means that they carefully designed these ingredients to be optimized in the formula so that they are as effective as possible. And that requires an amazing Research and Development department, and with resources! I talked about the technology used above, and I must admit that as a cosmetics lover, these are the kind of details that get me super excited 😉

The key ingredients include:
Ginseng, here in several forms: Compound K, a compound rich in antioxidants extracted from Korean red ginseng (= saponins) to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve hydration while protecting the skin against future signs of aging, but also Ginsenoside Re, another derivative of Korean red ginseng, which helps to smooth skin texture and improve hydration, and an anti-oxidant ginseng flower extract.
– several nourishing oils and butters: Shea butter, meadowfoam oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, squalane
– some moisturizing ingredients such as honey, glycerin, beta-glucan and hyaluronic acid,
licorice extract which works on the radiance of the complexion,
– and finally, many other medicinal plant extracts used in oriental medicine for their fortifying and antioxidant effects (water lily, peony, seal of Solomon…).

It also contains some retinol and salicylic acid/BHA, but very little (I don’t know the percentages, but they are really at the end of the list, so it probably not much).

So this product meets several needs of a mature skin: nutrition, hydration, repair, smoothing effect for the texture of the skin, and brightening effect.

All this in an incredible texture, which looks rich at first but melts completely into the skin, leaving it supple and nourished but not “heavy”.

As you can imagine, it all comes at a price. And the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream is not cheap, $240 for 60ml.

But I sincerely think that it’s an exceptional product, and I appreciate my luck to have been able to try it at least once in my life (unfortunately, I’m not sure I can repurchase regularly given its price…).

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, my experience:

The first time I visited Korea, almost 4 years ago, I naturally decided to try a Sulwhasoo product. I chose the First Care Activating Serum EX (which I reviewed a little while ago), the best-seller from the brand.

One of the great things about Korea is that they’re super generous when it comes to samples! So I received the whole ginseng line in travel size, which I was able to try for almost 3 weeks.

After that, I was able to get several samples of the ginseng cream, and it really helped me to make up my mind about it (it also convinced me I had to buy it, lol it’s a trap!).

So when I went back to Korea in 2019, I took advantage of the duty-free in the airport to buy my first jar of Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream in full size! My review is a bit overdue, I used it mostly last winter. This winter, I’m finishing the small samples I got back with this purchase 😉

I know I always say in my reviews that moisturizing cream is not really the important part of the routine, that it’s better to invest in your serum etc, etc. But let’s just say that the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream is the exception to the rule lol

And I’ll start by saying that if I had to choose my favorite anti-aging moisturizer in the world, it would probably be this one. That’s it, my review is done, thank you and goodbye.

Ah ah ah, joking, at this stage of this (long) review, if you’re still there with me, you totally deserve to hear my reasons!

About the formula: I just simply can’t resist a great combination of ancestral ingredients and high technology. Sulwhasoo is an expert in this balance, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite K-Beauty brands!

But if I like it so much, it’s also for its ritual aspect. If you are sensitive to the sensoriality of a cream, you should definitely like this one! Its texture is an absolute delight: rich, melting, and it still absorbs perfectly… For me and my dehydrated/ sensitive/ combination skin, it’s the perfect night moisturizer! It leaves my skin totally comfortable and deeply moisturized, without feeling greasy.

It also exists in a “Light” version, more appropriate for the daytime, but I still prefer the original one. The lighter one has a different scent (more flowery).

And its ginseng scent… I just adore it! It doesn’t just smell like vulgar ginseng, it smells like fancy ginseng. The kind of ginseng that you would find in the vanity of a Korean empress of the Joseon dynasty, you know?
The scent is not subtle though, I prefer to warn you (but I don’t care, personally, I could roll myself in it with joy).

And let’s talk about the skin results, because with a $240 price tag, we need them!

I’m not going to tell you that I’ve had phenomenal anti-aging results with this cream, it’s always very difficult to judge, especially knowing that I use a lot of other anti-aging products in my routine.

But I still have been able to see a visible result on the radiance of my complexion and I also noticed the very soothing and anti-inflammation effect of this cream. It actually has a rather unexpected purifying effect on my acne-prone skin.

Finally, the jar lasts quite a long time (6 months for me), so you can enjoy it for quite some time at least!

In conclusion:

Do I really need to keep on professing my love for this moisturizer or is it okay, you’ve had enough? 😆

Clearly, given its price, it’s a treat that I can’t indulge too often but every time it’s in my routine, it’s a true delight!

The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream retails for $240 for 60ml. retails for $240 for 60ml.

Product Review in detail

Summary

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream

"A luxe anti-aging cream with an innovative complex of Korean red ginseng and retinol addresses multiple signs of aging while enhancing moisture."

product image

Recommendation

A+

One of my favorite moisturizers

Price

$240

Details

Packaging
Texture
Scent
Feeling on the skin
Formula/ Ingredients
Efficiency/ Result
Value For Money
Availability

+ Pros

- the formula is packed with interesting anti-aging ingredients, and very repairing,
- the high content of ginseng, which is an amazing ingredient,
- the beautiful Sulwhasoo packaging, very luxurious and pretty,
- the sensoriality: the melting texture and the ginseng scent that I absolutely love (I know it's an added scent, but I don't care, it's amazing lol),
- the long-lasting comfort, with a deep nourishing effect,
- the very appreciated soothing effect,
- I feel like it helps my skin to be more resilient.

- Cons

- the price, it's very expensive.

product name

Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream

brand name

Sulwhasoo

size

60ml

made in

South Korea

packaging

A very pretty refined and simple jar, which refers to ancient Korean pots. It's golden and orange, to remind the color of ginseng.

fragrance

A rather pronounced scent of ginseng, which is maybe not for everyone but that I personally love.

texture

A rich and super fondant texture, a real pleasure on the skin!

For Who

– dehydrated skin,
– sensitive and/or sensitized skin,
– mature skin,
– dry skin.

Concerns

– need for hydration,
– need for comfort,
– need for environmental protection,
– sensitized skin,
– wrinkles, fine lines,
– lack of radiance.

Method

I prefer to use the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream in the evening, but theoretically you can use it in the morning as well, if you want.
I take the equivalent of a pea-sized amount of cream with the spatula provided, and apply it at the end of my routine, after my serums. I massage my face and neck for a few seconds until the cream is absorbed. The texture and delicate scent turn it into a true ritual, which I particularly enjoy in the evening!

Key Ingredients

It’s a fairly long and complex formula! I would say it’s pretty old school for a Korean brand, so it’s very rich in natural ingredients but also in synthetic ingredients for a great texture!
In the key ingredients, you can find:
Ginseng, here in several forms: Compound K, a compound rich in antioxidants extracted from Korean red ginseng (= saponins) to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve hydration while protecting the skin against future signs of aging, but also Ginsenoside Re, another derivative of Korean red ginseng, which helps to smooth skin texture and improve hydration, and an anti-oxidant ginseng flower extract.
– several nourishing oils and butters: shea butter, meadowfoam oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, squalane
– some moisturizing ingredients such as honey, glycerin, beta-glucan and hyaluronic acid,
licorice extract which works on the radiance of the complexion,
– and finally, many other medicinal plant extracts used in oriental medicine for their fortifying and antioxidant effects (water lily, peony, seal of Solomon…).

It also contains some retinol and salicylic acid/BHA, but very little (I don’t know the percentages, but they are really at the end of the list, so it probably not much).

Ingredients

Water/​Aqua/​Eau, Glycerin, Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Trehalose, Limnanthes Alba(Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Phytosteryl Isostearyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Cyclohexasiloxane, PEG-40 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Phytosteryl/​Behenyl/​Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, PEG-100 Stearate, Propanediol, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Polyacrylate-13,PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Cetyl PEG/​PPG-10/​1 Dimethicone,Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Linoleate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pantethine, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Dimethicone, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Propylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Acetyl Glucosamine, Cyclodextrin, Polyisobutene, Salicylic Acid, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Polyquaternium-51, Hexyl Laurate, Caffeic Acid, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/​Copernicia Cerifera Cera/​Cire De Carnauba, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Alcohol, Dimethiconol, Glyceryl Linolenate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Polysorbate 20, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance/​Parfum, Glyceryl Arachidonate, Lauryl PEG/​PPG-18/​18 Methicone, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Leaf Extract, Sorbitan Isostearate, Honey /​ Mel /​ Miel, Beta-Glucan, Dextrin, Disodium EDTA, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Extract, Retinol, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/​Root Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Phytosphingosine, Methoxy PEG-114/​Polyepsilon Caprolactone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Isostearyl Alcohol, Dodecene, Ascorbyl Palmitate,Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins(Enzyme-Treated Red Ginseng Saponins), Panax Ginseng Flower Extract, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Linalool, BHT, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, BHA, Sodium Polyaspartate, Tbhq, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate.

Ingredients not included

– mineral oil,
– dye.

Shop for this product

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX $200 - $240

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX

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