Toner/ First Essence/ First Serum

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Review

I cannot believe that I have finally tried the famous Korean luxury skincare brand Sulwhasoo, now don’t get excited thinking that I have tried everything! LOL! So, when Sulwhasoo was launched on Nykaa, I immediately placed an order for the deluxe size of Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. This serum claims to hydrate, nourish, firm, give the smooth glass-like skin and promote better absorption of products used later (as mentioned on sulwhasoo USA website). I mean with the hype around this product and with such claims, who wouldn’t like to try out this product?

Skin Type:

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is suitable for all skin types, for every season and is particularly made for people who are 25+, younger people you really don’t need this serum, like there is no harm in using this serum but if you are on a budget, you can totally skip on it. Also, if you have severe acne or sensitivity issues, try out the sample first!

Ingredients List and CosDNA Analysis:

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

This first step serum does have some red flags for sensitive skin, especially for someone is especially allergic to added fragrance. (Did I have any reaction? read till the end to know it). But keeping it apart, this serum is packed with many skin-friendly botanical extracts that helps in brightening and repairing dull aged skin.

  • Licorice Root Extract – Reduces redness and brightens skin.
  • JAUM Balancing Complex™ – a potent combination of five Korean herbs and they following skin benefits:
    1. White Lily extract – brightens skin, boosts skin cell regeneration, and turnover the cycle, therefore is a good anti-aging ingredient.
    2. Peony root extract – anti-allergic/ Anti-inflammatory.
    3. Rehmannia Root Extract –  calm irritated skin, used in the treatment of skin rashes, reduces dryness in skin,
    4. Solomon’s Seal – brightens skin, helps heal damaged skin, reduces acne, and acne scars.
    5. Sacred Lotus – boost skin cell regeneration, brightens dull skin and calms irritated skin

Click here for cosdna analysis..

How to use:

Use Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum right after cleansing on clean dry face and then follow up with your toner, essence, other serum, eye cream, and moisturiser. This serum can be used daily, day and night, and with any kind of active based product.


Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum comes in a very beautiful oriental sturdy plastic packaging with a pump kind of dispenser.

On the day of launch, on ordering this serum, I also received the sample and the golden sulwhasoo pouch
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

Expiry: Use within 12 months after opening

Quantity: I bought a deluxe sample size of 15ml. You can also get a bigger bottle in standard size of 60ml. This first step serum is also available in 90 ml and 120 ml quantity.

Price: I bought this 15 ml bottle for Rs. 1850 (24.7) from Nykaa (India only. Global users can get the serum from Yesstyle – Use code – NAYAK23 – for the additional discount.

Consistency/ Texture / fragrance / Absorbability:

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum surprisingly has a natural soft brown colour and watery consistency that sinks in right away on contact with the skin. It does have a bitter herbal fragrance, which I absolutely love and it goes away completely after the application.

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
But nope! It’s super watery!
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum


I have been using the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum for more than a month in my nighttime skincare routine and I am very happy with it. On first few applications, I did see that my skin looked smooth, bright and healthy next morning and with regular usage, I did see that my skin became overall healthy and bright, the results I got were comparable to klairs vitamin c serum but without the risk of damaging my skin (in case if you are wondering, what I am talking about then do read my review on Klairs freshly juiced vitamin drop (Click here). I am in fact planning to get a bigger bottle, but someone please declare a discount!


  1. Didn’t irritate my dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin.
  2. Made my skin bright, smooth, and overall healthy.
  3. It did fade some of my superficial light acne scars.
  4. Paraben-free.
  5. Vegan-friendly.
  6. Essential-oil free and carrier oil-free. This is the part I am very happy about. Even though I have dry skin, I prefer using Oil-free products.


  1. A bit too pricey!!!. Like if you can manage to get a good vitamin c serum, you will get the better skin brightening and firming result at a lower price, but if your skin is just sensitive towards the vitamin c, retinol, Niacinamide, AHA, BHA, etc., then this serum is the good gentle option for that complete skin treatment.





Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do I recommend it? Yes! It’s a good product overall if you are comfortable spending that much on one product and if you are not allergic to artificial fragrance in a product.

Will I repurchase? I want to get a bigger bottle next time, just waiting for a sale.

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I am not a dermatologist or a licensed aesthetician, but I do have sufficient experience and knowledge which I gained by testing multiple products and by self-exploration, based on that, I am sharing the information here and what works for me may not work the same way your skin.

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