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Sulwhasoo vs SK-II: Which Brand is Better?

By Viktoria
March 8, 2023
7 minutes

Taking care of your skin and doing a multiple-step skincare routine is now becoming a trend for women who want to glow, and have ageless skin. Regarding putting any product on your skin, especially your face, you have to be extremely careful as the wrong product can do more damage than good.

Well, Korea and Japan are the top countries to produce gentle, effective, and innovative skincare products. The products contain ingredients from their traditional medicine and skincare. These ingredients are the secret behind their glass skin.

So, are you looking for a Korean or Japanese skincare brand start following an Asian skincare routine and get beautiful, smooth, poreless, and flawless skin. This article is for you as here we bring two of the top Korean and Japanese brands together to compare them in terms of their history,

Let us know more about both of these high-end skincare brands to choose your next go-to

1. Sulwhasoo vs SK-II: Brand History

Before knowing more, you would want to know a little about these brands’ origin, history, the inspiration behind them, and current reputation. So, here we have both of them side by side to let you know how these brands come to life.



Country of Origin: Korea

Country of Origin: Japan

Year of Foundation: 1966 (57 years)

Year of Foundation: 1980 (43 years)

Brief History: The seed of Sulwahasoo was sown in 1932 when the mother of Suh Sungwhan, the founder of Sulwahasoo, began to do a skincare business with Camellia oil. He was a resident of Kaesong, a Korean city famous for its high-quality ginseng. His mother is an inspiration to him and his surroundings being full of a miraculous ingredient led him to take interest in skincare and launch a brand with ginseng as its major constituent of most of its products.

So finally, he introduced the brand’s first product, the ABC ginseng cream in 1966.

In 1973, the brand launched ginseng SAMMI, the first cosmetic product containing ginseng saponin in the world.

He did not stop there. With more research, innovation, and exceptional products the locally launched brand Sulhwa became international and is known as Sulhwasoo.

Brief History: SK stands for Secret Key. in the 1970s, SK started with a team of Japanese scientists looking for undiscovered ingredients that can make crystal clear, and reduce the signs of aging. While wandering from one place to another they came across a sake brewer. Here fermented rice was mixed with yeast using hands. They notices that the hands of old sake brewery workers were so youthful and wrinkle-less as compared to their faces. And there they hit the jackpot with finding the secret ingredient to ageless firm skin. But not all yeasts could do that. So they began by experimenting with many stains of yeast and finally found sacchromuycoposis out of the 350 stains of yeast as the one giving those benefits.

Then they produced and introduced PITERA in 1980. Then they launched more high-quality products and it led to this brand to the place it holds now.

Main Features: Sulwahasoo features ginseng as the main ingredient in several products. And the brand is known for continuous Korean herbal medicine study and research to bring the best of Korean skincare to its consumers.

Main Features: SK II focuses on using yeast-made formulations in skincare products. These formulations, especially PITERA are rich in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that strengthen skin barriers, make it firm, and increase cellular turnover.

Reputation: Sulhawhasoo has been the top-selling luxury skincare and cosmetic brand in Korea. Moreover, its skin-perfecting cushion along with many other products is loved by foreigners as well.

Reputation: SK II is a famous anti-aging skincare brand that is well-established in Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America. However, its popularity is declining as it is losing customers to other brands.

2. Sulwhasoo vs SK-II: Range of Items

Both Sulwhasoo and SK began their journey with the goal to make skin flawless, clear, and young. Sulwhasoo introduced its first product ABC ginseng cream while SK-II launched PITERA essence as their debut product.

These two brands have come a long way in terms of their product range and their benefits. Let us see their best sellers.



Best Sellers:

  • Clarifying mask

  • Essential Comfort Balancing Water

  • Timetreasure Invigorating Serum

  • Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Classic

  • Essential Comfort Moisturizing Gel Cream

  • Best Sellers Trial Kit

  • Essential Comfort Duo Set

Best Sellers:

  • Facial Treatment mask

  • Facial Treatment Essence

  • GenOptics Aura Essence Serum


  • SKINPOWER Airy Milky Lotion

  • First Experience Kit

  • Pitera Aura Kit

Other Products

  • Gentle Cleansing Foam

  • Gentle Cleansing Oil

  • Timetreasure Honorstige Cream

  • Timetreasure Invogirating eye cream

  • Timetreasure Invogirating Serum

  • Timetreasure Invogirating Emulsion

Other Products

  • Facial Treatment Cleanser

  • Facial Treatment Cleanser Oil

  • LXP Ultimate Revival Cream

  • LXP Ultimate Revival Eye Cream

  • LXP Ultimate Revival Serum

  • LXP Ultimate Revival Essence

Sulwhasoo has a wider range of products while the product list of SK-II is limited. Some other products of Sulwhasoo include Perfecting Cushion, Makeup Balancer, Recharging Serum for Men, Skin Reinforcing Emulsion for Men, UV daily Cream, and more.

3. Sulwhasoo vs SK-II: Prices

Let us now compare the prices of similar products to have an idea about which brand is more affordable.


Official Sulwhasoo Price

Official SK-II Price


$38 for cleansing foam

$40 for cleansing oil

$75 for cleanser

$75 for cleansing oil

Eye Cream






Face Creams






We see here that Sulwhasoo is more affordable and has more products in every Category. However, SK-II only has 2 or 3 products in each category and those are expensive as compared to Sulwhasoo.

4. Sulwhasoo vs SK-II: Social Media

In this advanced century where everything is held using social media, networks, and the internet, Sulwhasoo, and SK-II also have a mass social media following. While both are international brands, Sulwhasoo has separate social media accounts for different countries. However, SK II keeps things simple by using a single account to reach its consumers.




  • SK-II’s Official Instagram: 340k Followers (ID: skii )



SK-II official account: 61.4k followers (ID: @skii_id )

On seeing the social media game of both brands, the total international count of all of Sulwhasoo’s accounts exceeds that of SK-II showing how the brand is rooted in countries other than its hometown. However, it seems like Sulwhasoo does not focus on Twitter to reach more people.

5. Sulwhasoo vs SK-II: Celebrities and Promotions

Even after producing high-end products, brands need promotions to build trust and attract customers. The promotions could be on social media, by celebrities, or through ad campaigns.


You can see many celebrities promoting these brands. Recently, Rose from Blackpink became the official ambassador of Sulwhasoo. In the case of SK II, Mina from Twice is their next-generation brand ambassador. Here are several other celebrities promoting these brands.



  • Rose

  • Song Hye Kyo

  • Carina Lau

  • Hannah Dakota

  • Mina

  • Leah Duo

  • Ayaka Miyoshi

  • Zhang Zi Feng

Brand Campaign:

Let us now compare how the approach of both brands toward their campaign.



Its brand campaign is “From 1932 to you”.

The campaign shows a pottery-making woman who reblooms as a flower and is titled A Man Born from Mother Earth Becomes a Flower.

SK II has recently launched its brand campaign named PITERA and Me.

Many celebrities have taken part in it and it focuses on promoting taking more care of yourself and your skin.

Its ad shows miracle Asian water.

6. Sulwhasoo vs SK-II: Where to Buy

So, if you have decided to try out Asian skincare, these two brands could be your top choice. So, let us know where you can buy their products to find the secret behind the radiant, bright, and crystal clear Korean and Japanese skins.



From a Korean department store

From their Official site online

From Amazon

At Sephora

From a Japanese department store

From their Official site online

From Amazon

At Sephora

Both of the brands also offer discounts. So, if you subscribe to the Sulwhasoo newsletter now, you will receive a 10% discount on your next purchase. While SK II gifts a skincare set after spending a particular amount on their products.


We have made a thorough comparison between the top brands of the top skincare-producing Asian countries, Sulwhasoo from Korea and SK II from Japan. Which of them is better is completely up to you and up to your requirements.

While both focus on achieving the dream skin with no signs of aging, pollution, and other conditions, the main ingredients in their products are different.

Moreover, there is a difference in their prices and the number of products each brand has. So, if you are looking into basic skincare products that have a luxury feel to them, SK II is a better choice for you.

However, if you are looking for an affordable brand with multiple products targeting many skin conditions, go for Sulwhasoo.

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