I have recently returned to the birthplace of baguettes from an impromptu visit to my sweet home, Chicago. It would not be a trip home without a few consumer indulgences, which is how I ended up with this little vial of Vitamin C.
It was a quick trip so I let my shopping senses take the lead without doing as much research into products or brands as I like to do when time allows. This Seoul Ceuticals review took some unexpected turns as I began researching the product, the real question is where to even begin!
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, I try to be an active consumer & use my purchasing power as I see wisely. I will pay higher price tags for products from brands like Amore Pacific that do a lot of social good, I do not buy from brands like L’Oreal that have made past mistakes & have not done enough to compensate for it to earn my favor or money.
Seoul Ceuticals is a small company & I try to be more understanding of independent companies than I would some massive corporation, but there are a few things with the company representation & advertising that I am against as an individual consumer. An additional disclaimer is I did not contact the founders or company representatives for comment, I only have a background in American business start-ups so I knew where to look for public records on Seoul Ceuticals.
As of early February 2018, Seoul Ceuticals’ has very basic website I was only able to find through their Instagram & this website was not linked to their Facebook page. I would personally anticipate to see a larger web presence for a company that retails their cosmetics online, I was finding it difficult to look up information on the company.
I read on another blog that this company was based in Palm Beach, FL, USA. A quick Google search will result in social media handles confirming the co-founder of Seoul Ceuticals, Amy Romero of Palm Springs. It is not unusual for laboratories to have different locations than where the company was based, but I thought it was information worth some research. This is where I felt like there were some unanticipated turns when researching the company.
If you’re unfamiliar with USA business law, business names are trademarked or legally registered to the owners & this trademark is a public record in the court system. I saw the co-founder was located in Florida so I looked for public records of the business in the Florida Department of State LLC Search, which is a free tool for anyone to use. A family consisting of Amy, Craig & Richard Romero of Palm Springs, FL, USA have trademarked a few different skincare companies; including Admire My Skin & Lo-Fi Beauty.
When I looked into Seoul Ceuticals trademark, it appears that the Romeros were initially denied the trademark. This does not necessarily mean there are any business issues, the company name was likely too common to be trademarked i.e. A person cannot trademark a date or city because those qualities are not unique. They have since re-filed their trademark under the altered Seoulceuticals business name, but it is still pending as of 08 February 2018 so the serum is presently being sold on Amazon while the company is unestablished.
There is nothing abusive or illegal based on this information, but I feel uncomfortable enough with this information that I would not repurchase this product. My personal view on the potential racial & cultural appropriation implications turn me away from the brand as an individual consumer. I find it problematic as well that consumers may be misled because the company is marketing themselves as selling Korean cosmetics per their Amazon store:
Seoul Ceuticals, or how it is presently branded on Amazon, advertises itself as a Korean beauty brand. I tried researching into the background of the founders to see if they had any ties to South Korea or Korean cosmetic industry, but I could find none. The Romeros have an employee as a registered agent for the business trademark, Katherine S. Chang. I could not find much information on her, but Chang is a common Chinese surname so I would not naturally assume she has ties to South Korea or K-Beauty as an industry either.
A subsequent point worth noting is Seoul Ceuticals received a D-rating from Fake Spot & a warning for unnatural user reviews from Review Meta. This product seems to be only available on Amazon at the moment, where it has a very high rating. The serum does have a nice ingredient list, the highly rated reviews are what sealed the deal on my decision to purchase. Aggressive marketing tactics & reviewer deception seem to be involved with this specific product though, I would suspect this is likely due to paid product reviews & negative review deletion.
Seoul Ceuticals’ company website is relatively blank, they appear to only sell their serum on Amazon at the moment so here are the claims:
- THIS KOREAN SKIN CARE VITAMIN C serum contains the same potent, active ingredients as the $160 Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum
- GUARANTEED TO WORK – WE PROMISE you’ll begin to see results with this K beauty product within 3 weeks when used daily
- POTENT ANTI AGING, ANTI WRINKLE serum is proven to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines & crows feet
- THIS TOPICAL VITAMIN C ALSO helps to fade sun spots and is guaranteed to provide you with a brighter more youthful complexion
- THIS FACIAL SERUM HELPS TO shrink pores, clear up acne, prevent breakouts, and minimize the appearance of acne scars & perfect under korean makeup
There are some bold claims in the product advertising, but I find the first point claim to be the most important. The Day Glow Serum allegedly rivals Skinceuticals, which is not completely accurate. Skinceuticals contains about half of the overall ingredients as Seoul Ceuticals, which may be important if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.
The Vitamin C derivatives are completely different for both products so the active ingredient is not the same as claimed, which this derivative difference effects how this type of product functions as a chemical exfoliant. Skinceuticals contains L-Ascorbic Acid, which is the gold standard of derivatives. Seoul Ceuticals contains Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which is a more water-soluble form of Vitamin C though the least effective form for exfoliation & preventing free radicals.
The thick liquid is easy to apply to the skin. This formula is slightly unusual as in I have never tried a serum that looked like this before, it is cloudy & off-white in color. Most Vitamin C serums I have tried are either the color of squeezed orange juice or clear, orange or yellow serums show physical signs of oxidation while clear formulas typically do not. I really have no idea what that means for this particular Vitamin C serum though!
This brought me back to my childhood, it smells just like Sunny D! It has a candied orange juice scent to it, but the best part is no artificial scent is added.
This Vitamin C comes in dropper bottle packaging, which is standard for this type of serum. The dark packaging helps stabilize the product formula by protecting it from light, yet you transparent enough that you can see how much product is left. The dropper itself is sturdy & has not leaked while traveling.
I actually like this product, which makes the brand’s actions more disappointing to me. The Day Glow Serum is good enough to stand on its own, but aggressive & deceptive marketing have soured my individual view on it.
This is not the most effective exfoliant I have ever used as far as Vitamin C serums are concerned, but I was unsurprised when I glanced at the ingredient list. This serum contains more water-based & soothing ingredients than a typical Vitamin C product. I believe this serum is targeted more towards sensitive or dry skin types, which there is definitely a market for that. I never experienced any tightness or stinging as I have with more aggressive Vitamin C serums so a serum like this could be a good option as an introductory product.
I have been using Vitamin C serums for over 4 years now. I did not have as strong of brightening effects or fine line reduction as other Vitamin C serums, but I still had minor brightening affects & my skin looked more plump due to all the hydrating extras contained in the ingredient list.
2 Acne Trigger & 3 Irritants according to CosDNA
|Deionized Aqua (Water), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (plant-derived hyaluronic acid), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Carbomer, Arginine, Ferulic Acid, Citrus Stem Cells, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, Organic Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola Extract), Organic Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail Plant Extract), Organic Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium Extract), Organic Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion Extract)|
It provides soothing medicinal benefits for skin irritations or burns, it provides some antibacterial advantages as well. Aloe vera’s main claim to cosmetic fame is it hydration properties because the ingredient is 99.5% water.
SAP – Vitamin C Derivative
This product contains one of the highest rated forms of this ingredient, which hyaluronic acid is ordinarily considered a super ingredient for it’s water attracting & binding abilities.
Antioxidant & anti-inflammatory, though high levels on tannins may cause some skin sensitivity issues
This antioxidant is a form of Vitamin E that reduces inflammation & smooths skin texture.
Antioxidant that enhances Vitamins C & E benefits
Non-fragrant plant emollient that has been shown to stimulate collagen production & repair skin barrier, this cleanser also contains jojoba butter which is richer in fatty acids
Misc. Ingredient Notes
Vitamin C serums are not long-lasting products by nature, the average shelf life is 3-4 months once opened. The Seoul Ceuticals serum is botanical based, which I look for in my cosmetics. There are two formula stabiling ingredients in this formula, ferulic Acid is a natural formula stabilizer & this product does contain one plant-based preservative, Phenoxyethanol.
This does not mean the Day Glow is a bad product, but users should always pay attention to the formula of any Vitamin C serum they own. Otherwise, there may be skin irritation like Benton’s infamous “bad batch” of aloe toner with plant-based preservatives that had contamination issues.
Price: $15.74 per 30ml / 1oz
This product is not highly accessible to the international marketplace at the moment, it appears to be only available on Amazon for a select few countries at the moment. The price is average for other similar Amazon-based companies that have Vitamin C serums, like Instanatural.
Ranking: 2 / 5
I would rank the serum formula 4 / 5 as I did like the product, though I prefer a different Vitamin C formula with stronger exfoliation. However, the brand itself & lack of transparency are the main reasons I ranked this product lower. I will use the rest of this serum because I have already spent the money & it is not a bad product, but I will definitely not be repurchasing.