Review: su:m37 Water-Full Rebalancing Gel Lotion (with translated ingredients list)

Ever since I discovered Korean beauty, I have been lusting after the su:m37 Water-Full Rebalancing Gel Lotion.  It was way out of my budget though, especially considering I had to build an entire routine, so even the cheapest products added up for a 10-step routine.  However, I ran into a great deal last month though, so here it finally is!




The Description:

According to su:m37, this Gel Lotion is meant to go on after the Essence, and followed by the Water Gel Cream or the Moisturizing Cream.  I'm assuming the Gel Cream is meant for daytime and the Moisturizing Cream is a heavier one for night time.  This is kind of surprising, as I always thought the Gel Lotion was meant to stand alone as a light daytime moisturizer.  This might explain why some bloggers have only recommended it for oily or combination skin.

Also, can we just stop and appreciate this list?  Seriously, the cheapest item on here isn't even the sheet masks, but the Refresher, and that's around $45 regular price.  Schmancy stuff.

For more information on the brand, check out my review for the Refresher of this line.

Price: ($$$-$$$$)





A 120 ml bottle goes for around $55, bringing it to around $0.46 per ml.  Tester Korea currently has it for $34, and there are some sets available on HonestSkin and GMarket right now.  I really like the pump on here, because it dispenses very little each time.  My jaw fell reading on some blogs how people would use 3-4 pumps each use, but seriously - I am super stingy and I still need about 1.5 pumps to barely spread over my face.  For comparison:

Left:  0.25 ml of water
Right:  1 pump of the Gel Lotion
Based on my usage, this would actually last quite a long time.  My math puts it at over a year, although once the bottle gets a little low, I don't know how easy it would be to use up the rest.  I have a 180 ml bottle of emulsion from Etude House and I use way more than that .25 ml each time, and that thing is over half full after four months.  This makes the price not as bad, but I would say $40 would be a much more reasonable price.  [4/5]




Ingredients:





Purified Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, SD Alcohol 40-B, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sorbitol, Denatured Alcohol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Dimethicone, Malachite Extract, Acetobacter / Aspergillus / Lactobacillus / Leuconostoc / Pediococcus / Saccharomyces / Zygosaccharomyces / Citrus Unshiu Fruit / Citrus Japonica Fruit / Citrus Junos Fruit / Apple Fruit / Banana Fruit / Papaya Fruit / Pyrus Serotina fruit / Diospyros Kaki Fruit / Watermelon Fruit / Peach Fruit / Prunus Mume Fruit / Fig Fruit / Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit /Eriobotrya Japonica Fruit / Apricot Fruit / Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit / Cucurbita Maxima Fruit / Castanea Crenata Fruit / Vitis Coignetiae Fruit / Raspberry Fruit / Momordica Grosvenorii Fruit / Lycium Chinense Fruit / Glycine Max Seed / Phaseolus Angularis Seed / Canavalia Ensiformis Seed / Rice Seed / Hordeum Vulgare Seed / Coix Lachryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed / Echinochloa Crus-Galli Seed / Setaria Italica Seed / Millet Seed / Hemerocallis Fulva Flower / Cabbage Leaf/Stem / Morus Bombycis Leaf / Perilla Frutescens Leaf / Ipomoea Batatas Root / Colocasia Antiquorum Tuber / Dioscorea Batatas Rhizome / Iridea Laminaroides / Laminaria Japonica / Nemacystus Decipiens / Undaria Pinnatifida / Radish Root / Turnip Root / Carrot Root / Arctium Lappa Root / Nelumbo Nucifera Rhizome / Onion Bulb / Lilium Auratum Bulb / Licorice Root / Sagittaria Trifolia Root / Sesame Seed / Ginkgo Biloba Seed / Juglans Subcondiformis Fruit / Panax Ginseng Seed / Actinidia Polygama Fruit / Hydnum Erinaceum Fruiting Body / Grifola Frondosa Fruiting Body / Prunus Salicina Fruit / Akebia Quinata Fruit / Crataegus Cuneata Fruit / Cornus Officinalis Fruit / Nephelium Longana Fruit / Houttuynia Cordata / Artemisia Princeps / Sasa Veitchii Leaf / Glechoma Hederacea / Chamomilla Recutita Flower / Equisetum Arvense / Cassia Obtusifolia Seed / Taraxacum Officinale / Isodon Japonicus / Safflower Flower / Plantago Asiatica / Smallanthus Sonchifolius Root / Garlic Bulb / Ginger Rhizome / Beet Rhizome / Polygonum Odoratum Rhizome / Turmeric Rhizome / Acanthopanax Siebodianus Root / Pinus Koraiensis Seed / Lentinus Edodes Fruiting Body / Auricularia Auricula / Vitis Labrusca Fruit /Helianthus Tuberosus Tuber Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus / Honeysuckle Flower Extract Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus / Hibiscus Flower Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus / Clover Flower Ferment Extract Ferment Filtrate, Xanthan Gum, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Lactobacillus / Streptococcus Thermophilus / Lepidium Meyenii Hypocotyl Ferment / Lactobacillus / Lemon Peel Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus / Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus / Tomato Fruit Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus / Papaya Fruit Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus / Watermelon Fruit Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus / Apple Fruit / Orange Peel / Carrot Root / Cucumber Fruit / Lemon Fruit Extract Ferment Filtrate, Saccharomyces / Leuconostoc / Apple Fruit / Carrot Root / Radish Root / Cabbage Leaf / Celery Leaf / Cucumber Fruit / Banana Fruit / Onion Bulb / Arctium Lappa Root / Spinach Leaf / Orange Peel / Tomato Fruit / Phaseolus Radiatus Sprout / Pumpkin Fruit Extract Ferment Filtrate, Lilium Candidum Flower Extract, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Silica, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Lavender Oil, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Lime Oil, Sorbitol, Trisodium EDTA, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol

*Please do not copy this to your blog/retail store/forum/group.  Translating ingredients is a very time consuming, frustrating, painstaking process.  You are more than welcome to link back to this review page if you want to provide full ingredient translations.  Thank you.

  • Comedogenic ingredients are listed in red.
  • Irritation triggers are listed in orange.
  • Potentially hazardous ingredients are listed in purple.  (Note:  this is according to the rating system on CosDNA, which rates them according to reports from CIR, RTECS, and the FDA on if these ingredients could be harmful with long term usage to the skin, cells, or human body.)

Here's the link to the CosDNA analysis, although seriously, take that with a grain of salt.  Like the Refresher, CosDNA just threw up its hands and quit a third of the way into the list.  SD Alcohol 40-B and Denatured Alcohol are both in the top ten ingredients, so like the Refresher, it kind of goes "Water, Alcohol, Alcohol, Fancy Stuff," which is kind of disappointing.  I am not afraid of alcohol, and I do believe that it could be beneficial when properly formulated, but seriously, make it lower on the list.  Triethanolamine is once again present lower down on the ingredient list.  It is rather common in cosmetics, so while it ranks high as a potential hazard, it doesn't seem like a big enough deal to even the companies touting more natural products.

Also, this looks like Paula Begoun's nightmare ingredients list.  All that alcohol and then a bunch of essential oils to boot.  She, along with some others, believe EOs such as lavender oil and linalool (derivative of lavender) can be cytotoxic, meaning they can cause skin cell death.  Other EOs on the list, such as lime oil, can be fragrance allergens.  While this list is technically perfume free, they make up for it by adding natural fragrances in, in the form of essential oils.  The smell is super light, but those sensitive to fragrances or are faithful believers of Paula might want to skip this one.

The massive highlighted yellow chunk is su:m37's magic soup, found in most of their products.  I found a page that lists it in INCI form with a short description, listing its function as skin conditioning.  This is higher on the list than the Refresher, for what it's worth.  The advertised ingredients are highlighted in green, starting at 14th down on the list if you count the fermented potion all as one ingredient.  Another curiosity is Sorbitol, which is actually on the list twice.  (Can we do that?)  I was told that the ingredients list was available on a Korean app called Hwahae, so I checked it out.  It is on there, but it does have a couple of missing ingredients.  Here is the list:


It looks so deceptively short and simple here...lies!
The four star ingredients are meant to moisturize and calm your skin.  It also contains chrysanthemum extract, which is an anti-irritant, and in my opinion, is the real star as that is the only smell you can detect from this.  The cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone, which adds slip, making it easier to spread, and can fill in fine lines.

Edit:  I have been meaning to add this on here as well as the Refresher, but malachite extract is something I have only seen on the su:m37 products that I thought was very interesting.  Malachite is a mineral (not a rock, Mary!) that is rich in copper.  It is non photo-toxic, and is considered a pretty good anti-oxidant, able to scavenge free radicals and stimulate glutathione reductase.

Does anyone even want pH tests for things that aren't acids or cleansers?
pH is around 5-ish, so same as the toner.

[3/5]


Performance:





I love this moisturizer so much, even with its drunken ingredient list.  Why?  Because it brings back beautiful memories of dim sum every morning when I use it.

Image by Pockafwye
No, it doesn't smell like soy sauce.  Every time my family and I went out for dim sum (which is only during vacations, as there aren't any around here), we always get chrysanthemum tea.  It's fabulous with rock sugar.  And this lotion delivers a single, clean note of chrysanthemums.


Image by Toshihiro Gamo
So lovely.  Every morning.  I need a perfume of this.  You need a perfume of this.  So powdery and light and sweet.



The bottle is heavy glass, with the metal colored bits made out of plastic.  Everything feels very sturdy.  I'm so glad they used a pump dispenser instead of the crazy reducer that some brands like to use.  It's a very thin gel, but I would go crazy trying to shake it out of the bottle every morning.


This absorbs so quickly.  It's a very light gel, feeling more like a thin essence than a moisturizer.  It dries matte, which is perfect for daytime.  I don't think it's meant to be a standalone moisturizer, but that's how I've been using it.  It feels like it wouldn't be enough, but even with the dry winter weather and chemical exfoliation, I have not had any flakiness by the end of the day, with no added facial oils or moisturizers (beyond my sunscreen, I suppose).  I wonder how similar Benton's Aloe Propolis gel is to this, as it looks like a very light texture as well.

I actually have no complaints about how well it performs.  Perhaps if I had drier skin, I would need to supplement with another cream in the morning, but that's how it was recommended for use anyway.  The smell is absolutely gorgeous, and the finish is perfect.  [5/5]


Personal View:





I really dislike that su:m37 insists on using so much alcohol in this line.  It's quite a turn-off, but the product does work, and I feel it does not compromise my moisture barrier or irritate my skin.  The smell is so lovely, and is a treat to use every morning.  Despite how light the moisturizer is, it works just fine for my skin.  Drier skin types might consider looking into the creams in the Water-Full line as well as it just might not be enough, but according to the pamphlet, it was never meant to be used alone.

This gel lotion doesn't contain any proven Western ingredients like niacinamide or vitamins, relying instead on an Eastern approach.  As a result, it is chock full of fermented plants, high in antioxidants and anti-irritants.  I would actually rebuy this, and would readily recommend it for all skin types - with the footnote that drier skin types might need more moisture to last throughout the day.  Those who are sensitive to alcohol or fragrances though will definitely want to pass this one over, as there are plenty of alcohols and essential oils in this.  [4/5]


TL;DR:


The Good:  Light but moisturizing, leaves a matte finish, great packaging, amazing smell.

The Bad:  Contains alcohol as two of the top ten ingredients, contains essential oils which can be irritating or potentially cytotoxic, might not be moisturizing enough for some skin types by itself.
  • Price:  4/5
  • Ingredients:  3/5
  • Performance:  5/5
  • Personal View:  4/5
  • Average:  4/5

2 comments:

  1. I am of the same opinion as you on this gel lotion. I adore how it feels on my skin: it leaves my skin more hydrated than any hydrating essence / lotion, including the universally beloved Hada Labo Gokyujin one. However, the high drying alcohol content makes me a bit sad, since I'm trying to phase out skincare products with drying alcohol in an effort to repair my moisture barrier. I'll use up this product, but will have to think hard about repurchasing.

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  2. Thank you for your comment! I agree, the booziness of this lotion is disappointing. I keep telling myself that alcohol, when in a properly formulated product, is not a bad thing, and my skin doesn't feel dry after using it. I want to look at other su:m37 lotions to see if they have one that doesn't have alcohol or as much alcohol, but their ingredients lists are nearly impossible to find. I loved the Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion, but it broke me out! What other moisturizers are you looking at as replacements?

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