Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum

When I bought this Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum (I think it was on RoseRoseShop, but it might have been W2Beauty, I don't remember), I made a mistake.

You see, I used to use Hanyul White Chrysanthemum something or the other in the past, and it was lovely. But that was before I got all serious about blogging about Asian skincare products.
So earlier this year, when my dear friend from France asked about skin tone evening serums, I naturally ran to the net and purchased the first White Chrysanthemum item that caught my eye.

It turned out to be a good mistake, in several ways, actually.

But first things first.

"White chrysanthemum?" I hear you say.
"You mean, like this?" I hear you say.

image source: wikipedia

I mean, it's a chrysanthemum for sure. And it's definitely white.

Yeah, I thought so, too.
But as always with cosmetic products, the devil's in the details.

I remembered reading something about white chrysanthemum tea being a popular drink in China. But as far as I could recall, it didn't actually involve huge white flowers, of the kind usually placed on graves in a certain European country on November 1st.

I started digging. And sure enough, what they call "white chrysanthemum" in China is what we call "golden chamomile" or "Chinese chamomile" in Europe.

And yes, the "white chrysanthemum" drink I remembered drinking smelled more like chamomile tea than a cemetery on All Saints' Day (my Polish readers will understand the reference).

So you expect this:

image source: wikipedia

But in reality, you get this:

image source: wikipedia

Quite a difference, right?
Yeah, I thought so, too.

So that's the bad news. It's not white, it's golden, and it's not a chrysanthemum of the usual variety, but something more resembling a chamomile.

Luckily for us, that's the end of bad news.

And for the good news? Luckily for us, there's plenty of it.

1. Chamomile and chrysanthemums are actually related.
This one here is called Chrysanthellum indicum in Latin and "gamguk" in Korean. 
2. Chrysanthellum indicum extract happens to be quite awesome. According to multiple sources, it has:
  • - anti-aging properties
  • - anti-inflammatory properties
  • - and according to a research paper published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, is an effective and well-tolerated topical agent (used as 1% cream) for the treatment of moderate rosacea.

3. Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum claims to have 1000 ppm (part per million?) of this magical "gamguk" extract.

Wait a sec.
My Japanese friend has a question.


No, not Yuzuru Hanyu *). Though in all fairness, this boy is the fairest of them all and totally could have his own skincare line.


image source: Amore Pacific

Hanyul is one of the many, many brands from Amore Pacific. And Amore Pacific is the largest beauty company in South Korea. Or one of the two largest. The other being LG (yep, that LG).
Hanyul's tagline is: "Traditional natural cosmetics from the nature and folk remedies of Korea."

Pity they limit themselves to Korea, because just imagine the perfect blend of Hanyu and Hanyul. The marketing possibilities are endless.
I'd buy it. Just because.

But what were we talking about here?

Ahhhh... yes... Hanyu Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum.

It's a Korean skincare product that claims to even out your complexion, reduce dark spots and blemishes, improve your skin's natural radiance by preventing the formation of melanin.
It also claims to have anti-wrinkle properties.

As a serum, it goes on your skin after cleansing and applying toner.

In a typical Hanyul fashion, one side of the box is printed in English, the other - in Korean.

The bottle has the characteristic Hanyul shape. But sadly, it's plastic. It looks like nice, luxurious glass, but it's just cheap plastic. Korean skincare companies like to fool you like that.

The bottle is semi-transparent (you can see how much stuff is still inside if you hold it against the light) and holds 40 ml of product.

The serum is white, its texture is very light and deliciously delicate. It's not oily, it's not watery, it's just right.

It does smell like chrysanthemums, though. It's not a strong smell, but it's there. And it definitely likes to linger. I absolutely hate this scent!!!

The serum absorbs completely, leaves the skin feeling soft and very lightly hydrated. There is no sticky film or other residue.

The bottle is equipped with a pump. But it's not the airless type, you can unscrew it and suck every last bit of what's still left in the bottle.

The leaflet included in the box has the usual useless information in two languages. However, the Korean version is more extensive and includes the ingredient list as well.

Basically, the only thing you can read in English is this:

So yeah. That's what they say.

What do I say about Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum?

This is a very confusing product.
I used it once a day, in the morning. I felt like it wasn't doing much, so I stopped and put it aside for a while.
My skin reacted immediately.
Sometimes the best way to determine whether a product works or not is to stop using it.

So yes, this serum is indeed doing something. I can't tell you what it's doing, but I can definitely tell you what happened when I wasn't using it.

My skin lost its radiance and returned to its usual pinkish and I-look-like-I'm-slightly-drunk ruddy state.
Not using it made me realize how gentle and delicate and subtle this serum is.
The changes are minimal but they are there.

And the best part?
There was no adverse reaction whatsoever.
My skin was calm, smooth, less pink, radiant, bright and healthy.

I'm so in love with this Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum that I nearly wept when I reached the bottom of the bottle.
I wanted to run and repurchase immediately.

But I didn't.

And I won't.


The smell. The flowery scent that makes me think of All Saints' Day. I just can't stomach another bottle of this sensory abomination.

99% of people will tell you it's a pleasant, refreshing fragrance. And they are right.
But if you are sensitive to scents, you will, literally, be able to taste it.

Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum ingredients (courtesy of HwaHae):

So there you have it.
A delightful brightening serum that is suitable for dry, sensitive and delicate skin, and which would be perfect, if not for the annoying fragrance.

If you want to try it, most Korean online stores carry it. Pricing varies, so it pays to shop around.

So that was Hanyul.


And this is Hanyu *)

*Japanese Figure Skating God


  1. Hmm I've been looking for a new brightening product... I feel like I've got hydration down but when I wake up in the morning my skin looks a shade darker. This has potential.. It's pretty too :p Thanks for the review!

    1. I used a different one before, the one in the shimmery bottle (do they even still make it?) and it was awesome. This one is a lot gentler and it seems like it's not doing anything, but it does. Just the smell kills me.
      Also, it's a great option for those who can't handle niacinamide, or for whom it does nothing.

      And because it calmed down my cheeks so nicely, I am beginning to suspect that I do have a mild case of rosacea, despite my derm telling me I don't. Hmmm...

      Right now I'm looking for other stuff with this mysterious Chinese chamomile extract to find out more.

    2. I've never tried Hanyul before so not sure about the shimmery bottle serum. Good call - too strong of a flowery scent is no good. Btw - the post inspired me to pick up a whitening serum today. Just something really accessible (feeling lazy) over here via Peach and Lils.

  2. Wczoraj serum sie skonczylo, a bardzo mi pasowalo. Nakladalam rano i wieczorem, bylo bardzo wydajne. Tez mialam sliczna skore po nim, rozswietlona, z wyrownanym kolorytem. Zapach mi nie przeszkadzal, konsystencja byla idealna :))) Dziekuje Ci bardzo za nie :)))

    Teraz stosuje A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Essence, mam te miniature 20 ml. Na podroz w sam raz. Tez jest fajne, przyjemnie nawilza, chociaz rozjasnienia przy poprzedniej buteleczce nie zauwazylam.

    Pare dni temu bylam u kosmetyczki na lagodnych kwasach, i troche mnie przesuszylo, chyba kwasy mi nie sluza. Smaruje sie na noc kremowa maska z Ahavy i Essential day moisturizer na dzien. Oba kosmetyki pomogly zalagodzic podraznienie i nawilzyly porzadnie.

    Kupilam Hascoderm i Skinoren na przebarwienia, na bazie kwasu azelainowego, mozna kupic bez recepty i za grosze, ok 50 zl za sztuke! Jeszcze sie nie smarowalam, ciekawe czy zadziala? Aptekarka powiedziala, ze kremy sa lagodnie i nie ma zadnego ryzyka, i podobno sa przeciwzmarszkowe.
    Iwona P z Perpignan

  3. I had no idea white chrysanthemums looked like that! I thought they were those white flowers as well. This sounds like a great product, it's a shame it has such a strong fragrance :( I may give this a try though since I don't mind scents, and I have no idea what All Saint's Dat smells like. Thank you for the review!
    Jenny //

  4. I don't like very scented products but I'm still willing to use them if they work, this sounds something my skin could like ) my skin is sensitive like crazy and I too have mild Rosacea, depending on my skin it can get worse. I have never tried something from the brand, I wanted to try their cushion, but now the serum might be higher on my wish list

  5. I loved this post! Especially the Hanyu clip at the end. I'll skip the heavily fragranced product, though.

  6. You are absolutely hilarious! This product sounds good! Pity about the smell. I will wait on the sidelines till I can find a decent performing, nice smelling lotion! Cheers.

    1. Hi Vivian!
      Guess what? I actually bought a second bottle. I loved the results so much that I am willing to suffer through the smell. Soon it will be hay fever season anyway and my nose will be clogged for a few months :-)
      It's a win-win situation.

  7. Would you still recommend this serum now it's a year since this review? My face suffers from "secretly alcoholic" syndrome, and I'm on a mission to find something that will calm the redness. :-)

    1. Yes!!!
      I am just starting another bottle.
      I hate the smell but it works like magic so I'm willing to put up with the flowery stink.

    2. I'm not too fond of perfumed cosmetics myself, but if it makes me stop looking like a tomato, I'll put up with the smell too. :-)
      Also, is there a foaming cleanser that you particularly like? I have the famous SUM37 rose stick in my basket in w2beauty, but the more reviews I read the more hesitant I am about it (and worried about possible irritation to my skin).

    3. The rose stick horribly irritated my skin.
      Horribly. Not even high pH cleansers did that to me.

      If you can find SanDaWha foamy cleanser, it's wonderful. As gentle as it gets. Low pH, no offensive scents.
      Non AB fave is Uriage. It seems to me that Uriage"gets" red skin better than most A B brands.

    4. I can get Uriage easily here, I'll have a look. Thanks so much for help!

  8. Very interested in this serum. However, I wonder if the serum indeed calms down the redness, or is it just the 'masking' effect of some ingredients in the serum, such as mica, titanium oxide, tin oxide?

    1. Chrysanthemum extract is proven as a remedy for rosacea. Mica is too low on the list to have any masking effect.

    2. Thank you for your reply. I am even more convinced now! I have just grabbed some samples of this serum from ebay, to see if my overreactive skin can tolerate this serum.
      By the way, this blog post brought my attention to Yuzuru Hanyu. He has just won the Gold Medal in the recent World Figure Skating Championships. I watched the video of him performing the free skate, and I was marvelled by his performance, and! You're right, he has enviable skin! ��


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