By Nadine Kam
Amore Pacific national educator and trainer Steven Snook shows a handful of the Korean red ginseng that goes into many Sulwhasoo products. — Nadine Kam photos
Korean skincare brand, Sulwhasoo brought its Herbal Sensorium to Neiman Marcus from Dec. 9 to 15, when those interested in learning more about the herbs going into the products were welcome to smell and touch the various ingredients and ask questions.
Parent company Amore Pacific's national educator and trainer Steven Snook was in town to share information about the brand, with products rooted in Korean herbal medicine.
Asian medicine differs from Western medicine in that it attempts to address ailments from inside and getting to the root cause of problems vs. addressing symptoms.
In Hawaii, we're one step ahead of much of the nation in this regard because of many of our diverse ethnic backgrounds, with knowledge of folk and herbal remedies. He said that in his travels across the nation, he finds people unfamiliar with the idea of Korean herbal medicine, and afraid of the word "medicine."
"Sulwhasoo" is named after a flower that blooms in the snow in the dead of winter, and the brand's aim is to restore balance to the skin, through use of Asian botanicals.
Sulwhasoo's products are rooted in Korean herbal medicine recipes that refer to some 2,000 ingredients. Many of the original remedies were intended to be ingested, but the company studied the ingredients, using only the 200 that would be most effective when applied topically.
I've used their Time Treasure line and feel it works, if you don't mind the herbal scent of ginseng.
Korean red ginseng.
Snook said he gets nods of understanding when those of Korean ancestry look at the displays, but said, "The one thing that Koreans don't understand is pine, because it's the only ingredient not eaten."
The display featured wood from the red pine, but in cosmetic usage, they use the chlorophyll and oils of the Korean red pine, which in Asian lore is said to treat myriad ailments.
The line is based on addressing skincare needs in seven-year cycles and restoring skin to balance, from First Care Serum that is intended to reduce inflammation and improve circulation, to the Time Treasure Collection that addresses permanent signs of aging for those 36 and older.
In formulating the Concentrated Renewing Ginseng Cream, he said no added water is used so you get an effective blend of the roots, berries and sap of Korean ginseng, along with other herbs, and avocado, mango seed and sunflower oils.
An image from Steven Snook's presentation.
The Herbal Sensorium display of ingredients that go into Sulwhasoo products, including Korean red ginseng, red pine, white lily, Solomon's Seal, rehmannia, Chinese peony and East Indian lotus.
Wood chips from the Korean red pine.
White lily helps the skin with moisture retention.