Sulwhasoo’s greatest brightening breakthrough draws from Korea’s rich medicinal heritage. By Li Ying Lim.
Written in traditional Chinese, sulwha refers to “a silently glowing snow flower”, while soo is a character that resembles beauty and elegance, notably of the age-old Korean aesthetic. The moniker traces back to a snowy knoll in a small Korean village named Gaesong. Here, the crimson camellia blushes through the winter white, and blossoms during the chilliest time of the year – a most beautiful flower revered for its remarkable resilience. Incidentally, Gaesong is also a place where the most potent ginseng has been harvested ever since the famed Goryeo Dynasty.
Back in 1932, a little boy named Sung-Hwan Suh would frequently accompany his mother on market sojourns. She would pick Korean herbs of the highest quality to concoct her very own camellia oil, a traditional elixir used by women for generations to enhance the hair and fortify the scalp. While on these trips to the market, Suh developed a keen appreciation for the medicinal and cosmetic values of raw ingredients, especially ginseng. Years In the city of Seoul, women make up the highest spenders when it comes to cosmetics and skincare products. Here, beauty is defined by flawless, fair, translucent skin, and Sulwhasoo is unveiling a scientific discovery that will literally change the face of skin brightening as we know it.
“Most of the whitening or brightening serums in the market focus solely on UV and reducing melanin formation,” explains Jung-Han Choo, senior associate researcher of Sulwhasoo. “These products contain synthesised actives, such as a high percentage of niacinamide, to reduce melanin and darkness of the skin. This approach quite often leads to skin irritation.” It is no wonder later, he became the founder of Amore Pacific skincare. His enduring passion for Asian herbs was in perfect harmony with the company’s ownership and support of botanical gardens, green-tea farming, as well as world-class research centres and partnerships in both science and botanics.
His mother’s legacy lives on in the corporate ethics of Amore Pacific as well as the diversity of ranges using heritage medicinal lore to target very specific skincare problems. The secret formula of her camellia oil was not lost with the years, and today continues to delight consumers in the form of Sulwhasoo Hair Treatment Oil, which contains more than 50 percent of natural camellia oil.
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The snow flower – Sulwhasoo’s symbol