Always envied the fresh out of the spa look of those Korean women? Raised your eyebrows when you read that Korean skincare took a lead over French skin care? Well, it isn’t too surprising because Koreans have always been very careful and interested in skincare. They use stuff like starfish extracts, snail oil secretions, volcanic ashes and a lot of other niche, natural products to attain and maintain that fabulous, glowing skin. One of the niche, natural products used by them is the onsen water or the hot spring thermal water. Which is what this product is all about.
At first, you’d be thoroughly taken in by the serum’s really cute and minimalist packaging. It’s sleek and cerulean, with a nozzle and it’s got white circles on a small part of its slim body indicating bubbles (no points for guessing why, but that minimalist artwork sure makes everything elegant about it). But after assimilating and appreciating the aesthetics the first question that’d probably come to your mind would be “Why am I paying a bomb for some water?” To defend this little bottle of wonder (in my humble opinion, really), here is a brief background on thermal water bath traditions that are popular in the southeast Asian countries.
Hot springs or onsens in the local parlance of Koreans and Japanese are deeply entrenched in their cultures. Culturally, it is a place to rinse the body and the soul. You strip yourself naked in the hot springs of Korea and Japan and mingle with people of your sex in the natural steam bath. It is a communal tradition that is still followed by the peoples of the nations today.
To cut short and get to the point, the onsen waters facilitate stimulation and circulation of blood, sulfur and other minerals naturally seep into your body and make up for your depleted body minerals, cure body aches and other minor ailments.
You’d be wondering, “That’s all very nice but what will a little bottle of thermal water do?” True, you don’t get to step down into a natural hot water spring and let your body absorb the benefits of Mother Nature, but the very same water from a natural hot spring is bottled up for your use and your face finally does get a mini yet authentic onsen treatment through this “sparking” thermal water essence bottle! (To be factually honest, thermal water is NEVER sparkling, I’m betting that the company put that adjective because it wants to convey that a glowing face is the result.)
The composition of this serum is pretty fantastic. From what I could decode (being a student of literature), it has: onsen-sui a.k.a. hot-spring water (73.6%), glycerin, water, castor oil, orchid and camellia leaf, and fruit extracts amongst other natural extracts, a few harmless chemical compounds for the usual preservation, (yes I got one of my chemistry friends to verify if the chemicals are harmful or not, and they’re not).
So actually, you not only have the legendary hot-spring water which happens to be the modern-day Fountain of Youth, but it’s also mixed with exotic flower leaves, oils, and fruit extracts. It can’t get any better now, can it?
Being a Korea and Japan fan, I simply knew I had to pick this product up the moment I walked into the store and set my eyes on it. I’d heard about onsen healing and its rejuvenating properties from my Japanese friends and I was itching to try it out myself. Hence purchased it under five minutes. I tried the tester AFTER purchasing the bottle (irrational enthusiasm kicks in when it comes to Korean skincare). So I basically pressed the nozzle gentle for a second and this very faintly perfumed white foam came out of it on my palm. Be careful while pressing the nozzle because if you apply a little more pressure, a generous amount of foam will ensue which is definitely too much for any face. So yes, once the foam comes out, you apply it quickly and evenly on your toner-applied face and gently pat till it is absorbed. In a minute or so, your face will acquire a healthy, natural sheen. I’ve been using this product for a while now and friends in school compliment me that I look really fresh throughout the day. One of my girlfriends actually said that I look as though I took a bath in one of the school bathrooms and just stepped out!
I prefer this serum to the Jeju Green Tea serum (my winter skin-care range favorite), the latter still being amazing when it comes to hydration and antioxidants. The Jeju sparkling mineral essence really cuts it for me during the summer because it’s really light on the skin as its first aim is the hot spring spa glow followed by hydration. I’m planning on using this with the Green Tea serum in the winters for glow AND hydration. (I’ve asked if these two can be used in tandem, and the staff response was positive so YAY!)
I apply this product twice a day. Once in the morning after bath before leaving for school and then in the evening after washing my face and applying my Innisfree Jeju Green Tea Balancing Skin toner.
If you have a normal and combination skin this works well. For dry skin, you’d have to apply the serum in a slightly more liberally.
It would be a good idea to order yourself a private mini onsen experience in a pretty blue bottle for some fancy pampering.