Two Korean Skincare Favorites – Sulwhasoo First Activating Serum and Snowise EX Brightening Mask Review

May 14, 2016

If you are not the most enthuastic korean beauty fan, you will probably be confused of what brand and products to get as they all look and sound the same, and some can be a little gimmicky (at least to me!). One brand that guarantees premium quality and a luxury user experience would be the top rated Sulwhasoo. I haven’t tried that many products from the brand, but so far everything I have used has blown me away, including the Perfecting Cushion Foundation (reviewed here – the best cushion foundation in the market!), the ultra nourishing Gingseng Renewing Cream for the driest skin (packed with high concentration of ginseng), and my latest additions were the  First Care Activating Serum and the Snowise EX Brightening Mask reviewed in this post.

Long time readers would know that my all time favorite masks has always been the SKII , and it has now been officially replaced by the Sulwhasoo Brightening Mask (currently on backorder at Nordstrom!). I ran out of paper masks when I was holidaying in Hawaii, so I shopped around and decided to give the Sulwhasoo a try.  The next day I went back to the same counter and purchased two more boxes as they were so good!


The mask is for hydrating and brightening use, and it does both jobs exceptionally well. The main ingredient is the fermented ginseng essence, which gives a “treatment equivalent” result. For brightening, it claims that it will leave your skin luminous and more translucent than ever after just a single use. Most paper masks always make your skin appear brighter after use, but the difference with this mask is that the immediate brightening effect is better, and leaves your skin appearing visibly  more translucent, youthful and even-toned after use. The brightening effect is also prolonged for a few days. If you have the budget of using the mask 3 times a week, they will dramatically improve the tone and luminosity of your skin from deep within more so than makeup products. I was literally sun-baking everyday for 2 weeks when I was in Hawaii, I used the mask every 2 days and my complexion became even brighter (existing freckles did not darken) after my holiday so I was very pleased! It also helps to hydrate and plump up your skin. If you have normal to dry skin, this mask is sufficient for keeping your skin hydrated with some anti-aging benefits. If you have very dry skin, I think the SK-II is still a better option.

The sheet mask has the ‘skin-like’ paper-gel texture, and it is extremely thin and completely adheres to the face regardless of your face shape (no bubbles!). The mask is fully soaked with milky essence, and it stays moist for up to 30 minutes. I normally leave the mask on for 20-30 minutes for the optimum result.


The Sulwhasoo SA also successfully convinced me to purchase their best seller the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. We all know the Koreans have the most complex skincare system, and this product is designed to be used as the first product of the entire skincare regime. It is a serum which helps to deeply hydrate, plump the skin immediately, as well as for boosting other skincare products for ultimate results. The purpose of this product is very similar to the famous Lancome Genifique. It has a honey colored consistency with a soothing herbal smell, feels lightweight and non sticky and is absorbed in to the skin immediately. It is very hydrating, especially if you feel your skin is becoming accustomed to the products you are using for a while, this boosting serum helps to give them a kick and offers extra moisturizing effect. Even on its own without using any other serums, it’s a lovely gentle serum that helps to replenish essential moisture and nutrients for all skin types and suitable for all age groups.



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

gina May 14, 2016 at 6:59 pm

I too decided to give Sulwhasoo a try recently and totally love every product that I tried. I had thought that the Perfecting Cushion Foundation would better suit a drier and colder country but it totally works for me in the hot humid environment that i live in too! I love how it smoothen out my pores and gave a luminous dewy effect that i like! And the First Care Activating Serum is really something isn’t it? I used to have clogs along my jawline and since i started using it my clogs seem to have minimise and noticed that my face is smoother than ever!

I do also recommend you to give their Snowise range a try too. I’ve noticed my overall complexion has brighten after using them. Oh and not forgetting the Essential Rejuvenating Eye Cream too!


Reika May 15, 2016 at 6:06 am

Hi Gina thank you for the comment. Yes the Sulwashoo cushion foundation really holds makeup well compared to the others. I know that Sulwahsoo has recently released a new brightening cushion foundation which I can’t wait to get my hands on. I heard that it’s even better than the perfecting cushion 🙂

Yes I will definitely try out more products from the Snowise range since I’m so impressed with the mask!


Gina May 16, 2016 at 2:25 am

I am itching to try the brightening cushion too but i shall try my best to hold on till i am done with the perfecting cushion.

I definitely will give the mask a try! Thanks for the recommendation!


Yukari May 15, 2016 at 8:42 am

I used tonuse the first care activiating serum fromsulwashoo, now Im into another high end brand calles WHOO ! Check WHOO out as well!


Christina May 17, 2016 at 5:34 pm

The rest of the Snowise line is fabulous, as is the Overnight Vitalizing Mask. I highly recommend those, if you haven’t given them a try!


Kaka June 11, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Hi im just curious as i plan to buy the first care activating serum.
How do u use this? do u put on toner first then serum or go directly to serum
As it says “first” meaning its supposed to be the first step after cleansing?

Hope u can teach 🙂


Reika June 12, 2016 at 11:32 am

Hi Kaka yes I use the activating serum as the first step after cleansing.


Ketom June 25, 2017 at 6:23 am

Can I ask you a question? I’m really confused of which to buy for a long-term use so which one would you recommend to me: Sulwhasoo skincare line or SK-II? And do both are the same good at Anti-Aging or one product is more effective? Also please tell me your prefered brand, thank you! 💙


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