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With a name that means “purity” in Korean, Sundo specializes in pared-down and toxin-free formulas that merge traditional Korean herbal goodness with the latest skin care technology. The brand’s emphasis on subtle yet long-lasting results, rather than miracle transformations, makes its products the perfect deal for someone like me whose sensitive combination skin is always in need of a gentle reset.

It’s been a while since I sampled an extensive skin care routine from a single brand, so I was eager to try the cleanser, toner, serum, cream and sleeping pack from Sundo. My easily irritated skin had calmed down since the beginning of the year, but it never attained the glow I craved. Aging and a slowed-down metabolism are probably to blame for my current skin condition, but I have high hopes that the right skin care products can arrest the downturn.

Read on to see whether a two-week trial of Sundo’s products delivered the boost I hoped for!

The product: Touted as an exceedingly gentle cleanser with the power to thoroughly remove dirt, impurities and sebum from face, this is one of Sundo’s best-loved products. Coming in a gel formula, it’s formulated without sulfates and contains tea tree leaf oil, bamboo extract and grapefruit seed extract to soothe and hydrate skin while providing gentle exfoliation.

My expectations: I was hoping for a thorough cleanse that causes zero irritation while amping up moisture levels. Many cleansers dry out my face despite claims about the products’ hydrating effects, so major moisturizing action would be welcome from Sundo’s version. As for skin care benefits, I was not expecting anything too pronounced.

Results:

Amongst the K-Beauty cleansers I’ve tried, the Soft & Mild Low pH Cleanser emerged as a solid performer rather than a standout. On the one hand, it gave my face a reasonably thorough cleanse without any stinging, redness or dryness. Its lightweight and gently foaming texture was soothing on skin, and I appreciated the distinctive yet subtle scent that was comforting. On the other hand, the cleanser’s pore care effects were minimal on my skin, as I didn’t notice shrinking of my pores after the trial. Maybe it’s too much to expect from a cleanser!

The product: Formulated with a brew of hydrators and skin-soothers, including hyaluronic acid, beta-glucan and cica, aloe and bamboo extracts, this toner is designed to cleanse, prep and deeply hydrate skin. Intended for long-term use, the alcohol-free formula is supposed to improve skin’s overall health, with a particular emphasis on strengthening a weakened moisture barrier and tamping down irritations.

My expectations: My skin often experiences spells of dryness even in hot and humid weather, and my inconsistent use of hydrating toners probably didn’t help. I was determined to change the situation, and this toner, with an ingredient list packed with moisturizing goodness, seemed the perfect place to start.

Results:

True to its name, the Super Moisturizer Toner Recipe provided an immediate hit of hydration, resulting in plumped-up skin with a dewier finish. It removed that last layer of grime from my face, leaving my skin cleaner, clearer and more refreshed. As I only used the toner for two weeks, I can’t yet attest to how effectively it unclogs pores and improves skin health in the long term. On account of its superb hydrating and soothing properties, however, I’m definitely incorporating it into my skin care regimen!

The product: Charged with over 90% galactomyces ferment filtrate, this anti-aging powerhouse aims to shrink pores, smooth fine lines and reduce redness while evening out skin tone. Additional ingredients of propolis extract, centella asiatica extract and niacinamide provide restorative boosts. The serum comes in a watery consistency that spreads easily on skin.

My expectations: Having sampled a similar galactomyces ferment filtrate product from GRAYMELIN in my last Beauty Lab to largely positive results, I was confident that Sundo’s serum would be equally effective, at least at keeping irritations at bay while giving my skin the chance to reset. I wasn’t after dramatic reversals − just softer, smoother and more even-toned skin.

Results:

Sundo’s serum just about edges out GRAYMELIN’s version, even though the latter has a higher concentration of galactomyces ferment filtrate. This time round, I noticed more visible signs of rejuvenation. My skin gradually became smoother, brighter and much less red. I have to stress that my skin didn’t achieve a glow overnight, and hyperpigmentation remained an issue despite my complexion brightening overall. The results were still encouraging though!

The product: A moisturizer for the warmer months, this lightweight gel cream is packed with hyaluronic acid to provide deep hydration, collagen to firm skin, panthenol and Vitamin E to promote healing, and niacinamide to improve hyperpigmentation. Ginseng adds an extra nourishing touch.

My expectations: I prefer thicker, more nourishing creams even in summer months, but due to Sundo’s solid track record so far, I was happy to give this light version a try. A moderately hydrating cream is better, in my opinion, than a slightly more moisturizing one that clogs your pores and leaves a greasy finish!

Results:

I need not have worried about its hydration powers, because Real Moisturizing Light Cream fully delivered despite its lightweight texture. My face felt instantly less tight upon application, and it maintained a soothed and happily hydrated look throughout most of the day. This formula probably wouldn’t make a great winter moisturizer given its consistency, but for now, the cream hits all the right notes.

As for its anti-aging and brightening benefits, these effects were not as prominent. My face felt softer and smoother after consistent application, but hyperpigmentation persisted after the two-week trial. Even so, the refreshing texture and moisturizing powers make this moisturizer a winner, especially as a day cream.

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The product: Formulated to soothe, brighten and strengthen skin with a blend of niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, panthenol and adenosine, this sleeping mask is just the ticket if your skin needs a pick-me-up.

My expectations: I’m ashamed to say I’d never tried a sleeping mask before. I mistakenly thought sleeping masks would be a hassle to use, but it turned out that wasn’t the case at all. Having read up on all the positive benefits of such masks, including sealing in moisturizing products while allowing more time for absorption of active ingredients, I was more than excited to sample this sleeping pack from Sundo.

Results:

The mask came in a gel cream texture that was quick-absorbent while leaving no sticky residue. Upon initial usage, I found that results were positive but not marked. My skin no longer appeared dull and ashen when I woke up in the morning, but it didn’t attain the kind of glow a potent sheet mask usually brings. After repeated usage, I noticed more pronounced results, with my skin appearing softer, firmer and smoother. I couldn’t determine if the positive changes were due to the combined effects of all the products used or the mask alone, but there’s no doubt that the Intense Care Niacinamide Sleeping Pack is a solid offering – just don’t expect immediate results!


Final Verdict

Did Sundo live up to its promises? On the whole, this skin care routine delivered on many fronts. I appreciated how gentle on skin the entire line was, and how the products tamed the remainder of my irritations while providing the nourishment I sorely needed. Even though the products’ anti-aging benefits were not pronounced, prolonged use would probably reveal more encouraging results.

Of all the products sampled, I would immediately put the toner and the serum into my regular skin care routine, as this duo brought the clearest benefits. I would rotate the light cream with richer, creamier moisturizers, especially as seasons change. The sleeping pack I’ll save for occasions when my skin needs a nourishing boost. As for the cleanser, it’ll serve as a back-up to my preferred K-Beauty gel cleanser, SOME BY MI’s Super Matcha Pore Clean Cleansing Gel.

 

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