Note from Fiddy: Today’s post is brought to you by my friend Karen. Karen recently visited the Sulwhasoo Beauty Lounge in Hong Kong, and I wanted to share her experience. Enjoy!
Hi hi! I’m Karen, otherwise known as @skin_karen on Instagram. I recently received a facial treatment at a Sulwhasoo Spa in Hong Kong, and Jude thought it would be cool for me to write about my experience!
Sulwhasoo has Spas and Beauty Lounges. Spas have full body treatments as well as facial treatments. Beauty Lounges have facial treatments only, although there is an option for stomach treatment add-ons during your facial. There are two Spas and two Beauty Lounges in Hong Kong. I went to the Sulwhasoo Beauty Lounge in Times Square, Causeway Bay. Since I went to a Beauty Lounge, I will talk about that experience. Note that since this was in Hong Kong, the estheticians speak Cantonese. I have the advantage of speaking and understanding Cantonese, so I was able to ask questions. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do this in Korea.
There’s really no way to book online, and at the location I went to, you can’t just go up and make an appointment in person, either. It’s best to have WhatsApp, since that’s how most HKers communicate. There’s a security guard by the elevator to make sure you have an appointment. I ended up emailing customer service, gave them my WhatsApp number, and the Sulwhasoo Beauty Lounge contacted me. I told them what dates worked, they gave me a time, and that’s that! Fairly painless!
I went upstairs to the 15th floor. I actually walked into the Spa first, but they directed me to the Beauty Lounge. Upon arrival, they greeted me, asked for my name, and offered me a beverage. While I sat down and enjoyed my tea, they went over the various facial treatments. I originally wanted to do the Plum Blossom Vitalizing Treatment using their Bloomstay Line. However, I told the estheticians that I had dry skin and have been flying on airplanes, so we decided to go with the Ginseng Rejuvenating Treatment.
The esthetician, we’ll call her H, led me to the room, helped me change my shoes to slippers, gave me a robe, and showed me the closet and the sink, where I could refresh myself after the treatment. H left me to change. When I was ready, she helped me onto the bed (it was heated ) and got started.
H started with the first cleanse, using the Gentle Cleansing Oil. It was already so relaxing as soon as she started massaging the product onto my face. She really took her time to massage the product into my face. After removing the oil, she did a second cleanse using the Gentle Cleansing Foam. Again, H really took the time to massage the product onto my face.
After cleansing, H gave me a hand mirror and talked me through my skin. My skin overall was not too bad. My forehead had enlarged pores. My nose had some clogs, and the pores near my nose were also enlarged. Sallow complexion and some redness on the cheeks. My chin area and neck was a little puffy due to water retention.
Before starting, H held some essential oil (Eucalyptus?) and had me take deep breaths in and out. This really helped set the mood. Afterwards, H used the Snowise Brightening Exfoliating Mask and steamed my face.
While waiting, she asked me how I heard about Sulwhasoo and whether I’ve used any of their products. I found out that she’s been with the company for several years now. Anyone Sulwhasoo hires as an esthetician must have had previous experience, and then there’s additional training before they can work with clients.
After removing the exfoliating mask, H worked on doing extractions. This was a pleasant surprise for me, since I wasn’t expecting it. When I got a facial in Korea a few years back they didn’t really do extractions. H was very gentle; I don’t know if it was the product or her, but I barely noticed the extractions. As you can see in the before and after photos, she got rid of a big clog on my nose and removed all the hormonal congestion on my chin without leaving a mark. Following the extractions, H used a high frequency violet ray wand on my face to kill off bacteria.
Next, H applied a lip balm and eye cream before putting on a First Care Activating sheet mask. When I asked why a sheet mask first, H explained to me that it’s the First Care Activating sheet mask, so like the First Care Activating Serum, it helps boost subsequent skincare absorption, usage, and effectiveness. While the sheet mask sat on my face, H used the Radiance Energy Mask (which I’ve personally used and love), mixed with an oil that they only use in the Beauty Lounge, to give me a décolleté and arm massage. Let’s just say I will start incorporating the neck and chest massage into my skincare regimen at least once a week!
Once H was done with the décolleté and removed the sheet mask, she used the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream mixed with Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Facial Oil to give me a facial massage. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at this point. Why is it that a facial always feels better then doing it yourself? I will never wash my face the same way no matter how long I try to stand there and massage the product onto my face.
I managed to wake myself up for H to explain it was time for a second sheet mask. However this time it was going to be sort of DIY. It was some sort of material (I wasn’t too sure what it was in English) with the mouth cut out and a nose slit. As you can see it covers the eyes. Once H applied it to my face, she saturated the mask with the Essential Balancing Water. Whatever the material was, it really hugged the skin. I’ve never felt a sheet mask hug the face so well. While the sheet mask sat on my face, she gave me a heated neck pillow filled with Chinese herbs. The herbs were good for drawing out water. H left the room so I could relax. Again pretty sure I fell asleep.
When H came back in, she removed the mask and then actually gently wiped my face down. Internally I panicked because I thought we were done. I will say that even after wiping my face, my skin felt hydrated. H handed me the mirror and had me look at my face after. My pores were definitely smaller and my nose pores were clear. #whatarenosepores I couldn’t tell much difference in the neck area, but she laughed and told me the swelling had come down. Here’s the before and after so you tell me if you see a difference!
Luckily I internally panicked for no reason. Because H told me it was time finish the rest of the facial. She started off with the First Care Activating Serum, followed by the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Water and Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Emulsion. She finished with the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream and the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream. I will say all these products have a light ginseng scent, but nothing heavy or appalling. H asked if I wanted to apply sunscreen, and since the sun hasn’t set yet, I said yes. She used the Hydro Aid Moisturizing Soothing UV Protection Fluid SPF50+/PA++++.
H thanked me and asked if I wanted tea or water. She then left me to get dressed. When I went to the front, she gave me a cup of tea while the receptionist prepared my receipt. H also gave me a little welcome packet with samples of the products she used on me during the facial.
Cost and final thoughts
The facial was 90 minutes and costs HKD1,200, or around $155.00. However, with the promotion it was HKD960 or around $124. This is comparable to a facial in the San Francisco Bay Area with tip, but when they use all Sulwhasoo product it’s . Also I don’t think most facials are that length for that price. Overall, if you ever have the opportunity and the financial means, I highly recommend treating yourself and getting a facial from Sulwhasoo. I swear, four days and an international flight later, my skin still looks amazing. I definitely would go back in the future.
Thanks for reading! Here’s a stray HK kitty, at Fiddy’s request.
Final note from Fiddy: I still stand by what I said in my very old post about why I don’t get facials, except…I would totally get a Sulwhasoo facial. It wouldn’t involve the risk of having a bunch of unfamiliar products slathered on my face, since apparently they use products I’ve already used and already love. Also I think I need to go get a Sulwhasoo facial.