[Disclosure: products received for review; all opinions are my own]
“Saranghae” was the first Korean word I have learned. I honestly watch so many Korean dramas, but for some reason only the word “Saranghae” sticks in my mind… Because “Saranghae” means I love you in Korean. Also, sorry for disappearing for so long! I was celebrating love in my life and was getting married!
For me “Saranghae” also now means a 5-step skincare routine, since Min Jun Lee founded the brand. Saranghae skincare takes its inspiration in the Korean beauty philosophy. Its ingredients are derived from natural plants, herbs and flowers that grow on Jeju Island in South Korea. Jeju Island, is a magical natural place in Korea, where the volcanic activity has left the soil rich in minerals and nutrients. Ingredients from Jeju Island are used by many Kbeauty brands, and are believed to have stronger properties and to be of higher quality than from some other places (more on the ingredients here)
Saranghae has a 5-step beauty routine targeted for people that are concerned by first signs of aging, and want a gentle but reliable anti-aging and moisturizing routine. The products follow a specific order, that is in-depth explained on Saranghae’s website and youtube. My review will also follow the recommended order of products (even though I rebelliously switched the order sometimes, read to find out more).
- Night Serum
- Night Cream
- Eye Serum
- Step1: The Nourishing & Moisturizing Cleanser
I have a little bit of mixed feelings for this cleanser. On the one hand, I do love oil-based cleansers, and this one does a good job removing make-up and all impurities. But I usually double cleanse in my routine, and I would follow-up with a water based cleanser. As I wanted to test only Saranghae products for some time I did not follow-up with a water based cleanser (in the name of Science!). Unfortunately, I do feel like a water-based cleanser here is welcome because it is quite hard to completely wash-out this oil based cleanser without creating an artificial lake all around your sink. Also, the smell of this cleanser is not really convincing. Call me shallow, but I like my K-beauty smelling like roses or smelling like something sweet. This cleanser, on the other hand, has in my opinion a slightly irritating and acidic smell. But, if this is not an issue for you, the cleanser is doing an overall good job.
Definitely on the plus side, I love that this cleanser contains Olive oil extract (like my beloved DHC cleanser) and Green Tea (that I love to drink and put on my face). I also like that the ingredients list is short and to the point.
- Ingredients: Olive Fruit Oil, Laureth-4, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Decyl Olivate, Squalane, Olea Europaea (Olive Leaf) extract, Muira Pauma Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Seed Extract, Fragrance (from the packaging)
- Step 2: The Infinite Repair Night Serum
The Infinite Repair Night Serum is loaded with peptides, alpha-airbutin and soluble collagen to moisturize and help fight first signs of age and fine lines. This serum is easy to use and integrate into a multi step skincare routine. It has a neutral watery consistency, virtually no smell of its own and gets absorbed quite fast. On its own, it is not sufficient to moisturize my dry skin, but I feel it worked well within the 5 step protocol.
I used serums with peptides from Mizon for my winter day skincare routine and I still believe in the long-term beneficial effects of peptides. Unfortunately, unlike Retinol which delivers short term firming effects although it is more burdensome to use (only at night and with sunscreen the morning after!) the skincare effects of peptides seem to work only in the long run. I feel this serum is a good choice for the very first signs of age, more as a matter of prevention than really trying to reverse the damage.
- Step 3: The Firm and Lift regenerating Cream
Even though the brand recommends to use the Firm & Lift cream as Step 3, I need to say my stubborn and rebellious nature prevailed, and I usually use the cream as my last routine step (after serum, eye cream and sheetmask). For the sake of the review, I will keep the recommended order – but feel free to mix and match as you like. I really like this cream! It is a bit on the ‘harder’ side, as opposed to very gel-like or mousse like creams. It has a very neutral smell that remains me of derma-brands creams that focus on effects rather than sensations. The cream is very gentle and comforting. It doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy nor dry.
I also like how this cream mixes very traditional (and well loved!) ingredients such as Shea Butter or Glycerin with more innovative, Korean focused ingredients such as Wild Evening Primrose extract.
- Step 4: The Focus Renewal Eye Serum
If you think you don’t need an eye cream yet in your skin care routine – think twice. The skin around are eyes is so delicate, and definitely different than on the rest of our face, that it needs special care. I always took extra care of my under eye area, not because I was particularly anticipating under eye wrinkles, but because of my relatively dark under eye circles. I hated these shadows so deeply, that I started my eye cream research very early on. Before switching to a multi step Korean routine, I typically always owned a toner, face cream and eye cream.
So needless to say I tend to be very picky with my eye creams and quite demanding. I like that this cream doesn’t have an added fragrance (I think to avoid in eye creams) and a relatively short list of ingredients (I believe that when in doubt, go for the most simple cosmetics). The eye cream contains Comfrey, Cucumber and Witch Hazel. To be honest, there is no flashy new (cool) ingredient in the lot. But hey! Being original doesn’t mean to be good, right? Another plus is that this cream is very light, more on the ‘gely’ side, and sinks easily in the skin. The only problem is that the pump is quite problematic, as it systematically delivers too much product. No matter how I try, I just can’t manage to press it gently enough to pump only the right (small!) amount of cream needed.
- Step 5: The Elemental Essence Mask
I think this sheet mask is my favorite product from Saranghae. It is really moisturizing, and stays moist a very long time. This is great, because I usually put on my masks in front of some drama, and I just hate it went the mask dries out after barely 10 minutes and forces me to interrupt my episode. This mask lasts at least a 30 minute web-drama, and could probably go for a full 45 minute Chinese episode (but keep in mind it’s not good to keep sheetmasks for too long as they may start to dry out your skin).
I think if you are new to a multi-step beauty routine, then definitely a 5 step routine is a good start. For me, as I am a veteran of Asian beauty, and some kind of skincare shopaholic, I can’t limit myself to just 5 steps. In the name of science, and to give you guys my best opinion on Saranghae products, I tried really hard not to mix it with other products. But sometimes I failed. The biggest problem for me was the cleansing part. I am used to double cleansing (more on that here) meaning first using an oil cleanser to remover oily make-up and then using a water based cleanser. The Saranghae cleanser is an oil based one, so sometimes I did follow-up with another Kbeauty water-based cleanser.
To find out more about the Saranghae line, visit their website: https://www.lovesaranghae.com/