The product featured in this post was provided for review by BeautyKorea Mall. All opinions and recommendations in this post are my own unless otherwise noted. Learn more about my rules for store partnerships by checking out my sponsorship policy and sponsor list.
Being of Taiwanese descent, I will eat just about anything as long as it’s supposed to taste good, and I will enjoy just about any food, as long as it actually does taste good. There are only two traditional foods that I actively dislike. The first is stinky tofu (EW, GROSS). The second is sea cucumber. This ultra-pricey “delicacy” grosses me out. I don’t like the texture and I don’t like the taste and I don’t like how their appearance, when they’re being themselves, ranges from condomlike to freaky to really really freaky to comically Lovecraftian.
With that being said, sea cucumbers do come from the ocean, and I do love putting things from the ocean on my face, so when the lovely Janet at BeautyKorea Mall offered to send over a few items of my choice for review, of course I asked for a jar of Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream. Produced by the manufacturers of the (in)famous Guerisson 9 Complex horse oil cream and the significantly less troubling Mari Huana Real Nature Hemp Seed Oil Cream, Haishen 80 boasts 80% sea cucumber extract. I had no idea what benefits sea cucumbers might bring for my skin, but that didn’t stop me from diving right in.
Purpose: Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream is a hydrating moisturizer that claims to brighten skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Best suited for: Normal, oily, and dehydrated/oily skin.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to fragrance, silicones and silicone derivatives, fatty alcohols, or anything else in the ingredients list. If you have seafood allergies, make sure to patch test. I mean, you should patch test anyway, regardless, but not all of us do.
When and how to use: After all of the actives and hydrating and/or treatment steps in your skincare routine, smooth a small amount of Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream over face, neck, and upper chest. Follow with an occlusive final moisturizer if desired.
Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream ingredients: Sea cucumber extract (80%), water, cyclopentasiloxane, dipropyleneglycol, glycereth-26, niacinamide, dimethicone, glycerin, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, glyceryl caprylate, swiftlet nest extract, cyclohexasiloxane, carbomer, triethanolamine, dimethiconol, glyceryl stearate, chlorphenesin, PEG-150 distearate, perfume, butylene glycol, glyceryl polyacrylate, polysorbate 80, VP/eicosene copolymer, cetearyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, adenosine, disodium EDTA, sodium hyaluronate, allantoin, caviar extract
Notable ingredients: I find it really disappointing when I get a product because of its star ingredient, only to suspect that the star ingredient is probably so far below the 1% line that it probably doesn’t even remember what the 1% line looks like. That’s not the case with the Haishen 80 cream. Sea cucumber extract makes up a whopping 80% of this product. Of course, that could still conceal an extract in which the concentration of sea cucumber is really low, but it’s promising.
What does sea cucumber extract actually do when you put it on your skin, though?
Either there isn’t much research available on the topic (a very likely scenario) or I’m really bad at Googling for studies (also very likely), because I couldn’t find much information. I did come across an article about sea cucumber peptides’ potential usefulness in future anti-aging treatments, but that isn’t particularly relevant, since the peptides’ effect on collagen behavior has yet to be properly studied and exploited. Sea cucumbers may contain notable quantities of antioxidants when ingested, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those antioxidants will be effective when applied topically. I did find one intriguing (and, oh look at that, Korean) study that demonstrated sea cucumber extract’s ability to inhibit melanin production, so that’s promising. All in all, though, sea cucumber extract, like so many other fun and interesting skincare ingredients, is nowhere close to proven. That doesn’t mean I won’t try it, though! It just means I’m glad the Haishen 80 cream also contains niacinamide and adenosine, among other beneficial ingredients.
It also contains swiftlet nest extract, more commonly known as bird’s nest. Bird’s nest is a highly nourishing and consistently popular skincare ingredient that I talked about a bit in my review of the SNP Bird’s Nest Aqua Ampoule sheet mask. For me, it’s a shame that the Haishen 80 cream contains bird’s nest. As I mentioned in my review of some 2015 My Beauty Diary masks, I’m not comfortable with the ecological impact of swiftlet nest harvesting. You may feel differently, of course, and that’s totally valid and totally up to you. In case you do, I’m going to take a look at how the product performs without letting my personal feelings about bird’s nest bias my review.
If you were expecting a thick, rich, creamy cream based on the name of the product, you might be a little surprised when you unscrew the (shiny, shiny, shiny) brushed-aluminum lid. The Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream is actually a semitranslucent gel cream.
It has a moderately strong, gender-neutral “marine” fragrance that takes about 5-10 minutes to dissipate, and it feels luxurious, eerily smooth, when spread over my skin. In fact, Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream feels far richer and more moisturizing than any gel moisturizer I’ve ever tried, despite its lack of oils. And it is extremely hydrating. As always, I used my digital skin analyzer to take some data during my testing period. My readings were startling. When applied to bare skin, the Haishen 80 cream raised my water level by an average of 23%. That’s almost as much as my favorite hydrating toner. As a part of my complete skincare routine, meanwhile, Haishen 80 sea cucumber cream consistently topped up my skin’s water levels to 55% and above. When we’d first discussed this product, Janet had told me how hydrating she’d found the product, but hearing about it is nothing compared to actually experiencing it.
Thing is, Janet told me something else that I also didn’t fully understand until I experienced it: the stickiness.
Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream dries to a very sticky finish. I’ve used a lot of sticky products in my day–it’s kind of inevitable when you love honey products as much as I do–but I’ve never encountered anything as sticky as this. Reducing the amount I used helped a little bit, as did time (~40 minutes or so) and lots and lots of patting, but ultimately, this is just a very sticky product. Maybe it’s the sea cucumber extract. Sea cucumbers do look like they’d be made of stickiness.
The stickiness isn’t the only flaw I found in the Haishen 80 cream. It is, as I mentioned, incredibly hydrating. What it is not is particularly occlusive. When I didn’t seal all that hydration in with a heavier final step product, such as a sleeping pack or a really emollient and non-drying sunscreen, I found that my skin’s hydration levels would drop significantly over the course of the day or night. In fact, I’d end up losing over half the hydration I’d gained. This probably won’t be a problem for people with oily skin or who live in very humid climates, but I have Tretface and live in an often arid environment, so I do need to seal in the juiciness.
So Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream is insanely sticky and, though hydrating, doesn’t lock in moisture particularly well. Do I hate it? No, not at all! In fact, I ended up sticking with ithuehuehue for quite a while after my testing period ended, because I’ve also never used any product that tightens and firms my skin quite as much as this one does. All through the testing period, I woke up with very very smooth and very very firm skin. The slightly looser areas around my nasolabial folds looked toned up, and developing expression lines were toned down or erased completely. It was like getting a touch of Botox from the most skilled and careful of Botoxers.
To test whether the Haishen 80 was really responsible for this effect, I switched between it and various other creams over the course of several nights. My results were pretty conclusive. Using Haishen 80 gave me an ultra-tightened look that no other moisturizer could match. That makes the stickiness and the lack of occlusiveness worth it, at least for me. And putting another product over the Haishen 80 sea cucumber cream eliminates the stickiness, too.
Conclusion: The bird’s nest issue made it hard for me to rate this product objectively. On the other hand, it also helped me clarify my real feelings about the Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream: I’m actually pretty sad that I won’t be buying more. Yes, it’s sticky as hell. Yes, the need for an additional occlusive moisturizer on top of it is irritating. But at the end of the day, this product gave me dramatic results. If it weren’t for those poor swiftlets and their poor little nests, I would definitely get more of this when it runs out.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.
Where can I buy Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream?
I received my Haishen 80 Sea Cucumber Nutritive Fresh Cream from BeautyKorea Mall, where an 80g jar is $27 USD.
Have you used any products with sea cucumber in them? What did you think?
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