Actually, I’m glad summer is ending and I’m no longer melting. Now, ’tis the season…to treat yo self! Well, kind of. I spent this whole past weekend shopping online and previewing god-awful Black Friday deals for gifts this holiday season, and now I have shopping lists up the wazoo. (That is a disgusting-sounding phrase, by the way.) So, I revise: ‘Tis the season to treat yo friends and family. It’s not as catchy, but in any case, I’m all shopped out for now.
I’ve already treated myself plenty this past year anyway, including opting to try more higher-end, or at least mid-tierish, Korean beauty products whenever I get the chance. I was running out of my trusty The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Oil Light a little while ago, and thought the SU:M37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm would be a great start to throwing more money at skincare–I mean, investing more in my personal wellness. Yeah.*
*Do not do this unless you have a clear budget for yourself and have your financial situation under control. 🙂
Anyway, do you see this pretty thing?! LOOK AT IT.
Y’all know how I am for gorgeous packaging. Call me a cleansing balm, because I’m melting.
SU:M37 is a brand under one of the South Korean giants, LG Group (Yep, that LG!). I categorize it as a mid-tier, almost-luxury skincare brand. I say this because the prices of SU:M37 tend to be slightly above Laneige’s, slightly above or on par with Iope and Hera, and definitely below the average prices of Sulwhasoo and History of Whoo products. Wow, what great approximations. I’m a top economic and business authority, eh? In any case, it’s definitely among the “premium” brands.
Cleansing balms are intended to be used in the same step as cleansing oils, before your regular cleanser, in your double-cleansing routine. Since oil removes oil and like removes like, to put it in a very simplified way, cleansing balms like this are meant for removing makeup, sunscreen, and the day’s accumulated dirt and impurities. Thus, this should be used in your evening routine, unless you wear makeup or sunscreen in your sleep for some reason.
Hydrogenated Polydecene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triethylhexanoin, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Polyethylene, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-30 Sorbitan Tetraoleate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Kluyveromyces/Lactobacillus/Apricot Kernel Oil Ferment Filtrate, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Citral, Citronellol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool
*Note that these values do not indicate universal truths. The amount of ingredient actually in the product, as well as the product’s overall formulation, greatly affect the potential for irritation. Not everyone will be sensitive to these bolded ingredients, and you may be sensitive to ingredients that are not bolded. Every individual’s skin may react differently. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).
I’m pleasantly surprised to find that, with the exception of a couple of fragrances (which, albeit anecdotally, haven’t done me harm), there are no questionable values. No known acne triggers or irritants? Sign me up!
However, of course, stay away from this if you tend to be sensitive to plant-based ingredients such as the oils and extracts listed above.
Okay, so I’m a strange person with oddly specific preferences. In the beginning, I only scooped at half of the top of this thing because I really liked looking at its untouched texture. Heh…
Anyway, let’s try this thing out.
First of all, this is actually my first cleansing balm. And it does melt! No lie! I had some issues when I first started using this because of that. I would put it on my fingers and immediately dab/smear it all over my face. I’m not sure why I was so dense. It turns out—as most people who’ve used melting cleansing balms might understand just from the product name—you’re supposed to let the balm sit for a few seconds and allow it to melt a bit from your natural body heat. It becomes less gooey and solid, and smoother and runnier, like melting candle wax but even runnier like a, well, an oil. (Minus the heat and pain…unless you’re into that.) This helps it to be more spreadable, and therefore makes you use up less balm.
I use this about five times a week all over my face: eyes, forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin, spending an extra ten seconds rubbing it on my nose lightly to loosen up the sebaceous filaments, or those reoccurring stubborn black dots that many people mistakenly call “blackheads.”
One thing I’ve really enjoyed about using a cleansing balm is how easily manageable it is compared to cleansing oils, because of the aforementioned melting aspect. For instance, I’ve been using Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara, a mascara notorious for being difficult to remove. While a balm is harder to spread as freely as you can an oil, a balm is less likely to run into your eyes and cry
like a little b****. Being in control is great, eh? You don’t have to worry about a balm running down your arms from your palms, or running from your chin to your neck and shirt because you used waaay too much. Heh.
To remove eye makeup, I don’t like to rub my whole eye socket areas in circular motions about twenty times, as many Youtube videos instruct you to do. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m extremely careful about the skin around my eyes as your skin there is very delicate.
- To remove eyeliner and eyeshadow, I gently dab cleansing balm onto my eyelids. After 5 seconds, I veeery gently dab/drag the melted balm across my lids, rub across 2-3 times, then just let the balm sit as I work on the rest of my face.
- To remove mascara, I put some balm on my index finger (see the previous photo), smush it a bit by tapping it on my thumb, and sort of “grab” my eyelashes with my index and thumb. I then very gently rub it onto my eyelashes with those fingers. The motion is kind of like when you’re lighting a fire by holding the stick between your palms and rubbing your palms to rotate the stick—but instead of a stick, it’s your lashes, and instead of palms, it’s fingers. Yeah, my analogy game is a bit weird today. Please don’t start fires on your face.
And on a serious note, it totally works, just as well as my old TFS cleansing oil did: perfectly. Performance-wise, overall, I appreciate what this cleansing balm does and how it makes me feel. Actually, physically it doesn’t make me feel anything at all. It doesn’t strip me of oils—as some cleansers are apt to do—and simply gets rid of the excess oil-based things like makeup and sunscreen. It truly all melts away with no clogged pores or any other issues. And that’s exactly what I expect from my oil-based cleansers.
Oh lawd, this smells heavenly. I absolutely love it. I owe it to the many plant-based oils and extracts, and probably those fragrances marked “irritant” by Cosdna. It’s slightly floral, mostly citrus-like, natural-smelling, fresh, and perhaps a little 아줌마(ajumma)-ish, but I’m kind of into that. (Err…) Anyway, I just love it. Scents are such a great way to boost your routine, especially in the evening when you’re ready to be done with everything and just relax, finally.
I got this in my TesterKorea haul quite a while ago for ₩34,200 (~$30).
- You can also get it on Amazon currently for about $32
- Jolse, ~$32
- YesStyle, ~$38
- And if you’re feelin’ like a real Mr. Moneybags, Q-Depot has it for a whopping ~$46
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Oh yeah! Here's the little #TesterKorea haul that contained that wonderful new #SUM37 cleansing balm. Also, I had to get a couple of obligatory #HolikaHolika x #Gudetama items, especially that peeling gel (purely for that packaging…oh lawd). Plus, you know, more sheet masks of course! I'm especially excited for these Tosowoong masks I've heard so much about. Late to the game much? 🍳🍷🐌🐝🍯🌊 Anyway, have you loved a product so much that you buy three of them at once? I already gave one of the Innisfree mineral powders away… #sheetmask #sheetmasking #rAsianBeauty #bblogger #bbloggers #abbloggers #skincareblogger #blogger #beautyblogger #instablogger #asianskincare #skincare #kbeauty #korean #koreanskincare #koreanbeauty #innisfree #holikaholika #tosowoong #tonymoly #ぐでたま #cleansing #balm #mineralpowder #makeup #peelinggel
Price-wise, it’s definitely no Banila Co. Clean It Zero. And I sort of wished I’d tried Banila Co.’s sherbet cleansers first before diving into SU:M37’s higher-end line. However, I have no regrets because (a) I love trying new things, (b) this cleansing balm works, and (c) my routine is now just that much more luxurious. Aww yiss. I’d say my decision to treat myself a bit was a good one.
Also, I’ve been using this since August, and based on my current usage, I expect it to last me almost a year. Wow! However, keep in mind that I do tend to use much less product than what may be the average, so a better estimate is 6 months to a year.
Since my main point of comparison here is my positive experience with cleansing oils, I give props to cleansing balms for being a lovely alternative. Great texture, easy to use and manage, and just feels a bit nicer than your average cleansing oil with emulsifier, such as my trusty TFS cleansing oil that ran out. Honestly, I have nothing bad to say about the SU:M37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm other than the price compared to more affordable alternatives, whether we’re talking cleansing balms or oils; that’s the only area where my rating for this product got dinged.
Unless you’re sensitive to any of the ingredients in this, I highly recommend this to anyone with any skin type and skin goals. It’s just an excellent way to boost your routine, whether physically, psychologically, or otherwise. And hey, sometimes you just deserve a little somethin’ somethin’.
Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5
5 / 5: HOLY GRAIL STATUS. I dare you to pry this from my cold, dead, kpop-glowy hands.
4 / 5: I really liked this! Would repurchase until I find a better alternative.
3 / 5: So-so. Unimpressive results, but may work better for others with different conditions.
2 / 5: Would not repurchase. Possibly caused some issues for me, but may work for others.
1 / 5: This lied to me. It did nothing that it said it would, and caused some issues.
0 / 5: Do not buy this. No one should have to suffer the way I did.
What do you think of cleansing balms? Have you used this one, or other SU:M37 products before? I’d love to hear about your experiences! 🙂