It takes a lot to get me to stray from my regular skincare routine. My complexion is breakout-prone, so introducing lots of new products is always a slippery slope. K-Beauty though feels like a relatively safe space. The ethos is more about healing, soothing and refining as opposed to resurfacing and re-texturising. It’s all about bouncy serums, watery essences and glassy skin – an aesthetic I am very much aligned to.

Sulwhasoo is like the Cindy Crawford of K-Beauty – an iconic brand (and loved by all) that’s been around since 1966. It draws on the holistic powers of Korean herbal medicine, working to bridge the gap between body and mind through skincare. The brand’s originator Suh Sung-Whan started with the ingredient ginseng, and while it’s still a hero, Sulwhasoo now includes a range of natural ingredients in its formulas, including the lauded JAUM Balancing Complex™ (a blend of five key herbs prepared for 18 hours per batch).

As of yesterday, Sulwhasoo finally launched into Sephora Australia stores, meaning I had the chance to try some of the much-hyped range. I made a beeline for the First Care Activating Serum: a hero product that has sold two trillion (!!!) units since its original launch. Designed to hydrate, nourish and prep the skin for further product absorption, it’s a light, bouncy serum-essence that promises a firm complexion and a glassy glow.

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum Review

My initial questions were about the ingredients: The Jaum Balancing Complex is the MVP, but it’s also loaded with glycerin, honey, walnut seed extract, liquorice root and a slew of other natural inclusions. It’s got that fresh, dewy, K-Beauty thing going on with a soft, almost-citrus scent. On application, it’s light and quickly absorbed – I actually found it took away that tight feeling I get after using certain cleansers. I just put a few pumps into the palm of my head and pressed repeatedly into my face and neck before finishing with more serum, moisturiser and suscreen. After a few uses (early days, but still) my skin felt calm, clear and brighter than normal. The real measure of success is that I’ll continue to use it for a few more weeks. Besides, two trillion sales have to stand for something?

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum, $112. SHOP NOW