Beauty Review: Sulwhasoo Introduces Ginseng
October 21, 2016
Sulwhasoo, the foundation of Korean Skincare, is celebrating beauty with the launch of a revolutionary product. Sulwhasoo’s leadership in Korean skincare as the #1 luxury skincare brand in its home country came from nearly half a century of dedication to traditional Korean herbal medicine. Today, it is introducing the new Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX that embodies decades of committed excellence to the ingredient.
We sat down with Suhwhasoo Brand Manager Laura Chen to talk about how the brand came to be, how it has changed over the years, and the newest must-try products.
Neiman Marcus: Tell us about the Sulwhasoo heritage and brand.
Laura Chen: Sulwhasoo’s journey to holistic beauty began with one of Asia’s most precious traditional medicinal herbs, ginseng. Dietary consumption of ginseng was widely believed to help boost energy, strengthen functions of internal organs, and delay aging. Ginseng was often called “the plant of the gods,” as it is known as the best among Korean medicinal plants. The revolutionary idea to bring ginseng to life in cosmetics began with one thought: If ginseng is good for the body when ingested, wouldn’t it have an equally positive effect on the skin?
The late company chairman Seung-Whan Suh, pen-named Jangwon, created Sulwhasoo as we know it today. His childhood hometown was Kaesung, the renowned trade center of ginseng. Jangwon began to take interest in ginseng, the representative herbal ingredient of Korea known for its powerful healing and regenerating benefits. Developing the eye for rare and remarkable ingredients, Jangwon had a vision and strong commitment to deliver Korean ginseng’s efficacies in cosmetics. This dream became the foundation of Sulwhasoo’s pioneering ginseng research.
NM: What makes ginseng such a vital ingredient for antiaging products?
LC: Because utilizing ginseng as a key ingredient of beauty products was a novel concept, researchers had to carefully study its many topical efficacies. Through decades of dedication and passion they extracted and dissected all parts of the ginseng plant—from its roots to flowers—to precisely examine its efficacies on the skin.
NM: Sulwhasoo has examined every part of ginseng, from seed to sprout, transforming each part for advanced skincare. What benefits do the various parts of Ginseng provide for the skin?
LC: GinsenomicsTM refers to Sulwhasoo’s proprietary research on the vitality of ginseng. The holistic study of the plant from its root to its flowers allows for in-depth research of its rare and powerful antiaging properties. Each part of the plant has its unique antiaging capabilities and has synergistic effects when used together.
Sulwhasoo’s research on ginseng roots led to the discovery of a rare saponin and its effects on the skin. In addition, Sulwhasoo also successfully developed a proprietary technology to help deliver antiaging and brightening active ingredients in an optimal state to the skin.
Ginseng leaves and stems contain active ingredients that help shield the skin from external aggressors. The introduction of water culture systems in a high-tech greenhouse has enhanced the concentration of rare saponins in ginseng leaves and stems.
Ginsenoside Re is derived from ginseng flowers and fruits. Ginseng plants flower by drawing on the energy from the whole plant and bear fruit after having grown in fertile soil, gentle winds, and under the attentive care of farmers for four years. Ginsenoside Re enhances the skin’s defense system in synergy with active ingredients in ginseng roots.
After dedicated years of research, Sulwhasoo became the first to discover excellent antiaging benefits of Compound K in ginseng saponin and brightening effects of Ginsenoside F1. Since the two substances were not easily absorbed into the skin, Sulwhasoo developed its patented ginseng processing technology, BioconversionTM. In 2001, Sulwhasoo was finally able to convert saponin, which exists only in a miniscule amount in ginseng, to these active ingredients.
NM: Sulwhasoo recently launched their newest product, Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX. What can you tell us about this cream?
LC: In 1966, our founder Seung-Whan Suh launched ABC Ginseng Cream as the first cosmetics formulated with ginseng. Today, we introduce our newest Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX. Sensitivity to consumer preferences also pushed Sulwhasoo to introduce a Light version to offer a universal solution to women seeking more youthful-looking skin.
NM: Korean skincare is recognized worldwide. Why do you believe Korean women have such beautiful skin?
LC: The idea of holistic beauty is one that is valued highly in Korean culture. Beauty is about taking care of the body and mind. Sulwhasoo’s skincare naturally lends itself to be a self-caring ritual from the application of its unique textures and depth of scents in its products and highly effective clinically proven formulas.
NM: Describe your daily skincare routine.
LC: My skincare routine varies by season, but it’s always twice a day, starting with double-cleansing with Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Oil and Gentle Cleansing Foam. The oil helps remove sebum and natural toxins, while the foam removes dirt and environmental pollutants. This prepares my skin for the rest of my regimen. Right after cleansing, I apply the First Care Activating Serum—our best seller and the pioneering booster serum in the market. I look forward to applying this product using a simple version of the patting and pressure-point massage technique I learned from one of our lead spa aestheticians in Korea. It’s so therapeutic and such a nice treat.
I then use the Essential Water, Emulsion, either the Essential Serum or Capsulized Fortifying Serum, followed by Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream. In the summer, I swap out the Ginseng Cream with Hydro-aid Soothing Cream for my morning routine. It actually cools my skin after my morning workouts.
Throughout the week, I use the Overnight Vitalizing Mask or Snowise EX Brightening Mask, depending on if my skin needs an extra boost of nutrients or glow. It seemed like a lot at first, but now I can’t live without any one of these steps. With busy schedules and commitments, this skincare regimen really is time set aside for myself to recharge and feel balanced.
NM: What are the best steps one can take to help fight signs of antiaging in addition to using Sulwhasoo products?
LC: A healthy lifestyle of a nutrient-rich diet, drinking water for hydration, and regular physical activity are important for antiaging. Youth and beauty stem from the inside—from what we eat to how we feed our minds. The occasional indulgence is good to keep a balance and consciousness of our decisions. The core philosophy is balance and harmony of mind and body—treating ourselves as a whole.