I think I’m starting to develop a preference for Kbeauty brand, The Saem. Back in circa 2012, it was my dad who unintentionally introduced me to it during a trip to Korea. Not usually a skincare person, he caught sight of the never-ending lineup of beauty stores and decided he wanted to try some anti-aging stuff. I saw their Gem Miracle line with shimmer pigments and pearly balls suspended in their toner and serum, respectively. This was a relatively new concept (at least, to me) at the time, and it blew my mind. Fast forward to 2016-2017, where the brand still doesn’t have a boutique in the Philippines, but they do have several items for sale in Althea Korea.
Just like that day when I spotted the Gem Miracle line, I found myself amazed at the presentation of the The Saem Iceland skincare line. In fact, it has now become my summer skincare routine.
Quick Specs: made in Korea
The packaging was obviously the first thing that drew me in. I seem to have a thing for sleek or minimalist pieces, though I do occasionally indulge in the food-themed packaging that Kbeauty brands often turn to. The Iceland products are contained in sturdy plastic containers, bottles for the toner/essence/emulsion and a jar for the cream. Only the Iceland Hydrating Essence has a pump dispenser, but more on that later.
The Saem Iceland Hydrating Toner (PHP 560 at 160 ml / 5.41 fl oz) has the slightest watery-gel consistency to it that traps a lot of air bubbles. Give it a light tilt and watch those bubbles rise to the top like sparkling water, which is so fascinating to look at. On the skin there is only a hint of tackiness as it dries. I usually just use my hands to apply, but I’ll also pour the toner onto a cotton pad for added exfoliation on heavy makeup days.
Because I’m obsessed with essence right now, I knew that I just had to try The Saem Iceland Hydrating Essence (PHP 680 at 60 ml / 2.02 fl oz). The cloudy gel with suspended white micro balls are dispensed through a pump, and I do get a fair mix of gel and crushed micro ball that dissolves evenly onto the skin. At this point, I’m starting to get the coated-skin feeling, but it isn’t too sticky.
When I’m feeling lazy, I finish up the regimen with The Saem Iceland Hydrating Emulsion (PHP 600 at 140ml / 4.73 fl oz). When it is at its fullest, it can be hard to dispense the contents of the hard plastic bottle. You have to learn how to get the emulsion out by jiggling and slapping the bottle like you would ketchup. But apart from that, I find that the emulsion serves as an excellent light lotion that can be used comfortably day and night.
Finally, the regimen is capped off with The Saem Iceland Water Volume Cream (PHP 680 for 80 ml / 2.70 fl oz). There are two variants of this, for combination and for oily skin, and I have the former. The gel-cream has the same feel on the face as a sleeping pack, but absorbs a little faster.
It should be mentioned that all the products in this line share a mild floral scent that doesn’t stay too long on the face. I find the fragrance non-offensive and kind of cologne-y.
Verdict: If I spend a lot of time in air conditioned rooms, I do feel like I have to do the full routine at the very least in order for my skin to be hydrated sufficiently. For the most part, this line seems to be developed to give the most comfortable level of rich hydration that won’t feel too sticky in summertime room temperature. If it’s hardcore dry air you’re facing, try a richer set.