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Sulwhasoo vs AmorePacific (The Definitive Guide)

Formulated from medicinal herbs by Korean dermatologists and scientists, Sulwahoo’s leading luxury skincare range is growing in popularity from a Korean staple to a worldwide cult brand. Their First Care Activating Serum is intended as a multi-use serum for a range of skin types to give the perfect healthy, nourished glow.

Amore Pacific—the parent company of Sulwhasoo (akin to L’Oréal owning Lancôme)—instead offers a premium alternative: the Single Extract Essence, recommended for its skin toning and smoothing capabilities.

Both products would serve as a versatile addition to any skincare routine, but there are several differences to consider before making your choice.

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Sulwhasoo vs AmorePacific

Sulwhasoo claims to make skin look healthier and ‘awake natural radiance from within’ with their anti-aging golden ratio formula. They use an advanced combination of five ingredients known as the JAUM Balancing Complex, consisting of Peony, Sacred Lotus, Solomon’s Seal, White Lily and Rehmannia. Designed to restore chemical balance in the skin, its overall aim is to target signs of aging - making it a great choice for older skin.

Unfortunately, alcohol appears pretty high up this serum’s ingredients list. Although it has great antimicrobial properties (good for maintaining skin health and hygiene) it’s also very drying, so those with dry or dehydrated skin might want to steer clear.

The lightweight texture also makes it gentle enough for sensitive skin; the non-oily finish is praised for its comfortable feel and easy absorption.

AmorePacific's award-winning essence is formulated using fermented green tea extract, a powerful antioxidant known for its ability to protect the skin against harmful environmental aggressors. Amore Pacific pioneered the use of green tea in skincare, and have proved that it’s possible to achieve brighter, smoother and more radiant skin within a matter of weeks.

The ingredients list is much shorter than the Sulwhasoo serum and altogether a lot kinder on the skin; there’s no alcohol, parabens or sulfates, and it uses glycerin as a key ingredient - a natural moisturizer that can transform extremely dry skin. Anyone with oiler skin could use it in place of moisturizer after cleansing, but many users have commented that it works better as a toner.

Unfortunately, the nourished, healthy glow of Amore Pacific’s essence comes at a price - it’s nearly four times as expensive as Sulwhasoo for the same amount. The latter could work beautifully for those with combination or oily skin who are shopping on a budget, but if you suffer from extremely dry skin and can afford to - opt for Amore Pacific. It’s also important to note that neither product is cruelty-free.

Lastly, if you’re still on the fence about which serum is right for you, it may be helpful to know that many find Sulwhasoo to be a subtler, more pleasant fragrance, but the Amore Pacific essence works better as a standalone product.

First Care Activating Serum by Sulwhasoo, the first step to healthy radiance

First Care Activating Serum by Sulwhasoo

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The first step to healthy radiance.

What makes it special? This unique first step serum containing Sulwhasoo's anti-aging golden ratio formula instantly absorbs into your skin, making your skin look healthier and awakening its natural radiance. Enjoy the fresh finish it provides, priming your skin from deep within.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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Vintage Single Extract Essence by AmorePacific, clarifies and visibly firms skin.

Vintage Single Extract Essence by AmorePacific

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Clarifies and visibly firms skin.

What makes it special? This award-winning essence contains a high concentration of green tea (hand-picked from AmorePacific's exclusive Dolsongi garden on Jeju island) to visibly improve skin’s elasticity and tone. Strong antioxidants in fermented green tea help defend against external stressors that could lead to visible skin aging.

Which skin types? All skin types.

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