[ disclaimer: products received for review purposes. all opinions are my own & unbiased. contains affiliate links ]
Swanicoco is a South Korean cosmetics company that began making naturally fermented soaps back in 2005. They have been producing eco-friendly skincare, makeup and body care products, using their trademarked anti-aging fermentation process. Swanicoco uses organic herbal and botanticals from all over the world ~ Korea, Europe, Australia and United States, and these ingredients are selected to create their products, which range from Pore Care to Anti-Aging Care lines. The brand name combines elegance ~ swan ~ with natural botanical ingredients ~ coco.
I received several items from Swanicoco, tailored to my skin type and my issues. Many thanks to Kevin, who patiently worked with me to come up with a routine and answering all of my questions. I started using several of the products right away and I have already reviewed some Swanicoco products (click here). This review will focus on three products that I felt went together and were perfect watery skincare items to start out with. This is a nice, picture heavy review ~ grab a cup of tea/coffee or other beverage, Scooby Snacks and settle in!
Skin Type/Concerns: Oily, blemish prone skin with aging concerns ~ fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, hyper-pigmentation
The Bio Therapy 1st Essence ~ I wrote up some information on essences and the difference between a first essence and a regular essence in the past at my blog, so I will repeat it here (as it is good stuff!) There are two types of essences ~ the first type is a traditional essence ~ it is thicker than water and is used somewhere between the toner and moisturizer steps. These essences are pretty much interchangeable with serums. Swanicoco The Bio Therapy 1st Essence is not that type of essence but belongs to a category called First Essence, Treatment Essence and/or Treatment Toners ~ these are very watery concentrated formulas, very nutrient-enriched and it preps your skin, while providing benefits that will help reduce/prevent fine lines and wrinkles, dull and uneven skin tones. These are boosters and provide an instant shot of hydration and nutrients to your skin and prep your skin to accept your other skincare products.
Some of the more famous (but I have never used) first essences are SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and Missha impossible long name Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence. I personally have used Goodal Waterest Tone Up First Essence and I love it, but that formula is discontinued, so I am on the hunt for another First Essence.
This product claims that it is hypoallergenic, provides deep moisturization while providing nutrition, manages skin elasticity, pore care and will smooth your skin’s texture.
Ingredients of Note: There aren’t a lot of ingredients in here!!
The star ingredient is bifida ferment lysate, which is being used in skincare more often and the claims are that it works as a DNA repair agent when applied to your skin, although there is no study to prove those specific claims ~ however there is a study about it helping with skin sensitivity (study). Bifida lysate is the fermented result of bifida and it should help revitalize skin so it is clear and radiant, increase hydration and prevent dehydrated, rough skin. It should also firm and restore elasticity to your skin while strengthening your skin barrier to help prevent damage from environmental factors. According to Swanicoco’s press information, this nutrient filled fermentation broth is made by the first and second cultivation and then made through various processes where only a small amount is harvested. Although 1st Essence is made up of 99% of bifida ferment lysate, in the manufacturing process, they have added trace amounts of butylene glycol, 1,2-hexanediol and ethylhexlglycerin.
It also contains allantoin, which moisturizes, exfoliates and softens skin, making it look smooth and refined, while reducing and relieving irritation
Ingredients: Bifida Ferment Lysate (99%), Butylene Glycol, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum cosDNA analysis
This comes in a tall 100 mL glass bottle which is just a beautiful ruby-red in color. It has a lot of weight and heft to it and is capped off by a bright silver twist off lid. The opening is a pin hole and you just either put a cotton pad to the opening, tip the bottle over to dispense and swipe the pad over your face or tip the liquid into your hand and then pat onto your face. I use the latter method but either way is fine. The essence has no scent and it is watery, but has a bit of viscosity ~ not a lot, but it isn’t as watery as some other first essences I have used. This absorbs quickly into my skin, leaving no sticky or greasy residue and my skin feels refreshed, hydrated and ready for my next skincare products! For those interested, this is mildly acidic as it has a pH level of around 6.
On average, this product increased my skin’s moisture level by about 28% which is pretty good for a fast absorbing watery product.
Skin Expert One Step Plant Original Pure Ampoule ~ The packaging alone looks impressive, doesn’t it? My ampoule came in this bright red box with a satin interior. The bottle has an ombré effect, as it shades from silver to light red to the deep ruby red color and there is the lovely Swanicoco botanical logo on the front of the bottle. This looks to be a huge and heavy bottle, but in fact, it only contains 40 mL of product and the bottle is a hard plastic, so the bottle is light and not heavy. And pretty much unbreakable, as I have dropped it several times on the floor! At any rate, the bottle is stunning and Swanicoco has several of their ampoules in similar packaging. Plant Original Pure Ampoule has the claims that it will improve your skin texture and provide nutrition and elasticity while not irritating your skin. It will help revitalize your skin, strengthen your skin barrier and will soothe and reduce redness.
Ingredients of Note: This is another product that has just a few ingredients and they are non-irritating.
Tissue Cultured Wild Ginseng Extract ~ Okay, I know what ginseng does as an anti-aging ingredient ~ Ginseng contains saponin, also known as ginsenosides and this compound has had numerous studies that show it is effective as a anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, anti inflammatory and brightening ingredient and can aid in the production of collagen. It helps increase elasticity, improves blood circulation to your skin and also is a superb moisturizer. Ginsenosides are compounds only found in ginseng and are an excellence source of anti-oxidants. Ginseng protects your skin from free radicals and their damage, increases the elasticity of your skin, improves skins texture and helps reduce blemishes and other skin issues.
But what is Tissue Cultured wild ginseng? According to Swanicoco, using the raw material of wild ginseng, they use culture technology to separate the tissues. Tissue cultured wild ginseng has the same DNA sequence as naturally grown ginseng, and they have the same benefits. This cultivation technology was patented in the Japan and the United States and it divides the roots of 100 year old ginseng into cell cultures to produce new roots, growing them in an incubator. As natural wild ginseng has a low growth rate, weak fertility and needs optimal growing environmental conditions, this technology allows cosmetic companies to produce ginseng at affordable prices. This ampoule contains 99% of tissue cultured wild ginseng.
The remaining 1% of the ingredients includes allantoin, which moisturizes, exfoliates and softens skin, making it look smooth and refined, while reducing and relieving irritation. Arginine is a natural amino acid that is derived from various plant sources, such as wheat germ, oatmeal, nuts, seeds ~ and provides hydration and is also an antioxidant that aids with collagen production. Vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) is a powerful antioxidant and will help improve your skin’s firmness and keeps your skin moist and hydrated.
Ingredients: Tissue Cultured Wild Ginseng Extract (99%), Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Arginine, Allantoin cosDNA analysis
I originally thought that this would be a pump applicator but it turns out it is an eye drop applicator and you use the silver button on the top of the bottle and press down. That will draw up the ampoule into the dropper and then you twist off and remove the applicator to apply to your skin. I have to say, I do like the concept but I hate how it works. I can never get more than 1/2 an eye dropper full of this ampoule and I need a full dropper for my big face. So, marks off for the fussy applicator.
The ampoule itself is very smooth, very slick in its texture and it has a yellowish cast to it. It is watery, but thicker than the 1st Essence product ~ however, it will run and drip if you do not tap it into your skin. This feels wonderful on the skin ~ hydrating and my skin feels soft and smooth, also cool to the touch. It doesn’t leave a sticky or oily residue and dries down quickly. Best part of this ampoule? It actually smells like ginseng ~ this is a very strong scent, so if you don’t like hanbang, you won’t like this one. This increases the moisture level on my skin by about 23%.
I am not sure WHY I like this ampoule so much, as other than moisturizing, I am not seeing any other benefits. I think it is the packaging and the scent!
Revol Ampoule Matrick: Anti-Wrinkle The fact that I will post naked photos of my actual eye wrinkles, tells you that I am damn serious about doing something about them. It might come down to professional peels, but I am holding off that day for a few more years. I pestered Kevin at Swanicoco about eye creams and instead, he recommended this ampoule which is specifically designed for fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. There are a couple of Revol Ampoule Matrick products ~ make sure you choose the Anti-Wrinkle and not the Brightening one if you want this one. This ampoule will provide the skin with nutrients and anti-aging benefits, help improve the skin’s elasticity, while moisturizing and bringing a vitality and glow back to your skin. This product has had clinical trials and Swanicoco used women between the ages of 30 and 60 years of age for 4 weeks ~ they found that there was an 6.6% wrinkle improvement rate on average.
I roughly translated the description of this product and came up with the following ~ This is a solution for skin that has lost vitality and elasticity. It uses BioTechnology grafting, which combines existing natural raw materials with the biotechnology of Swanicoco, which will increase the nutrition and help improve skin issues more rapidly. This will improve your skin and reduce wrinkles by supplying nutrition using gentle and non-irritating ingredients. It contains collagen which will strengthen the skin elasticity and skin texture, while invigorating the skin layer. Protein peptides are effective for skin improvement and elasticity management and will strengthen the skin barrier function.
Ingredients of Note: This product actually has an impressive and long list of ingredients, but I will highlight a few here.
This has a trio of collagen, including the first ingredient of marine based hydrolyzed collagen and then soluble collagen and collagen amino acids. Collagen is a protein that is made up of amino acids (arginine, proline, hydroxyproline, glycine just to name a few ~ they contain a lot more) and helps retain and reduce water loss by creating a protective barrier on top of your skin. This helps keep your skin soft and smooth looking.
Oleanolic acid (triterpene) is derived from olive leaves and has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits. It soothes the skin, while helping to reduce swelling and redness, while supporting skin elasticity as it inhibits elastase, an enzyme that breaks down proteins and elastin. Allantoin moisturizes, exfoliates and softens skin, making it look smooth and refined, while reducing and relieving irritation. Adenosine is yeast derived and has anti-aging, anti-wrinkle and anti-inflammatory properties. Grifola frondosa fruiting body extract really had me wondering what this was ~ fruiting body, alias sporocarp , is actually where the spores are in a mushroom and this is from the maitake (grifola frondosa), which is a medicinal mushroom. It contains beta-glucan which moisturizes and soothes your skin.
There are four anti-aging peptides, something that is perfect for the thinner and more delicate skin under and around your eyes ~ Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38 is an anti-wrinkle and anti-aging peptide derived from amino acids and will penetrate deep into your skin layers to help stimulate and aid in the production of collagen; Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, which helps bind water to your skin, helps regenerate skin cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; Copper Tripeptide-1 aids in the production of glycosaminoglycans which help support and maintain the production of collagen and elastin, making your skin firm and retain moisture; rh-Oligopeptide-2 ~ this is a new one to me ~ it is a CG-IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1) and will “reduce and prevent lines and wrinkles by actively generating new skin cells and increases collagen and elastic levels and reduces blotchiness [discoloration]” (source)
Ingredients: Hydrolyzed Collagen, Water, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Butylene Glycol, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract, Oleanolic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, Soluble Collagen, Collagen Amino Acids, Copper Tripeptide-1, rh-Oligopeptide-2,Grifola Frondosa Fruiting Body Extract, Maltodextrin, Pentylene Glycol, Allantoin, Adenosine, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Arginine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin cosDNA analysis
The texture is gel-like but is quite watery ~ I know, that doesn’t make sense, but think of jello before it sets. This does contain rose extract in it and even the description states it smells like roses ~ however, the rose oil is at the end of a long ingredient list and the only scent I can pick on is the faint plastic smell from the tube applicator! I did spot test it and I had no reaction, so I used it ~ and with what I feel are the beginning of great results. After applying, this ampoule gives my skin a high gloss to it, but when I apply an eye cream over it, it absorbs that and my skin longer has that glossy sheen. I think that gloss is coming from all of the collagen in the product. I will say this, when I first started to use it, I immediately noticed that the puffiness around my eyes just deflated ~ I could actually see the skin being “sucked” in ~ think of trying to zip up those summer pants after a long winter and you are sucking in your stomach. Right there, I see the firming and the elasticity claims. This increases my moisture level by about 22%, which I expect from a product that is packed with collagen. I think this is more of an anti-aging product than a hydrating one.
Photos ~ I will update this blog post every time I finish an ampoule. These photos are without any skin care products on my face. I am trying to keep it on the same eye, with a resting position and then a smiling one, so you can see the
wrinkles laugh lines. You should be looking at the fine lines and wrinkles under my eyes and at the corner of my eyes. All those years of not wearing sunglasses and sunscreen in the hot, bright Los Angeles sun has taken its toll.
After 1 ampoule: 03-24-2017
Hmm, it is hard to tell as I obviously don’t have the “same” angle as the original photos, but a little softening, maybe? What do you think?
How To Use
This isn’t so much as how to use, but how to prepare each new ampoule! There are 4 x 10 mL brown colored glass ampoules and each one is sealed with a plastic cap, a metal collar and then an inner grey rubber cap. For me, each ampoule seems to last me a little over a month as I am using it around my eye area. To get your ampoule ready, pull up on the clear plastic cap, that should pull part of the metal collar up and remove a section. You can then pull the metal collar off the bottle now and then pop off the inner rubber cap.
Place the clear rubber applicator on top of the bottle, it should fit snugly and then you can just tip the bottle and the serum will slide to the top of the applicator. I squeeze the rubber applicator to get the product out. Once you are done applying it, just place the white tip cover on the rubber applicator.
I have not done this tip yet, but Swanicoco recommends using their hydrogels and this ampoule together to increase absorption and benefits of the Matrick product. You can also apply the eye patches on other parts of your face, such as your smile lines too. Apply Revol Ampoule Matrick to your skin first and then apply the patch over it. Now, I don’t have Swanicoco’s hydrogels, which are on my wish list, but I have other hydrogels and I will give this a try and see how that performs.
These are good, solid hydrating and moisturizing products that aren’t irritating to my skin. If you have sensitive skin or want to have products with less ingredients, both the 1st Essence and Original Ampoule would be great choices for you! The claims of adding moisture and hydration are true and as far as elasticity, my skin does feel more toned and healthy. That said, these products will not be brightening ones, so if you are looking for that, Swanicoco does make skincare specifically for brightening and evening out the skin tone. I don’t believe that I have any targeted brightening products from Swanicoco ~ hmm, I will have to ask Kevin what he recommends! I would purchase The Bio Therapy 1st Essence but I am interested in trying out many of the different types of ampoules, so I will reserve judgement on whether I would purchase the Plant Stem Cell Pure Original Ampoule ~ they would also have to redesign that applicator as it is too fiddly for me.
The Revol Ampoule Matrick ~ I am really interested in seeing what will happen when I finish all 4 bottles. I do have an immediate firming of my skin around my eyes, even though currently that is just temporary It takes me about a month to get thru one 10 mL bottle, so I am hoping to update this in April, May and then end of June for the final result! This is one of the more expensive items in the Swanicoco line, so I really want to test it thoroughly before giving a final verdict.
Have you tried any Swanicoco products? Which ones and what did you think about them? Let me know in the comments below as I would love to read your thoughts!
Where to Purchase
Currently, YesStyle is the authorized retailer and they do ship internationally. They carry a huge line of Swanicoco ~ not just the skincare lines, but body and makeup lines as well.
- Swanicoco Products
What is Next
As the months are slowly transitioning from cold and dry winter weather to not-as-cold-but-still-cool and very damp spring weather, I am going to try a couple of products that were not only supplied to me, but I also purchased a few Swanicoco items myself. I am going to start with the PHA 10% Soft Coco Peeling Cream, as that is a night time product and the Neofinetia Falcata Callus Pure Ampoule as well as some masks. I will also continue to use The Bio Therapy 1st Essence, Plant Stem Cell Pure Original Ampoule and Revol Ampoule Matrick: Anti-Wrinkle and I will update this blog post every time I finish a Matrick ampoule with new photos of my eye wrinkles. I still have the AC Control Care line to try after that but I am saving those for the real test of using it during the hot, muggy Boston summer that will be here soon.
[ disclaimer: products received for review purposes. all opinions are my own & unbiased. contains affiliate links]