Cult Favorite: Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX

The First Care Activating Serum EX from Sulwhasoo promises to boost the effects of the products you use after it by using the JAUM Balancing Complex, a blend of botanicals selected from over 3,000 traditional Korean herbs. It restores your skin to its optimal balance, replenishes moisture and nutrients, enhance the performance of subsequent skin care products, and hydrates and balances skin. Though this contains alcohol, which I don’t really mind but is worth noting, it also has hanbang ingredients like honey, portul, sodium hyaluronate, and extracts of ophiopogon japonicus root, licorice root, camellia sinensis leaf, peony root, and milk vetch.

Recommended to be used after cleansing, this has a serum-like consistency and since I’m a rebel, I would mostly use this right after a hydrating toner and a light essence. It has a light gel texture that feels lightweight enough on the skin even though there is a bit of an oily feeling to it. It also has a strong herbal scent though it doesn’t linger. It would only take a pump and a half to cover my face and the serum would sink in without leaving a tacky feeling to it.

The first few weeks I used this, I didn’t really notice anything save for it leaving my face plump and soft, a feeling not exclusive to this product. However, after not using it for a week, my skin missed this. I also noticed that my face fell back to looking tired and sallow in the middle of the week, no matter how careful I was in terms of hydrating and moisturizing. That’s when I realized how this helped in maintaining a radiant glow to my skin, even without makeup, and also leaving it soft and bouncy. Those things might not sound hardworking but for someone in her 30s who can easily look tired the morning after she spends two more hours past her bedtime, it’s a big deal. I have come to appreciate the product and has since not let a night go by without reaching for this. Come Wednesday, or any day for that matter, my face wouldn’t look dull and gray whenever I use this.

*This product was provided by @sulwhasoo.official and @meibekorea for review. Available for $112 at

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