When I lived in Korea, I used to pass Swanicoco frequently. There were only a couple of shops in Busan, but they were in the main shopping areas, and needless to say I spent a lot of time in those. The shops were quite small, but looked intriguing, and I popped in from time to time to check out their products. The Korean customer service, however, always made me too embarrassed and I ended up leaving. In Korea it’s common practice for the shop assistant to follow you around while you shop, which is fine – for a Korean, who might want help, I can see why they do. But as my Korean was minimal and their English was usually the same, it always ended up being a really awkward experience for us both.
Sometimes, however, I would suck it up and buy things. I was enticed by their amazingly-priced products and the clinical-looking packaging, which always explained what the star ingredients were, in English – so it was really easy for me to be sucked in by the promise of ferments, which are used in a lot of their products.
Recently, Swanicoco sent out a number of packages to several bloggers, and I was lucky enough to be one of them. I explained my skin concerns to May, my wonderful contact in the company, and she suggested some products to me, a routine tailored to my skin. I received the package shortly after and will be working through the products slowly, giving each enough time to see the differences it makes to my skin (or not, which could also happen). The first products I decided to test out are the ones I will be reviewing today.
So who are Swanicoco?
Swanicoco began their foray into cosmetics through producing and selling naturally fermented soaps. They use medicinal herbs, which they have carefully selected, in their products, which are then boiled and fermented. Mmmm, fermented. Fermented ingredients are packed full of antioxidants and are often used in skincare, the idea being that as ferments usually have smaller particles than the original ingredient itself, they are easier for the skin to absorb and truly feel the benefits. Swanicoco also do not use artificial chemical ingredients in their products, and are a natural cosmetics company. For this reason, their growth in Korea has been significant, with the need for natural cosmetics ever on the rise.
What kind of ferments do they use?
All sorts. You’ll find fermented ingredients in pretty much all of their products, as it’s one of the things that makes them stand out as a brand. From fermented plant extracts, to vegetables, to fermented stem cell extracts, they have you covered on just about every ferment possible.
Where can I buy them?
Swanicoco can be bought in several places online. They have their own online store, and there are big name sellers such as Althea, Yesstyle, and Koreadepart, carrying many of their products. As Swanicoco grow in popularity and size, their products are likely to be carried by more and more stores worldwide. In the EU, Skin:ID are currently looking to launch them in their shop shortly. So there should be no shortage of online stores to find these in.
Are they worth the money?
Well, yes – considering they aren’t that expensive. A tube of the snail ferment herbs emulsion, for example, costs about 12,000 won in Korea, which is really only around €10. Most products are around the €10-30 range, depending on what they are, making the products decently priced to say they contain naturally sourced ingredients. Some of the products are a little more expensive depending on the ingredients and the care they provide. The products I’m reviewing here may have been sent to me for review, but I had already bought Swanicoco with my own hard-earned cash, so I had no problem at all with the prices. It was one of the reasons I bought from them in the first place.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at what I will be talking about today – the Bitamin C Calm Down Toner and Emulsion from Swanicoco.
Bitamin C Calm Down Toner
Ingredients: Galactomyces ferment filtrate (rice ferment extract), aloe vera leaf extract, methylpyrrolidone, glycerin, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, allantoin, caffeoyl decapeptide-17, alcohol, oligopeptide-1, yeast, camellia/chestnut/persimmon extract, peony root/oil/seed extract fermentation filtrate, mistletoe ferment extract, ginseng/bamboo/persimmon fermentation filtrate, collagen, sodium hyaluronate, lactobacillus japonica extract, lactobacillus root extract, ganoderma lucidum extract, siberian larch extract, damascus rose oil, arginine, 1.2-hexanediol, orange extract, grape extract, apple extract, pear extract, banana extract, acrylate, C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolyemer, polysorbate 80, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil.
I translated the list from the box so it could be a bit all over the place, but I did my best and made sure there wasn’t any mumbo jumbo in there, and that all the ingredients listed are actually ingredients that exist…Google translate sometimes goes on funny turns and decides to tell me I have sperm or something similarly questionable in my skincare.
Be aware this product contains alcohol, so if you are looking for an alcohol-free toner, this won’t be for you. A lot of the ingredients in here are used to moisturise and hydrate, such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera leaf extract, collagen, and sodium hyaluronate.
Rice ferment extract is used instead of water, and this helps to improve dull skin and brighten skin tone. Other ferments also help skin tone and condition, along with boosting elasticity and making the skin more supple, which collagen also helps with.
Texture and scent: Slightly thicker than water, it has a very soft touch to it, which sounds strange, but when you smooth the toner over your face, you immediately notice how soft it feels on the skin. When I first used it, I really was amazed by how soft it felt. I had gone from a toner where I could see no results whatsoever (except for drier skin, grr), to one where the smoothness of application was apparent and I could feel how soft my skin immediately was. It sinks in immediately and there’s no sticky residue whatsoever.
The scent reminds me of peaches, it’s some sort of fruity scent that I can’t really pinpoint, but it smells really nice. My boyfriend actually commented on how nice it was, and he’s useless when it comes to this sort of thing, so that’s definitely worth noting.
Packaging and Pricing: The packaging is pretty simple, and like a lot of Swanicoco’s products, the bottle looks like it wouldn’t be out of place on a pharmacy shelf. They have a clinical way of packaging things, with simple writing and simple lettering that is pleasing to the eye, not overly fancy, and works well with the vibe of the brand. The bottle is 120ml, which is a nice size. In a month, I’ve used less than a quarter, so it should last a while.
It’s easy to get the toner out, but the hole is quite large, so be careful when you shake. I’ve ended up with a lot in my hands as I get a bit too overexcited and end up with a slight toner pool in my hands. Two shakes or so is enough to get the right amount of product for your whole face.
Effects: When May recommended this product to me, she stated the following –
*Bitamin C Skintoner & Bitamin C Emulsion
For Combination and Sensitive skin type.
Calming down troublesome skin.
Moisturizing and nourishing from herbal extracts and oil.
It containing fermented extracts and bio ingredients.
This Bitamin C lines make your skin like Velvet.
Just before I started using this product, I experienced a really bad breakout on one side of my face – along with one of those pimples that for some reason never comes to a head and just stays as a hard, red, angry spot on your face for what feels like decades. After a month, it’s almost gone, but the area around that belter of a spot is what I’m going to focus on. I had lots of mini spots, little red insignificant ones bubbling up at the sides of my face – alone, nothing, but all together they made my face look much redder and inflamed. I also was experiencing some skin texture problems at my temples – a series of mini bumps, affecting the surface of my skin, and making it appear rough.
After a month, the thing I notice most is that the bumps have pretty much disappeared. I’m back to regular skin again, and I put it down to the toner more than anything. It has really helped my skin feel more elastic, pumped it full of moisture, and improved skin texture no end. The little red spots are all but gone, but sadly the large one is being a stickler and not going anywhere soon. It’s hard to see the texture in pictures, but I notice a significant improvement.
Final Thoughts: I’m most impressed with how this toner helps with skin texture. It really has made a difference to my skincare routine, proving that a good toner really can improve your skin and providing you with a decent base.
Bitamin C Calm Down Emulsion
I’ll be spending less time on this product, as I’ve enjoyed it but the toner was the stand out product out of the two for me. I still want to talk about the texture and ingredients, however, so I’ll be using exactly the same categories.
Ingredients: Galactomcyes ferment filtrate (rice ferment extract), aloe vera leaf extract, olive oil, glycerin, ethylhexyl palmitate, oligopeptide – 32, caffeoyl decapeptide: E – 17, oligo – oligopeptide – oligosaccharide – oligosaccharide-1, yeast / camellia flower / chestnut bark / persimmon leaf / peony root / fermentation extract, yeast / ginseng / bamboo / persimmon fermentation filtrate, fermentation extract of mistletoe, lactobacillus / soybean fermentation extracts, roots extract, rice bran extract, grape extract, orange extracts, apple extracts, pear extracts, banana extracts, rice extracts, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, hoecht seed oil, alginine cetearyl glucoside sorbitan olivate, stearic acid, damask rose oil, hydrolyzed collagen, dodium PC, 01, 12-Hexanediol, caprylilla, alcohol, acrylate / C10-30 alkyl acrylate cross: polymer, glyceryl stearate.
A very similar list of ingredients, slightly chunkier than before, but containing more or less the same ferment extracts. Mistletoe ferment extract, which I didn’t talk about before, features in both products – and while it is a parasitic plant, it can work wonders for your face with its anti-aging properties, since it is full of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Texture and scent: Quite a light emulsion, almost in-between a liquid and a cream – it’s slightly runny but can hold its own if you shake it onto your hand and leave it there. Again it has that smooth feeling as you apply, but it’s less noticeable further down the line in the skincare routine.
It has the peachy, fruity scent again, and this is the product that my boyfriend really really enjoyed. When I cracked open the bottle he looked really interested in it, and he loved the touch of it and the smell. He really enjoyed smoothing it over his face – he doesn’t use a lot of skincare and he says this makes his skin feel really smooth.
Packaging and Price: Exactly the same packaging as the toner, which means you have to work a bit harder to get the emulsion out due to its thickness. I don’t really like emulsion bottles that you have to shake, and I think a pump is much more efficient. I like the everything else about this bottle – the shape, the size (again 120ml), and so on…but shaking it out hard every day is not something I enjoy when it comes to my skincare routine.
Effects: Less noticeable than the toner, but still providing smoothing effects and gives a lovely moisture boost to the skin. I use it before my moisturiser and sometimes am able to skip this last step because of how good my skin looks and feels. It would be a good moisturiser come summer, instead of heavy creams, thanks to its light feel and its smoothing effects.
Final thoughts: For the moment, Mr Nourish is thoroughly enjoying this one. I like it too, but not as much as the toner – that really won me over, and I like toners a lot more than I do emulsions and creams, so we were already off to a more difficult start with the emulsion. It seems to be a good product for those who don’t want to be doing a full skincare routine and just want to give their skin a little extra – like my boyfriend. He has good skin, so he doesn’t need to do a lot. This emulsion helped him with some dry patches he was experiencing, and overall texture. It’s Mr Nourish approved, I’d say, and I’m on the fence.
Have you tried any Swanicoco products yet? What did you think? Anything you would recommend?