Sample Sundays: Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect First Serum

Hi friends!

I am back for another instalment of Sample Sundays! This week I am reviewing a Korean product by request raises eyebrows from my sack of samples I have hoarded in my short time in Korea… Skinfood’s Black Sugar Perfect First Serum^^

As you may know, I have a little bit of a thing for Korean cosmetics, and Skinfood has one of my favourite skincare concepts. You may be able to guess it from the name, but all of the products are based on food! Yummm! As a self-proclaimed foodie/lover of eating, this sits very nicely with me. I really enjoy shopping at Skinfood because of this, but, much like supermarket shopping, you should never go there on an empty stomach – and some of these products really do look good enough to eat!

Skinfood's Black Sugar Perfect First Serum + special cleansing pads :)
Skinfood’s Black Sugar Perfect First Serum + special cleansing pads 🙂

But let’s get down to the serious business. Firstly, what the heck is a first serum? Good question, I too had no idea before I came to this crazy country of K-pop and kimchi and bizarre skincare products. I still sort of don’t, despite a quick Google search to help me appear like I do (in vain). I am going to just take the name of this product as a nod to the perceived benefits of this serum (‘Perfect’) and the fact that you should put it on straight after cleansing (‘First’). That’s about as much sense as it makes to me!

As I mentioned, I’ve read that with this serum you don’t need to use a (Korean-style) toner; you can just put it on straight after cleansing. This gave me hope that it wouldn’t be too heavy, as I fear most serums are! Note: this fear is actually unfounded considering I have never used a serum. They just sort of sound intense, and that’s about as scientific as I get!

Speaking of scientific, Skinfood’s Black Sugar Perfect First Serum is a little bit ‘spesh’ because it comes with its own set of cotton pads! Whoa! Someone is getting a little too big for their boots, methinks. These cotton pads are actually textured on one side and smooth on the other. The textured side is where you place the product, and you use this side to wipe the serum onto your face. The idea is that the ridges in the cotton gently exfoliate your skin, and also remove any leftover dirt and grime that your cleanser couldn’t get off. So many layers of dirt I never knew existed!

The smooth side is to be used after wiping, simply to pat down and remove any excess product. Have a looksee here:

The special textured Perfect First Serum cleansing pads
The special textured Perfect First Serum cleansing pads

(That may or may not be the results of my Nature Republic Colour Waltz wannicure from last week… yeah. I told you I’m trying to be a Korean doll, but no one’s perfect… except maybe this serum! Thanks folks, I’ll be around all evening)

My first impressions of this serum were… it’s good! It has a faint citrus-y scent and smells very clean. Not sugary at all! But considering sugar is incredibly dehydrating (and gives you bad breath), this is a good thing. Anyway. The consistency of this serum is nice, too. A few reviews had said it was a bit runny, so for the swatches I tentatively tipped the bottle toward my hand, praying that it wouldn’t go all over my couch (I could have just moved but let’s not kid ourselves, that wasn’t going to happen!). But it was quite controlled and not too runny at all, I thought. It feels concentrated, which serums are supposed to be, and it blended in so beautifully into my skin on my hand.

A swatch of Skinfood's Black Sugar Perfect First Serum... shiny!
A swatch of Skinfood’s Black Sugar Perfect First Serum… shiny!

On my face, it was a bit of a different matter (don’t panic! I still really like this!). Because I have the most sensitive skin known to mankind, the cotton pads are a bit of an issue for me. I put what I thought was enough product into the pad, but then it felt too rough while I was wiping it. So I put more on it, and tried again, but still no love. So then I decided to apply it with my fingers and wipe it off. This worked better, but still probably wasn’t ideal. I think I ended up applying a bit too much product (although you couldn’t tell from the bottle, as it looked like I had hardly used any) and so at first it felt a bit stickier than it probably usually does.

However, it settled into my skin and it did feel richly moisturised afterward. The scent fades upon application and it does provide a lot of moisture without making me too oily. If you have sensitive skin (like moi!), I would recommend you just apply it with your fingers, à la any other serum. One thing that I did love about this serum? How smooth my skin felt afterward! The textured cotton pad would do a bit of exfoliation, but if that irritates your skin, this serum still moisturises beautifully.

Would I buy this again? I honestly would need more experience with it and I haven’t yet used up my mini-bottle, so time will tell. I’m not used to serums, and it is very moisturising, but that’s what you need in winter. And, let’s not forget, to slow down ageing! Which is what all of this is about, really. I do really like the consistency of this serum, and without the cotton pads scratching at my skin (trust me, it’s super sensitive, so this probably won’t happen to you), it feels really nice. I even felt so bold as to take (and post!) a photo of me sans makeup, post-Perfect First Serum for your enjoyment! 🙂

The results! With a bit of Korean posing thrown into the mix 😉

Overall, this serum is highly moisturising and gentle on the skin. I was so excited to try it because the Black Sugar line has the bestselling Skinfood products, and it didn’t disappoint. I am going to continue to use this, and will definitely be trying the Black Sugar Wash-off Mask that everyone seems to be in love with! I actually can’t wait for that (except my bursting cupboards can!) 🙂

That’s it for today folks, I hope you enjoyed my review of Skinfood’s Black Sugar Perfect First Serum! Next week in Sample Sundays, I will be reviewing… hmm, let’s see… Nature Republic’s Snail Solution 70 Essence! I actually just did a ‘lucky draw’ from my box of samples, I think that method of selecting products will catch on!


Until next time,

Steph x

  1. I wasn’t crazy about the serum at first because it made me break out for the first little bit (or I assumed it was from that). To be honest, I kind of feared the serum and almost gave it away. But I tried it again, only using it every other day and got the results I was expecting. But I didn’t know it’s to be used in place of toner! From my google searches I was under the impression it goes on after toner… uh ohs, do I need to edit my own blog post? 😛 I like the product but when this bottle runs out I’ll probably try a different one. So keep reviewing serums please! (Also, did you try the black sugar scrub??)

    1. Haha well that is what I read, but I am surely no expert 😉 I did find it quite moisturising so it seemed to make sense for me… and I didn’t have the greatest reaction either (no breaking out – yet – but just a bit of a sticky feeling). I definitely would need to get used to it but still want to finish my bottle and see how I go.

      And no I haven’t tried the scrub yet! Everyone seems to rave about it though so it’s on my list, hehe. But let’s not talk about this again until I have made a tiny dent in my hoard. I haven’t been in a Korean cosmetics store for months, it’s highly upsetting for me! 😉

  2. The No. 1 Oringinal Black Sugar Perfect Peel off Mask is very good too. I got 2 pcs of sample, but they don’t sell in Korea when my son went there. They said only sample cannot buy. Why???

    1. Hmm I don’t know that one… Do you mean the wash off mask? You can definitely buy that one, and I reviewed it on here, but I’m not aware of a peel off mask – although it would be interesting! ^^

  3. Can I tap the Black Sugar perfect first serum using fingers instead of cotton provided. I am an elderly woman of 65 yrs old. I just bought 2 bottles of serum from Korea .

    1. Yes definitely! I much preferred to use my fingers, as my super sensitive skin will react to almost anything and rubbing it with this slightly exfoliating cotton pad wasn’t ideal. You can absolutely just apply it gently with your fingers as you would any other serum/toner/moisturiser. I hope you enjoy it! I would love to hear your thoughts on it, and thank you again for your comment 🙂

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