Reviews: Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream and Perfecting Cushion Intense

Today I unboxed and arm swatched eleven different sunscreens. Summer is coming to my part of the world, and my part of the world gets serious sun. That means it’s time to get even more serious about sunscreen than before.

Sunscreen arm swatches
This is what people use Snapchat for, right?

I’ve been getting tired of my usual sunscreens, so I thought I lucked out when Sulwhasoo US included the brand’s Age-Veil UV Protection Cream in a box of items for me to try. I didn’t, but I’ll save the ranting for the body of my review.

(While we’re on the topic of Sulwhasoo SPF, I’m going to share my thoughts on the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense as well, but veggies before dessert, so let’s get into this.)

The products featured in this post were provided by a Fifty Shades of Snail sponsor. Affiliate links are marked with an asterisk(*).

Sulwhasoo sunscreen and cushion review
“I’m so disappointed in you,” said the cushion to the sunscreen, sorrowfully.

Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream Review

Finding the right sunscreen can be a challenge. It has to offer adequate UVA and UVB protection, of course, but also play well with your skin, your skincare, your makeup, your budget, and your lifestyle. I’ve been lucky in that the sunscreens that work for me have always been under $20, even with inflated Amazon import pricing. I’ve also always been curious about luxury sunscreens, though. Could a sunscreen from a high-end brand prove more worthy than my Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence or Dr. G Brightening Up Sun?

Purpose: Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream is a sunscreen product approved to protect skin from UV radiation. It also claims to defend against free radical damage in skin.

Best suited for: All skin types.

Do not use if: You are sensitive to the organic (“chemical”) UV filters ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl salicylate, or octocrylene; the fatty alcohols cetyl alcohol or cetearyl alcohol; stearic acid or myristic acid; or anything else in the ingredients list, or if you need a sunscreen with a reliably smooth and non-pilly finish.

When and how to use: Use in the morning as the last step of your skincare routine. After your moisturizer has fully dried down, smooth a generous amount of sunscreen over your entire face using fingers or a cushion puff. Let dry completely (do not touch your face during this time!!!) before applying makeup.

Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cushion active ingredients: Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate 7%, ethylhexyl salicylate 4.5%, octocrylene 8%, titanium dioxide 4.42%, zinc oxide 0.103%

Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream package insert
At Sulwhasoo, even sunscreens get the novel-length package insert treatment.

Inactive ingredients: Water, butylene glycol, C12-15 alkyl benozate, cyclopentasiloxane, phenyl trimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) root extract, machilus thunbergii bark extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, panax ginseng root extract, nelumbo nucifera seed extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, lilium tigrinum flower/leaf/stem extract, rehmannia glutinosa root extract, polygonatum officinale rhizome/root extract, chrysanthemum morifolium flower extract, citrus unshiu peel extract, coix lachryma-jobi ma-yuen seed extract, adenophora stricta root extract, ophiopogon japonicus root extract, honey, lycium chinense root extract, paeonia suffruticosa root extract, beta-glucan, angelica tenuissima root extract, natto gum, methoxy PEG-114/polyepsilon caprolactone, hydroxypropyl bispalmitamide MEA, 1,2-hexanediol, propanediol, ethylhexylglycerin, aluminum stearate, polyhydroxystearic acid, PEG-40 stearate, glycerin, alumina, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, polyacrylate-13, stearic acid, silica, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, carbomer, dimethicone, triethoxycaprylylsilane, xanthan gum, polyisobutene, myristic acid, polymethyl methacrylate, PEG-100 stearate, stearyl behenate, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, polysorbate 20, glyceryl stearate, inulin lauryl carbamate, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance

CosDNA analysis

Notable ingredients: The Age-Veil UV Protection Cream is a combination organic/inorganic sunscreen, meaning that it uses a mix of the inorganic (“physical”) filters zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and the organic filters ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl salicylate, and octocrylene. If you’re confused about the differences between the filters or want to know why I’ve put quotation marks around “chemical” and “physical,” check out Kind of Stephen’s explanation.

For the purposes of this review, I’ll just say that unless they don’t agree with your skin, those “chemical” (organic) filters aren’t inferior to “physical” ones. Personally, I strongly prefer organic filters to inorganic due to their generally superior cosmetic elegance. Basically, little to no white cast, and less risk of a thick, greasy, clown paint consistency.

Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream bottle
Speaking of elegance, even the backside of the tube is elegant.

In my opinion, sunscreen is not the place to look for “natural” products without “chemicals” anyway. Sunscreen is the place to look for lab-tested, quantifiable, reliable UV protection. We’re not just trying to dodge sagging and wrinkles here. We’re talking about products that can substantially reduce the risk of potentially fatal cancers.

Although that’s not to say there aren’t tantalizing botanicals in the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream. This is Sulwhasoo. Of course there are.

The Age-Veil UV Protection Cream contains a number of herbal extracts with potential skin-brightening, anti-aging, and moisturizing properties; the package insert highlights their antioxidant powers.

I wouldn’t expect less. One of Sulwhasoo’s great strengths is the brand’s ability to tell a consistent story across all its products, using everything from packaging and marketing copy to fragrance and even formulation. The Sulwhasoo brand story features hanbang herbal approaches to skincare, so of course hanbang herbs are present here.

As nice as the herbs sound and as much as I like putting them on my face, however, I wouldn’t consider them a main feature of this sunscreen. The purpose of a sunscreen is to protect from the sun, so its UV filters and the sunscreen base that binds those filters uniformly to skin take priority. Anything else, like fun extracts, has to fit into what little formulation room is left over. I expect that’s not much.

So forget about the hanbang for now. In evaluating whether this sunscreen is worth a shot or worth its price, we have to evaluate its performance as a sunscreen.


The first time I used the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream, I was amazed. In fact, I thought I’d found the sunscreen of my dreams (as long as you don’t factor in the price).

Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream review
Not just because it’s so pretty, either.

Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream is a silky-smooth white cream of medium thickness, easy to spread but not so thin that it becomes runny, housed in a slender tube with a very thin nozzle that enables neat, precise dispensing. When first applied, the sunscreen has a light ginsengy fragrance. The fragrance fades quickly, however, leaving the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream smelling pleasantly like…sunscreen.

The first time I used it was magical. The product dried down perfectly clear without a hint of white cast and created an incredibly smooth surface for makeup. I’d say its finish works even better as primer than the Shiseido SENKA Mineral Water UV Essence that I generally consider the best for that purpose. Neither matte nor shiny, completely free of oily or sticky residue, this sunscreen really seemed perfect.

But in the many times I’ve attempted to use this sunscreen again since that first encounter, I’ve never been able to replicate that initial perfection. Instead, what I get is something far short of perfection. Here, let me take you through my usual experience with the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream.

I squeeze some out of the tube:

Sulwhasoo sunscreen review

Then I spread it out as evenly as I can:

Fifty Shades of Snail Sulwhasoo sunscreen

Then I wait and hope that it dries down smooth and clear, like that first time I used it. Instead, pretty much every time, I get this:

Sulwhasoo sunscreen pilling

This sunscreen pills like crazy.

I have tried a ton of sunscreens, many of which weren’t very good, but I’ve never seen anything like this before in my AB life. Basically, the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream is so prone to pilling that all you have to do is look at it the wrong way, and it’ll start lifting off of your skin in little white balls and flakes.

I suspect this enormous flaw is inextricably connected to the sunscreen’s biggest strength. The reason the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream creates such a smooth surface (a veil, if you will) when successfully applied is that it forms a very strong film over skin. It also begins setting into that film extremely quickly–much more quickly than I can even finish applying it to my face.

Unfortunately, if you touch it at all anytime after it has begun to set but before the film has fully solidified, the whole thing breaks down. And once it starts pilling, anything you do to try to fix it will set off even more pilling, until eventually you’re red-faced in front of the mirror, furiously attacking your face with a fluffy makeup brush in an attempt to somehow get all those white things off without ruining your makeup or having to wash your face and start over, and that is freaking unacceptable in my morning and probably yours.

I’ve talked about this sunscreen with a couple of my fellow Sulwhasoo fans. I’m not the only one who’s experienced this–it’s our consensus that this is one pilly sunscreen.

There’s only one way to get this incomparably smooth, clear finish:

Sulwhasoo sunscreen dried

You have to apply this sunscreen very very quickly yet somehow also very very evenly. Areas applied more thickly than others tend to pill more. Also, you have to do it in one shot. The extreme speed at which the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream starts setting means that if you realize you’ve missed a spot and try to go back over it with more product, even if it’s just a few seconds later, touching the not-yet-dried sunscreen will cause it to pill.

By the way, applying with cushion puff doesn’t really reduce the chances of pilling much, so don’t think that’s going to be your solution. That would be too easy.

The only way I’ve found to reduce the pilling is to apply much less product than usual. Unfortunately, applying too little sunscreen will result in too little effective SPF, especially since the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream is only SPF 30 to begin with. Not a lot of wiggle room here for using less than the full 2mg/cm2 (around 1/4 tsp for face alone) amount without totally compromising your protection.

Some sunscreens pill when used over moisturizers or under makeup products with incompatible bases–oil-based under water-based or vice versa are common examples. The Age-Veil UV Protection Cream does it to me no matter what. I’ve used it over a bare face. (Side note: It provides a moderate level of moisturization and actually works out well, moisture-wise, as a final step when I use it without other skincare, so that’s a plus.) I’ve used it over emulsions, gels, and creams of various bases. It doesn’t matter.

This is a sunscreen that wishes it were a gommage peel and hasn’t yet learned that there are limits to the belief that anyone can be anything they want to be as long as they try hard enough.

Conclusion: No.

I’m bummed about this sunscreen for many reasons. The biggest one is that the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream really could have been great. That amazing finish and total lack of white cast, guys! Those sexy extracts! Instead, it’s simply too challenging to rely on as a daily sunscreen. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect anyone to smooth it on perfectly in one shot every single time and then manage to not accidentally touch it a second too soon. And the consequences of imperfect application are disastrous, especially on busy mornings.

Rating: 1.5/5

1 – This has severe flaws or failed at its one primary job.

2 – Caused me some problems or doesn’t work very well; would not buy again.

3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.

4 – Pretty good. Worth rebuying.

5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.

The other reason I’m so bummed about the Age-Veil UV Protection Cream not working out is that I’d hoped it would be my perfect base for a makeup product that I actually do consider a nearly perfect base: the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense.

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense review

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense Mini-Review

Now this is a product I can get behind!

Provided by the brand in the same shipment as that ill-fated sunscreen, the Perfecting Cushion Intense also impressed me at my first use, except with the cushion, I suffered no disillusionment later. In fact, I now use it nearly every day that I use any base makeup at all–it’s totally supplanted Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint as my preferred foundation. Here’s why:

No but seriously, though:

  • The Perfecting Cushion Intense provides more coverage than most cushions. It’s almost medium coverage at one layer and buildable to two or three layers without caking on me. While I typically apply it with a very light hand or use Snow White and the Asian Pear’s trick of misting the cushion puff to sheer out the product for a lighter and more dewy finish, I love having the option of fuller coverage. It allows me to choose between natural and polished in a single compact.
  • The Perfecting Cushion Intense is one of the only cushions I’ve tried that not only claims to moisturize (well, “replenish” according to the package insert) but actually does. It’s no substitute for a moisturizer (and absolutely not a substitute for sunscreen, because no makeup is), but it delivers a noticeable and lasting layer of moisture that can make the difference between slightly dry skin and fully comfortable skin.
  • The emollient moisturizing properties of the Perfecting Cushion Intense keep it from settling into my fine lines and Areas of Decreased Firmness. I’ve accidentally gotten it onto my undereyes, an area I generally avoid putting makeup on out of fear of emphasizing lines there, and had no issues.
  • The Perfecting Cushion Intense’s satin finish delivers radiance without shine.
  • When I use the Perfecting Cushion Intense, I hardly ever need to touch up my makeup during the day. The coverage stays put and the makeup doesn’t break up or get cakey, although I do usually experience some breakthrough shine around my nose at about the six-hour mark.

Finally, a less relevant-to-you reason I love this cushion: the No. 21 shade that Sulwhasoo US sent me is the most perfect match I’ve used. The shade name is “Medium Pink,” but I find it actually leans a little more yellow, a little less pink or gray, than many of my BB creams and cushions. It’s a tad darker than most K-beauty 21s, which will let me get more use out of it during the summer.

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense no 21 swatch
From left to right: Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense no. 21, Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream (single shade), Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint (Light).

The Perfecting Cushion Intense makeup smells ever so slightly herbal (of course) in a soft and powdery way. I find the scent a little mature, but that makes sense, since this cushion is marketed as anti-aging makeup. The scent goes away after a minute on the face, anyway.

The compact and the extra refill come packaged as you’d expect a Sulwhasoo cushion would be. Luxuriously.

After about a month and a half of almost-daily use, I just cracked open my refill. I’m really enjoying this cushion and can see myself investing in it again once I run out.

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense no. 21 active ingredients: Octinoxate 7%, titanium dioxide 4.15%, zinc oxide 9.8%

Please note that although this product is labeled as SPF 50+, you should not rely on it as your sole sunscreen product unless you’re applying about a quarter of the entire compact every day.

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense no 21 ingredients

Inactive ingredients: Water, cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, phenyl trimethicone, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), butylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, PEG-10 dimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, niacinamide, trehalose, lauryl PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, butylene glycol, acrylates/ethylhexyl acrylate/dimethicone methacrylate copolymer, propanediol, glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) root extract, trimethylsiloxysilicate, iron oxides (CI 77491), aluminum hydroxide, lilium candidum bulb extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, rehmannia glutinosa root extract, nelumbo nucifera flower extract, polygonatum officinale rhizome/root extract, sodium chloride, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, stearic acid, triethoxycaprylylsilane, iron oxides (CI 77491), disteardimonium hectorite, hydrogenated castor oil, polysorbate 80, honey, hydrogenated lecithin, beeswax, ethylhexylglycerin, iron oxides (CI 77499), adenosine, methoxy PEG-114/polyepsilon caprolactone, copernica cerifera (carnauba) wax, pinus sylvestris leaf extract, prunus mume flower extract, mica (CI 77019), tin oxide

CosDNA analysis

I haven’t highlighted any particular ingredients in this product because it is first and foremost a makeup product. Just like with sunscreen, benefits that are not the product’s primary function shouldn’t be your primary expectation. The ingredients needed to make this cushion function properly as a makeup product–and the preservatives needed to keep the product free of contamination in the cushion makeup format–are not going to leave much space for skincare-like effects. That’s okay. It’s an excellent makeup product for me; I don’t expect anything else from it.

Conclusion: No bummer here besides the luxury pricing. As long as I can afford to, I’ll be happy to buy myself the Perfecting Cushion Intense. A great match in a great foundation product is hard to come by, and I don’t have the patience for an extended search. I have other base makeup that I like, but none that are as well suited for me or as versatile as this one. Winner!

Rating: 4.5/5

1 – This has severe flaws or failed at its one primary job.

2 – Caused me some problems or doesn’t work very well; would not buy again.

3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.

4 – Pretty good. Worth rebuying.

5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.

Where can I buy Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Intense?

I received my Perfecting Cushion Intense from Sulwhasoo US*. If you choose to purchase it from the brand’s website, check the Sulwhasoo codes in the Coupon Codes & Special Gifts section in my right sidebar first! They have created a special coupon code for Fifty Shades of Snail readers, and the gift the coupon gets you changes regularly.

Still looking for a sunscreen to try? Check out my other sunscreen reviews.


14 thoughts on “Reviews: Sulwhasoo Age-Veil UV Protection Cream and Perfecting Cushion Intense

  1. That’s disappointing about the Sulwhasoo sunscreen. I had tried a couple samples and really liked it and had been considering buying a full size…but now I’m a hesitant. Should probably try a few more samples to be sure.
    I so wish the perfecting cushion was less expensive, but spending $80 on it when the Laneige one works perfectly fine for $34…ouch.


    1. I was super bummed about the sunscreen! (My wallet not so bummed.) I wonder if it would respond differently on your skin, since I’ve had good results with some sunscreens other people complain of pilling with, but it’s a hell of an investment to take, isn’t it 😦


  2. I am always excited to discover a Sulwhasoo product that doesn’t contain olive-derived squalane. I have sampled and loved MANY lovely Sulwhasoo products, hoping the squalane content would be low enough not to trigger my olive allergy, but always ended up with cystic-acne style breakouts. Definitely looking forward to trying the Intense cushion.


    1. I am working on a massive comparison project of those that you’ll see for sure! In the meantime, I can report that both of the A’pieu sunscreens and the Primera have excellent finish without oiliness or white cast…I used one and made each of my boys do the others today 😄


  3. Ack, I totally relate to furiously trying to brush off little white pills in the morning. Sometimes I end up just wiping my face with a wet cotton pad to start over from scratch. Sigh. It’s like, Did ANYONE at the company try using this?! Just one of the reasons I’m psyched to have the chance to make my own sunscreen balls (I said BALLS!! 🤣). -Angela


  4. Hi! I’m using the men UV protector from Sulwhasoo and it’s perfect. No pilling, easy to use… and cheaper than the other versions! In fact all the men’s line is quite good and not so expensive as the ‘female’ products. I’ve discovered them thanks to your blog 🙂


  5. Hello! I wanted to ask, is there any way to know if you’re applying sunscreen correctly before you start getting sun spots, and should I be applying sunscreen to just my face or to all exposed skin? Is my sunscreen (kose sekkisei sun protect essence gel) okay for equator-levels of sun exposure? Thank u!!


  6. Long time lurker here I have to share my SPF HG – PCA Skin Weightless Protection SPF45. It feels awesome, not greasy, mostly mineral, no white cast, no irritation at all (most sunscreens irritate me), lightly moisturizing, no odd texture or smell. On my 4th tube.


  7. Hi,

    How are you doing today?

    I never heard back from you, so I wanted to follow up today and find out if you got a chance to review my previous proposal.

    I hope you don’t find this outreach pushy, I was simply wondering if you would be interested in trying out our products and possibly sharing your experience with your audience.

    As someone who is constantly reaching out to prospects,
    I think you’re the perfect person to review our products and provide an honest feedback.

    Hopefully, this is something you can consider.

    I am really looking forward to hearing from you


    Alec Ndolo,

    Partner Relationhip Manager,

    Mediderm Skin Care”


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