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Review: Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence

Sceptics argue that additional skin care steps such as essences are just an industry scam intended to loosen the purse strings of willing, and above all gullible, consumers. But I absolutely don’t think so. Essences, in my experience, make the difference between good skin and good skin that’s also radiant and youthful.

My skin and skin care routine right now

For the past year or so, my skin has been nothing short of amazing: clear, blemish-free and no fuss! Having spent the entire year before that figuring out skin care, how it works, which my skin needs, definitely paid off.

Lately, however, I tried to cut a few steps from my skin care routine and reduce everything to just moisturizer. Seeing how well my skin was, I thought it could take it. And yeah, it could. But it also lost its rosiness, its healthy glow which recently started to inspire everyone from my girl friends to my mother to my mother-in-law to a “You look good!” whenever they saw me. When they didn’t compliment me anymore I knew cutting back on my skin care was not such a great idea.

So now my regular skin care routine consists of four steps again: foam cleanser, essence, ampoule, rice bran oil. Five steps, if I’m going outdoors (the additional step being sunscreen in the morning, and cleansing balm in the evening to double-cleanse). Two steps, if I’m exfoliating. Or none at all, if I’m lazy. But to be fair, I can only afford to be lazy if I commit to my full skin care routine occasionally. And its most important component?


What makes the Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence special

I know I blab about antioxidants often, such as here and here. But the past month has shown me that without any, you just get the plain basics when you could have so much more.

sum37 secret programming essence

The Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence contains antioxidants galore! Its main selling point is that it is concocted from about eighty different plant extracts. But the real kicker is that they’ve all been fermented, which some claim improves absorption through the skin. Though that claim does not have any scientific backing to it (yet), so who knows?

But eighty different plant extracts, ey? Yup, that definitely got me. Give me all the plant extracts, please! Though to be realistic about it, anything as liquid as an essence is at least 95% water – as I wrote in this post on how to read an ingredients list. So we can’t expect any of the extracts to amount to much overall. But a mix of so many together still has the potential to be potent. And, to cut to the chase, the point of my post after all is that it is.

The Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence and me

I purchased the Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence exactly a year ago in Seoul for a special offer price, but which was still expensive. However, by using essences like spray mists I find it easy to make any bottle last. Now that I’m through the whole thing soon, however, I’m seriously considering repurchasing it.

Take away the essence from my routine and my skin is just meh. It’s still clear, it’s still neither dry nor is it oily, it just… is. I find I look distinctly more tired (which I am!) and closer my age (which is 30). But add it in again and I look like I get a full night of uninterrupted sleep every night and have not a care in the world, even though I’m tired every day and always a bit freaked out. I also might still look 30, but I do believe I now look a fresh one at that.

As for what the essence does exactly, the clearest I can tell is that it notably moisturizes, soothes and smoothes the skin. Skin looks well hydrated, juicy and as if it had more youthful “bounce” to it.

In conclusion

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photographic evidence that it works like I say. This would require a picture of my bare face in semi-close up, and I don’t feel particularly comfortable with that. So what remains is my subjective impression, my willingness to shell out so much again for another bottle of this stuff, as well as the compliments I get regularly. Compliments that I don’t get when I don’t use the essence, which I thought was remarkable enough. But still, I don’t have more to offer than that.

Also, for the sake of completeness, do note that the essence isn’t the only antioxidant bomb I drop on my skin. The Scinic Aqua All-in-one Ampoule definitely contributes its fair share, too. I know, because I replaced it with this very basic gel moisturizer once, and didn’t get the same results. On the other hand, the ampoule alone didn’t quite cut it either while the essence alone got close, so I’m still not wrong espousing the merits of the Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence.

Have you tried this? What are your thoughts?



  1. Shinyee says

    Thank you for this helpful review!
    Do you use this together with Missha First Treatment Essence, or separately?
    Which one is the better one comparing Missha and Su:m37 essence?


    • Separately! And I like the Su:m37 better, because it is a tiny, tiny, little bit more viscous and therefore more moisturizing.


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