Product Review: Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence

su:m37 Secret Programming Essence
su:m37 Secret Programming Essence

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! πŸ™‚ It’s been exactly one month since I started using Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence so I am ready to report on how this product has worked for me so far!

Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence contains over 80 fermented plant extracts and is the only one essence from a Korean brand that actually feels like an essence (most of them have the texture of an emulsion or serum rather than a toner kind of essence). Although it had never claimed to be like Japan’s SKII, the comparison is inevitable; and that comparison is particularly evident in this product. Purportedly the Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence is very similar to SKII’s star product, Facial Treatment Essence. My review will start off by reviewing Secret Programming Essence on its own, and then compare its efficacy against SKII’s Facial Treatment Essence.

A bit of background information on me: I am 35, and I have dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin. My sensitivity is triggered by petrolatum, SLS and select fragrances, although very few Korean products, as heavily fragranced as they are, actually cause a reaction in my skin. I have 3 dehydration lines on my forehead but don’t have any wrinkles otherwise. My skin is firm, no sagging but can be dull from dehydration from time to time. A few freckles remain on my cheeks, though most of which were nicely removed from using The History of Whoo Gongjinhyang: Seol line for one month.

The Secret Programming Essence has a very fluid texture, more like a real toner (unlike the typical Korean gel-like toners) and is paraben and fragrance free, which is a big plus. For my skin type, it absorbs fairly quickly, although you do need to pat and press your palms against your skin to help the product penetrate faster. It does leave my palms sticky afterwards, but on my face, not too bad, since my skin is so dry and dehydrated it soaks the essence up in a matter of 3 seconds. (the product instruction says to ‘tap’ the skin for 10 seconds for absorption) My skin feels quenched immediately, my dehydration lines soften a little, and it does keep my skin hydrated through the day and also overnight.

However, I do notice that when used during the day, regardless of what I layer on top, my forehead will appear a little oily. On my dry skin it looks more like a glow; but I can imagine on combination to oily skin, this can create a rather greasy appearance. I have tried to isolate this to see if it’s this product causing the oiliness and have noticed that it is indeed the culprit.

I also tried using it as a cloth essence sheet mask – which only accentuates the biggest difference between Secret Programming Essence and SKII’s Facial Treatment Essence – it broke my heart to see that even after 30 minutes, most of the essence was not absorbed by my skin at all, and I ended up with the same essence soaked cloth mask as 30 minutes before. Which leads to my biggest problem regarding this product – absorbency. It is perhaps the biggest weakness of Secret Programming Essence — its ability to be absorbed, and I have a feeling that su:m37 products work better on certain skin types (particularly, dry and/or dehydrated skin) than others, rather than being universally beneficial to all skin types.

After one month of use, as much as it is very hydrating, I haven’t seen any changes in my dehydration lines on my forehead, although my skin has acquired quite a dewy luminosity that it didn’t have before, when it was severely dehydrated. As far as hydration goes, it does a great job; but it has no whitening properties even though on the product description it claims to give you white and clear skin too.

If I were to compare it to SKII Facial Treatment Essence, I still call SKII FTE my HG essence of all time. Compared to Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence, SKII FTE is absorbed quickly and easily, and works for all skin types without looking oily. You will notice a decrease in the depth of dehydration lines with just the essence or definitely as a mask. While my skin feels quenched with both essences, SKII’s FTE plumps the lines better and also has a brightening effect (even though it doesn’t claim to whiten or brighten).

By the way, after one month, my 80ml bottle of the SPE still has more than 60ml left, so it does last a long time (as does SKII FTE if you apply with your hands and not on a cotton pad) even when used twice daily. The price is actually very close between the SPE and FTE, but personally, I would prefer to get SKII’s FTE if it is that easily accessible in my area. I will continue to use SPE until it is finished and I still like it, but I would recommend it only to people with similar skin type as mine, otherwise, I believe it will make you look fairly oily during the day! A good product, but definitely not for everybody.

Please keep reviews like this coming by clicking on the ads! πŸ™‚

40 comments on Product Review: Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence

  1. Arthur
    February 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm (6 years ago)

    Good review. I love how you compared both SPE and FTE. I have combination skin and somehow I find the SPE a bit heavier than FTE, so I adjusted my application to only 2 drops. It doesn’t sink in as readily as FTE. What I like about it is that it doesn’t have that “fermented” smell. like FTE. Have you tried applying it to your arms, hands, elbows and knees? Works wonders.

    • Joseibi
      February 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm (6 years ago)

      Dear Arthur,

      Thank you! I too find SPF heavier than FTE by a long shot. It is sticky too, my hands are always sticky after applying!

      Sometimes I use the less runny toners on my elbows than wrapped in saran wrap. I saw that in some Japanese beauty magazines before and it works wonders! πŸ™‚

  2. Zeek
    February 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm (6 years ago)

    Thanks for another nice review.^^ Never touch SK2 FTE before, most likely never will. Every time if there’s a need to try FTE, I’ll encounter someone new who will input doubts^^;

    Did order some SPE samples and Time Energy reset. Will share once tried.

    Arthur, I do find facial skincare when applied to hands and legs do a better job than hand/leg cream^^ Been using Laneige water sleeping pack ex on my hands and legs, it did wonders too^^

  3. EJ
    February 15, 2011 at 3:17 am (6 years ago)

    Hello. Thank you so much for your reviews, I really enjoy reading them. I’m just stopping by to comment on one thing: from what I know about Korean brands, essence and serum are the same thing. Judging from your review, it seems that you separated essence and serum into different categories but in fact they are just different names. In no way is SPE a toner. Perhaps this fact may help with how you use the product?

    • Joseibi
      February 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Zeek, that is exactly what I meant. There is even a slight difference between essence and serum, not only in Korean skincare but in universal skincare. Essences usually tend to be more runny whereas serums are usually thicker in texture. This holds true in most skincare regardless of where they are made. BUT in Korean skincare, their toners are usually thicker than the ‘toners’ in Japanese or Western brands, more like an emulsion.

  4. Zeek
    February 15, 2011 at 6:41 am (6 years ago)

    Hi EJ

    I believe Joseibi meant the texture of the product. The way Korean named their skincare or the way they makes the texture is unlike the normal skincare we’re more familiar with.

    IMHO (or rather that I’m familiar with), essence tends to be more watery and serum tends to give a texture feel between water and oil.

  5. chupachap
    February 15, 2011 at 10:16 am (6 years ago)

    That is so sad to hear that su:m37 is only effective with dry skin πŸ™ I’ve noticed that not many skin care lines produced products that actually work on combination oily skin.

    I still cannot distinguish the difference between essense, emulsion, ect πŸ˜€ Ive tried Tony Moly ones and followed those steps carefully, but they are too heavy/sticky for my skin but it really made my skin plumb in the morning.

    Just a quick question Joseibi, I don’t know about you but do you also use Japanese/Korean hair care? The weather and water in Australia is really harsh and I have very fine hair so hair loss is what i’ve been suffering. I tried products that are paraben, sulfate, sls free but i’ve never actually tried Asian brand.

    • Joseibi
      February 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm (6 years ago)

      Dear chupachap,

      The History of Whoo’s Gongjinhyang: Seol line is good for combo to oily skin too, not hydrating enough for my dry skin. I find a lot whitening line not hydrating enough for me too – e.g. Sulwhasoo’s Snowise is one – unless you get the Japanese brands which offer you the options of skin types.

      In Korean products, the texture between essence, emulsion and serum is very close, but in Japanese or western products the difference is very distinct. Essence is lighter in texture, emulsion usually is the moisturizer whereas serum is richer than an essence but not as thick as an emulsion. In Korean skincare this isn’t always the case, it depends on the brand you buy. Essence and serums are usually more concentrated in active ingredients than an emulsion.

      I used some Japanese hair care before (my husband swears by his Gatsby hair wax) – Ascience, Tsubaki, I think, sometimes even the Kanebo (Kracie now) Naive shampoo. I find that each shampoo will work on me for a little while in the beginning, then for some reason my hair starts to get too used to the shampoos and I usually move on to a new brand/product. SLS is hard to avoid in shampoos, I don’t purposely avoid it anymore, what I care about is the pH level. Some shampoos with SLS can still have a balanced pH level. Some of the ‘natural’ shampoos don’t do a very good job unfortunately…I have tried Jason’s Naturals and hated their shampoos. They made my hair very heavy and greasy. Kiss My Face’s shampoos are pretty good (pH balanced, paraben, SLS free) but I am having better results with a salon brand like Sebastian nowadays.

  6. Kev Jang
    February 15, 2011 at 11:20 am (6 years ago)


    There are a lot of good Korean haircare brands out there. I am not sure what the whole scare over sulfates is based on. A lot of it is also based on misinformation at times, because the level is extremely low in some cases. A lot of Korean brands have SLES in them, but they work just fine, and in fact I find them milder than some of the other western brands I use, maybe because of the plant extracts in them. I do recommend LG Re-En for you (the green bottle packaging for oily scalp and anti-hairloss), or Amorepacific’s Ryoe (it’s Ryeo in Korean, but they spell it this way in English) in the purple bottle which is for fine oily and limp hair. Both contain ginseng as one of the active ingredients.

  7. hopein
    February 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm (6 years ago)

    most of us have oily combi skin here but we love it. probably due to the harsh winter !

    essence = slightly thicker than water, but still very watery feeling

    serum = thicker. some korean serums are so thick that they are almost emulsion like texture.

    emulsion = a more diluted cream? its like cream but with a lighter texture and absorbs faster

    haha i’ve brought up the question too why korean skincare dont seem to offer much for oily combi skin and kev’s answer was because most koreans have dry skin

    • Joseibi
      February 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm (6 years ago)

      Dear hopein,

      There are actually brands (not as well known as Amore or LG) in Korea that are catered to oily, combination or acne prone skin. A-Solution was a brand for acne skin ( sold this line before); Charmzone has a few lines that are for oilier skin, not to mention the doctor brands – Dr. Jart, Dr. Eslee, etc. They are just not as hyped or heavily marketed as the big brands but they are there! πŸ™‚

  8. SeoulGirl
    February 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Joseibi, I love your review again!

    Su:m37 is not very popular in Korea, I have tried this product and I do love it. That is weird it cause oily skin for you Joseibi! hmmm, are you applying too much? It usually happens with essences that are very enriched. In Seoul, it is very humid, and dry in the winter. This helps so much for our skin. RYEO is a good hair company, but it is not recommended for very sensitive scapls!

    The reason why in Korea we do not have products for acne or oily skin is because Su:m37, SulWhaSoo, and WHOO or other expensive brands are for the older women, and older women in Korea have very dry skin. I have very dry skin, and theese lines help very much for our skin. If you want for that oily skin, you can look for a brand called LaNeige which is more for oily and acne skin.

    You can find acne and oily products for your skin from the lower end products, but they do work good too πŸ™‚ These products are for more of the 37 to 50 ages, and not for 17 to 30.

    SeoulGirl ^^

    • Joseibi
      February 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm (6 years ago)

      Dear SeoulGirl,

      Thank you! The SPE didn’t cause my skin to be oily, I actually liked it but in my review I am trying to tell people who may have oilier skin that this feels sticky even on my dry skin so I don’t think oilier skin will like this too much. It’s a lot of oil in this product, fermented or not, it’s still oil and it can look oily on people with oilier skin.

      Actually there are plenty of Korean skincare I can think of that is catered towards oily skin. I have sold A-Solution before, and you get the oily skin option in brands like Charmzone. It’s just that the main brands people know about aren’t specifically catered towards acne prone or oily skin, that’s all.

      Laneige is a young brand, not necessarily only for oily and acne skin. It’s for the 18-25 age group.

      I don’t know maybe some of the posters aren’t aware of my background – I have sold Korean and Japanese skincare on from 2003 to 2007 and have tried almost all the big brands (and small) so I do know a lot of the Japanese Korean brands and skincare. πŸ™‚

  9. chupachap
    February 16, 2011 at 6:01 am (6 years ago)

    to Kev Jang,

    Thank you for your recommendation, I know that those sulfate paraben free is just a misinformation as there’s still no official research on their effects πŸ˜€ I’ll def give those brands a try, if possible, do you know which is the easiest way to get them?

    to SeoulGirl

    Wow, that really makes sense, I myself from Vietnam and my family & friends live in humid weather, we all have slightly oily skin (even my mom does and she’s 55). So i grew up not being aware of dry skin. Its a shame since I really love the idea of fermented ingredients in Su:m37 and would love to try.

    • Joseibi
      February 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm (6 years ago)

      Dear chupachap,

      You can still try the Water Full series, I love it! It hydrates very well but not as sticky as the other su:m37 products. The hydration is better than Sulwhasoo’s Hydroaid or The History of Whoo’s Soo Yeon lines – I am comparing these because they are similar water-based series. The Water Full line has fermented bamboo water and it’s supposed to have some natural antiseptic properties too. It’s one of my favourite newly discovered lines! πŸ™‚

  10. kev jang
    February 16, 2011 at 8:56 am (6 years ago)

    Hey Chupachup,

    I think that Gmarket Korea is still the cheapest and most convenient way to get any skincare and haircare. Some sellers match the purchase with some samples or free gift sets, and you might want to check that out. If not, there might also be some case of discounts for purchases above a certain amount. I would not recommend Ebay as a means of getting Ryeo or LG Re-En although they also sell them there, because the prices are way more expensive than Gmarket Korea prices.

    Yes, SeoulGirl’s words are quite true. Climate differences do play a very important role. In fact, like during my years in canada, my skin was always feeling dry although I tend towards combination skin. When in Korea and other parts of Asia, my skin actually felt like it was seriously ‘behaving’ for once, which was rare when I was in Canada.

  11. kev jang
    February 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Joseibi, well said coming from someone who has been in the skincare business for years!

    I agree that there are actually a lot of Korean skincare with oily skin options out there. Virtually all the mass market brands (The Face Shop, Skinfood, Beauty Credit, It’s Skin, Skin79, etc.) have an option for oily skin, and even a separate range for acne-ed skin. The medium range ones like Enprani and Laneige and Coreana are actually relatively light or tailored to oily skins in some of their products and I have seen products for those people who have open pores. A lot of the advertising hype is still around the two major fighters in the business of cosmetics and skincare in Korea though, LG and the Amorepacific, and hence, people outside of Korea who are not in the business of skincare rarely know about them or might not be exposed enough to them, depending on their location.

    What you said some time back about A-Point and so on being relatively good (or was it Point or something like that?) is quite true in general. I noticed some Korean families that I know of using such stuff and they actually have relatively good skin even though they don’t use the more up-market brands!

    • Joseibi
      February 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks, Kev! πŸ™‚

      Yes, I loved POINT cleansers before, used to sell POINT here too, they are so cheap – US$10 and change for a foam cleanser and I swear they work just as well as more expensive ones.

      Overall most of the korean products are very good, even the cheaper stuff is better than western department store brands – and better ingredients too. Same goes for the Japanese brands. Lately I am using all Korean stuff since their whitening really works! So I intend to stick to K-brands. πŸ™‚

  12. epiphany
    February 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm (6 years ago)

    Is there any Korean or Japanese brand that is purely natural? So far in Sulwhasoo & Su:m37 that there are a lot of toxic ingredients. My sister linked sulwhasoo’s ingredient list of their basic line to her friend who is an esthetician, and she felt that any good ingredients are negated by all the toxic ingredients. So I got curious and started googling some of the ingredients and to be honest now I’m worried I won’t able to find anything that doesn’t utlize things such as: Dipropylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, etc. (those two are used in things such as anti-freeze, among other things. It is a known toxic chemical, but because of the smaller amounts used in skincare, they deem it a ‘safe toxic’. To be honest I really don’t want to put anything toxic on my face regardless of whether or not it is deemed a ‘safe toxic’.
    So just wondering if there is any 100% pure line in either Korea or Japan that is any good?
    Thank you again all, and I hope it was ok to ask this here πŸ™‚

    • Joseibi
      February 18, 2011 at 11:33 am (6 years ago)

      Dear epiphany,

      Not too many I am afraid, some of those ingredients I have accepted as ‘necessary evil’ but this is purely a personal choice of course! πŸ™‚

      HABA is one of the few ‘natural’ products but of course there will still be some chemicals in it. You can refer to the ingredient list here: One of my personal favorites from HABA is the Squalane, it is a great simple but good natural and pure hydrator, you can give it a try. The toners are great too (I used the G-Lotion a few years back, and in my early twenties, I used the VC Lotion which is great for combination skin)

      In western brands, there is REN, Aromatherapy Associates (both brands I love by the way), Juice Beauty (not very effective IMO), etc. Then you get the drugstore ‘natural’ brands such as Burt’s Bee, Kiss My Face, Avalon Organics, etc., none of which (skincare wise anyway) I would recommend highly…you can’t really look to those for anything more than just moisturizing your face. I had great experiences with REN and Aromatherapy Associates (RENEW line), but they are rather pricey. Just don’t waste your money on Eminence – it’s a total waste of money!

      Most of the western spa products (e.g. Babor – even though Babor has a natural line now) contain a lot of bad stuff too. All in all, it’s a pity that the government doesn’t regulate skincare, the skin being the body’s largest organ and all. Personally I am more offended with oxybenzone in children’s sunscreens than anything.

  13. kev jang
    February 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm (6 years ago)

    Hey epiphany,

    I am not so sure that propylene glycol and dipropylene glycol are an toxic or dangerous as the people against them make them out to be. In chemistry, cosmetic ingredients need binders, and the glycols are among them, not to mention that the studies of toxicology and toxicity are based largely on industrial strength and amounts (you really have to use 100% pure stuff and also in very large amounts to have that sustained effect of carcinogenic toxins, but in cosmetics, the ingredients do not go more than 1 to 2 % sometimes, and are heavily diluted with water and other compounds). I believe a lot of the scares about toxicity are still based on misinformation, and after all, the detractors are not mostly chemists but are a large bunch of ‘organic’ enterprises with their own products to market as well! When you demonize something else as ‘artificial’ or ‘poisonous’, you indirectly boost your own business which claims to be free of such ‘toxins’. The funniest thing is, often, in cases such as shampoos which claim to be free of sulfates or parabens, they also have a close cousin of sulfates such as sarcosinates etc. which are still derived from coconut oil as cleansing bases. I would not take too much stock in those scares. If they are as true, people would actually be developing skin cancer more easily if they use Korean and Japanese cosmetics but they are not. The quality control for Korean and Japanese cosmetics is quite high and sometimes higher than in western countries’ brands too.

  14. kev jang
    February 16, 2011 at 11:51 pm (6 years ago)

    The other catch is that a lot of “organic” skincare out there are using ingredients about as chemical as they can get. The regulation of the term “organic” or “natural” is relatively lax in North America and Europe, and a lot of things, even if they contain a few chemicals here and there, can still be called organic and natural. So that is an idea for you of how “natural” anything which you put on your skin or hair is.

    • Joseibi
      February 18, 2011 at 11:46 am (6 years ago)

      I agree, Kev, I remember making a post about organic or natural products – even for something claiming to be natural, an extract still goes through many filtering and refining chemical processes to become the extract in the product, so a natural product isn’t really all that natural in this sense.

      I am allergic to SLS in face washes so I tend to avoid it when I shop for cleansers, but to be honest, I almost never come across any Japanese or Korean foam cleansers that use SLS, even the cheaper ones. Cetaphil cleansers, though recommended by dermatologists, contain SLS!

      I don’t like too many unnecessary additives in my skincare (e.g. fragrance, colorants) but I am not too concerned with a product being ‘natural’ or organic, but like I said, it’s really a personal choice, you gotta use what you are comfortable with. I do think the experience with using skincare isn’t just physiological but psychological too, so if you are full of doubts with a product, you may not enjoy it enough to give it a try and subsequently, the product may not perceived to be working for you.

  15. epiphany
    February 17, 2011 at 12:28 am (6 years ago)

    Thank you for your quick reply Kev, I sincerely appreciate it! I think that made me feel a lot better, my sister had me scared about using anything with those types of ingredients.
    I am still curious is there are any lines out there that don’t carry those types of ingredients though and am curious if they are even comparable to Whoo/Sulwhasoo,etc; results are everything πŸ˜‰
    I so far have only found 1 line called Komenuka Bijin /NSK, it seems to be based on traditional Japanese skincare and utilizes ricebran as the main ingredient. But I have no idea if it is any good.

  16. Zeek
    February 17, 2011 at 12:29 am (6 years ago)

    What I believe is it’s like drinking water in most (if not all) cities. There’s chlorine in drinking water, pure chlorine is toxic, but treated chlorine used to purified water is deem safe. Even if you only drink bottled water that claimed to be 100% pure, but I doubt you use bottled water to bath/shower. There’s also chance of toxic pollutants in the air, it’s not like we wrapped ourself in space suits. Or like sunlight too much is harmful, moderate is good for skin.

    I will only believe in 100% pure/natural if it’s something I grow myself. Even then I’m unsure if the water I use to water the plant or the soil I use is 100% pure.

    These are just my personal views/opinions. As long as there’s no proof that the product will lead to something bad. I will give it a try.

  17. Kev Jang
    February 17, 2011 at 12:49 am (6 years ago)

    For some reason, it appears that preservative-free, and totally 100% natural skincare are really rare. Enprani used to launch their Mayfresh organic (use by 90 days once opened) line last year or in 2009, but I don’t recall ever seeing it in Korea. Also, the French brand NUXE claims to be preservative-free and hence needs to be used 6 months onwards from opening. But a lot of these brands also are pretty heavily fragranced which defeats the whole purpose of good skincare, when people are worried about allergies or sensitive reactions. I like Zeek’s analogy of sunlight. We use a sunblock which might be SPF50 and protect the skin, and we can also opt for staying under the shade which is a natural SPF of about 4-8 but who would want to stay under a tree or shade all the day long, not to mention that the shade does not even protect against UV A rays?

  18. hopein
    February 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm (6 years ago)

    Biotherm’s new range Skin Energetic or something like that also claims to be 97.5% natural..

    Nuxe also has stuff like all propylene glycol etc in their formula

    We know Nuxe well as it is a French brand and we are french-based!

    A lot of organic based companies demonized these ingredients .. for example some companies dont use parabens but use other preservatives that might be even more dangerous than parabens.

    at the end of the day, the consumer has to be smart !

  19. hopein
    February 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm (6 years ago)

    and it will be hard to find products without propy/butyl glycol !! haha

  20. Madiha
    February 18, 2011 at 7:31 am (6 years ago)

    Your reviews are always so detailed and nice! and i always click on every add for you lol πŸ˜€

    • Joseibi
      February 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm (6 years ago)

      thanks, Madiha, yours are too! πŸ™‚ And thanks for supporting the site!!! XOXO

  21. Kev Jang
    February 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm (6 years ago)

    Talking about sodium lauryl sulfate, Paula Begoun lambasted most bar soaps based on this claim that SLS was drying. The funny thing is that in most Korean bar soaps, I do not see that necessarily covered or mentioned as an ingredient. Most Korean cleansers, whether bar soaps or foam cleansers, seem to source alternatives such as myristic acid, palmitic acid or something of that sort, and I do think that they are close cousins of the cleansing suds group but with less of that dryness or corrosiveness of the acid mantle layer associated with SLS.

    REN is a Sephora-available brand, and I find it too pricey! I would rather spend that money on a whole set of Korean skincare, with toner, emulsion and cream and get it from Gmarket. Coreana, Su:m 37, Sulwhasoo, and Hannule and nearly every major Korean skincare brand has a set of 3 sold on Gmarket and it is in fact more worth it buying a whole set from there instead of just one item.

    • Joseibi
      February 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm (6 years ago)

      That’s why I have such mixed feelings about Paula Begoun…on one hand, she got people reading the labels, but on the other, can a non chemist really judge a product based what’s on the list (unaware of the concentration)?

      Oh, you were right on, Kev, when you said products that don’t contain SLS end up using some form of coconut oil-based of emulsifier. Totally true!

      On a personal note, I rarely use the completely preservative free products (oils exempted), I would have envisioned applying the product on my face littered with millions of microscopic germs! LOL I am just silly that way – I tend to view preservatives as ‘necessary evil’, as long as it’s not substantial enough to cause a reaction or become toxic.

  22. Kev Jang
    February 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm (6 years ago)

    Joseibi, as for your remarks about Kiss My face and Avalon, I totally agree! They are something I would not recommend much beyond leaving a sheen on the face. The organic hype is actually way beyond me. To begin with, even brands like Skinfood and Innisfree which sell into the hype over organic extracts still have some preservatives and they are honest about it.

  23. Karen
    February 19, 2011 at 12:42 am (6 years ago)

    hi joseibi,
    how do you use this secret programming essence? how much of it do you use per time?

    toner – secret essence- serum – moisturiser?
    and specifically, how do you pair it with the white award line?


    • Joseibi
      February 22, 2011 at 4:13 pm (6 years ago)

      Dear Karen,

      I use the SPE as an essence after toner and before moisturizer – I use 2 drops each time because it can feel sticky even for my dry skin. I use it after the su:m37 White Award Clear toner, followed by the White Award Luminous Treatment (essence), Essence Lotion (which is the emulsion moisturizer) and then the cream.

      During the day if I use SPE under a moisturizer for some reason my skin looks greasy! So I use it only at night now. πŸ™‚

  24. Kev Jang
    February 19, 2011 at 11:39 am (6 years ago)

    @ Karen The secret programming essence is something akin to a primer essence to be applied before the toner. But I might be wrong here.

    @Joseibi What I cannot get about Begoun has to do more with her antagonism towards certain herbs, Oriental or western. For example, some herbs like the snow lotus flower blooms amidst cold harsh winter climates in northern China, but their ability to bloom shows that the flower has high moisture retention abilities and antioxidant properties to be able to withstand bad weather. There is nothing wrong with putting it into a skincare cream so to say, but then she goes on the track of what has not been discovered to be effective won’t be used and should not be used. That sounds more like nitpicking to me.

  25. Kev Jang
    February 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm (6 years ago)

    Begoun is actually a former make-up artist to Elizabeth Arden or some major cosmetic line prior to her becoming more famous as a ‘consumer advocate’. That might also be partially why she does not spare her criticism of big brands.

    I find that for some reason, Korean skincare is successful because of their aggressive marketing in media, mainly print media like posters and also television advertising. But the advertising aside, the inclusion of plant extracts really is a big plus point. We have become more and more aware of the benefits of using what our grandmothers and even those ancestors before them have used, and in some ways, Korean skincare does cater to that very nostalgic feel as well. The smell of brands with Oriental herbs like Hannule, Sulwhasoo, Coreana, and Whoo is really something akin to what my mother and grandmother used to boil for me and family when we were all kids!

  26. sugarninjas
    December 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm (2 years ago)

    I love SKII’s FTE! Within a year my skin look as good as never before (and I’m 33years old mother of sweetest twins ever:). Now I’m trying out some su:m37 stuff… I hope to find sth. I’ll really love out there πŸ˜‰

    • Kevin J.
      December 29, 2014 at 8:29 am (2 years ago)

      I have been using the Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence for a long time now, about 4 times over the last 3 years since I started using it, and normally, I am not the sort of person who sticks to the same skincare brand or product. The male version and the generic version are actually about the same for me, but I liked this essence as a good substitute for all the other serums and essences which have a more gluey texture.


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