After I first moved to Seoul, I once sat on the train across from a girl with perfect, unblemished skin. I know, you see that everyday in Korea. I don’t know what they’re drinking over here, but whatever it is, they didn’t offer me any. No, what was interesting to me was that the girl pulled out a small pale orange glass jar and began to moisturize her face. (Actually, that wasn’t unusual either – it’s not too uncommon to see women applying a full face of makeup on the subway. I just hope their hands are clean.) Anyway, I was soon to learn that that pale orange jar is ubiquitous. It’s Etude House’s Collagen Moistfull Cream, and not only is it the brand’s bestselling product, it’s also one of the most popular lotions in Korea, selling two million units in this country alone. Obviously, with my relentlessly dry skin, I had to try it out!
Note: Koreans pronounce “collagen” as “ko-lah-gen,” with a hard G.
The Moistfull line comes in several formulations. The orange jar, Collagen Moistfull Enriching Cream, is the original, but there are also other versions (which seem to change up from time to time, but on last count, included one with aloe, one with whitening effects, and a “winterproof” version). I decided to spring for the mini-set of the original formulation, which comes with a 50-ml glass jar of cream, as well as small containers of First Essence and Essential Massage Cream. At 17,000 won ($15 USD), this is an attractively priced combination, but it’s almost just a sampler. The complete set comprises seven products: Massage Cream, First Essence, Facial Freshener, Essence, Eye Cream, Lotion, and finally, the Enriching Cream. And yes, Etude House suggests that you use all these products in tandem.
And I thought I was doing so well with my three-piece mini-set… it’s insane, I tell you! Anyway, the massage cream is the first optional step in the series; it’s only meant to be applied once a week, for deep moisture. After cleansing, apply the jelly-textured cream to your face and neck and gently rub it in for 1-2 minutes, before rinsing it off with a bit of cool water. Follow up with the First Essence, which is a thick liquid meant to give your skin a bit of refreshing moisture. Pat it onto your face and allow your skin to absorb it. It’s really refreshing!
Essential Massage and Enriching Cream
Assuming you are, like me, a slacker doomed to skin that is less supple than it should be, you’ll skip the next four steps and go directly to the pièce de résistance, the Enriching Cream. The texture is watery, and it has a pleasant scent which I can only describe as… well, lotion-y. Applied to the skin, especially after the massage cream and essence, it felt cool and moisturizing. What I really loved about it, especially after dealing with so many rich, oily creams, is that it sank right into the skin, leaving no greasy residue, yet my skin felt hydrated and soft. I didn’t expect that such a lightweight cream would provide a lot of moisturizing power, but for what it is, it does surprisingly well. It’s not a miracle product — there’s still this dry patch on my forehead that won’t go away — but then again, my skin is so insanely and chronically parched that I wasn’t really expecting total moisture. But for someone who just needs basic moisturizing, I would definitely recommend this set. I myself plan to keep using it throughout the summer, when my skin typically isn’t so dry. The cool watery texture will feel perfect against the ridiculously hot, humid August in Seoul!
After using the Enriching Cream, and applying quite a bit of “natural makeup.”
To sum up the Etude House Collagen Moistfull set:
Pros: Refreshing, watery texture; great absorbing power; no greasy residue. Also cheap.
Cons: Too lightweight for dry skin; those who dislike fragrance may not like this.
Bottom Line: A well-priced and effective moisturizer for people with normal to oily skin.