This is a quick and very niche post, but in case you are travelling to Asia in the near future or are just obsessed with Korean skincare, I have to tell you this. I totally could not live with myself if you’d miss out on Su:m37 purely because I was too lazy to post about it.
I have been interested in Su:m37 for a while, because Gothamista (whom I trust blindly when it comes to Asian skincare) is a huge fan of their stick cleanser. I’ve tried to buy this twice when travelling East and it’s always out of stock. This time, however, I decided that if I cannot have the cleanser, by Aphrodite, I’m just going to get something else. And this brings me to my very specific recommendation: Su:m37 does several skincare sets that are often available at Asian airports and they are well worth considering.
Korean beauty is mostly associated with innovative and rather affordable products. There are, however, also more high-end brands, Sulwhasoo being the best known. Su:m37 is not quite as expensive, but definitely not cheap either. Based on the skincare I’ve tried, I think I personally prefer Su:m37 – although your really have to treat this statement with caution, as I have only tried a fraction of stuff by both brands and in case of Su:m37, not for a very long time.
But back to the set. If you’re a serious skincare fan*, the sets really are pretty good value (especially compared to ordering from Europe in case you don’t want to use Amazon) and allow you to try different things. The one I chose, cost around 100 euros** and included: a full size Secret Essence Advanced Sync Program, half sizes (20 ml) of Water-Full Timeless Water Gel Cream and Water-full Timeless Water Gel Eye Lifting Essence, travel sizes of Secret Repair Toner, Secret Repair Emulsion, Secret Repair Concentrated Cream and a travel version of the essence as well.
Su:m37 is mostly known for its fermented products (see here for why that is a good thing) and based on what I’ve tried, I would not recommend the brand for drastic results (that’s true for most Korean skincare) – for that, there are retinoids and hard-core vitamin C. But no skin can survive on retinol only and not everyone is interested in shocking their face with things that might irritate, make the skin peel or react in other suboptimal ways.
If you are that kind of person or just need something that makes your skin super hydrated, beautifully healthy-looking and bouncy and supple, Su:m37 could be for you. Secret Essence with its fermented plant extracts is the star product, but everything I’ve tried (meaning the whole set) is lovely. The essence now has a permanent place in my routine, I rotate it with SKII Facial Treatment Essence and often skip the toner, as it’s so hydrating (the consistency is thicker than SKII). I like the eye essence underneath a richer cream for extra hydration and some lift and the gel cream is just a good hydrating product that is always useful to have around.
When I returned from Australia, jet-lagged and dehydrated, I tried to increase my chances of staying awake by using some exciting skincare. I cleansed my face and did the full Korean layering thing with Su:m37 products: toner, essence, lotion, cream. As a result, my face looked wonderful – rested and glowy. Usually, the skin is the first to reflect that you are tired, so it was almost surreal to see myself in the mirror – I certainly looked more awake than I felt.
Bottom line: anything that can erase the effects of a long-haul flight is a winner in my little black book.
UPDATE: I’ve just realised I left out the Skin Saver Essential Cleansing Foam (40ml). Incidentally, it’s my least favourite product: a good quality cleanser, but foams too much and leaves a too squeaky clean finish for my taste.
*If you are not a crazy person, just get the essence or the cleanser, if available.
**I bought mine in Singapore, I’m sure it’s more affordable in Seoul.