Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum Review
With the exception of a couple of product-testing spots I got last week, I’ve been mostly acne free for about 4 months. FOUR MONTHS. How amazing is that? Unfortunately, I still have tons of red marks left behind from my old spots. Additionally, even though I haven’t been getting any full-on breakouts, I’ve had a several of what I am now calling “almost breakouts,” which consist of a small, closed comedones that disappear within a day, but still somehow manage to leave behind red marks as if they’d been real pimples. The upside to this phenomenon is that it’s giving me the opportunity to try a ton of PIH lightening products. The bottle of lightening product I’ve finished most recently is the new Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum, and the subject of today’s review.
I’d like to preface this review by disclosing that I didn’t use this serum on it’s own – I’ve also been trying out a weekly AHA treatment by Paula’s Choice, which I’ll be covering in the next few days. However, I think the two worked nicely together – more details on that later.
What is it?
Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum ($69) is a skin brightening and spot lightening serum. It promises to brighten and improve skin tone, as well as improve the appearance of blemishes, freckles, and dull skin.
Cnidium Officinale Root (Cnidium) Extract, Angelica Acutiloba (Angelica) Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Propanediol, Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Kojic Acid, Chrysanthemum Extract (White Chrysanthemum 1,000ppm), Mushroom (Corthellus Shiitake) Extract, Peony Extract, Ginger Extract, Apricot Kernel Extract, Coix Seed Extract, Mulberry Leaf Extract, Lithospermum Erythrorhizon Root Extract, Safflower Seed Oil, Barley Extract, Rice Extract, Phaseolus Angularis Seed Extract, Soybean (Glycine Max) Seed Extract, Mung Bean Extract, Bacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Adenosine, Cyclopentasiloxane, C14-22 Alcohols, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Dimethiconol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caffeic Acid, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Glyceryl Stearate, Water, Stearic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-4 Methylglucose Distearate, Methoxy PEG-114/Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Mannitol, Trehalose, Polysorbate20, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance. (*Beautiful Fair Trade Materials used: Angelica, Cnidium)
Here are the highlights I found in for this formula:
Cnidium Officinale Root (Cnidium) Extract
The primary thing I find interesting about this ingredient is that it’s the first ingredient in this serum. What can I say? I get excited when the first ingredient in any list is functional. Most of the scientific data I found concerning Cnidium Officinale revolved around its antioxidant and free-radical scavenging properties. I did see one very brief mention of its ability to lighten skin by inhibiting a hormone called a-MSH, which is a primary player in the pigmentation of skin.
Changing skin color: Evolution and modern trends
Indian Journal of Dermatology, 2007
Kojic acid is an antibacterial, antifungal substance derived from mushrooms. It is a proven skin-lightening agent, and functions similarly to hydroquinone in that it inhibits melanin production, but it’s less likely than hydroquinone to cause irritation.
White Chrysanthemum Extract
The primary reason I included Chrysanthemum in the highlights is to clear up some misconception about its presence in this formula. The marketing for this serum touts White Chrysanthemum Extract as the star whitening agent for this formula. However, there is almost no connection between Chrysanthemums and skin lightening – the closest thing I could find was a study that very indirectly links the two, and indicates that the smell of Chrysanthemum extract indices better sleep, which, in turn, makes skin appear lighter. I find this science shaky at best, and I think it’s very strange that the marketing for this product is so misleading, when there are clearly plenty of other proven skin lightening ingredients in this formula.
Chrysanthemum extract isn’t totally pointless though – it has plenty of value as an anti-inflammatory, astringent, and anti-irritant ingredient. It also possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
Sleep Quality & Skin Lightening Effects of White Mother Chrysanthemum Aroma, 2014
Industrial Applications of Affective Engineering
Anti-inflammatory activity of Chrysanthemum indicum extract in acute and chronic cutaneous inflammation. 2009
Journal of Ethnopharmacology
For the most part, the value of peony extract is that it has such potent antioxidant properties. I did run across one study that indicated it could lighten skin discoloration caused by UVB damage, but the study was conducted on a skin model, and not actual skin.
Mulberry Leaf Extract
Mulberry Leaf Extract is popular in skin lightening formulas because of its Arbutin content. It also contains Vitamin A.
According to CosDNA, the only major red flag as far as potential acne triggers or irritants go is Cetearyl Alcohol, which ranks a 4 out 5 as a potential acne trigger, and a 3 out of 5 as a potential irritant.
Straight out of the box, the bottle for the Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum has a temporary cap on top, which contains some sort of powdered ingredient. There are instructions included, but it was fairly easy to figure out what needed to happen next on my own: the button on top of the cap needed to be pressed, which breaks the seal separating the powder from the rest of the serum. Here’s where I screwed up though: the contents of the bottle need to be shaken, and instead of waiting until I’d screwed in the actual pump, I shook it while the temporary cap was still on. I realized what a mistake this was when I removed the cap and saw how much product was stuck inside of it. I tried to salvage it, but the damage was done. I probably wasted 3 or 4 applications by not waiting until the final pump was attached to shake it. It’s worth noting that once the powder is mixed into the serum, this product only has a shelf life of about 3 months.
The finished bottle is a beautiful little thing. It’s an iridescent white, with the product name written in English on one side, and in Korean on the other. The dispensing mechanism is a sleek little pump.
The product itself is bright white, and thin but not watery.
Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum smells amazing. My first thought when I applied it was, “Wait, is this really what Chrysanthemums smell like? Why aren’t we all wearing Chrysanthemum perfume?” Note: I’m going to find a Chrysanthemum perfume, or at the very least, a body lotion.
I applied Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum morning and evening, spreading it over my face after my toning step. In retrospect, I probably could have just used this serum once a day. Additionally, I think I was using too much – I wasn’t sure how much I needed, so I’d dispense about 3 or 4 pumps because without having any frame of reference, that’s what looked like the right amount to me. In reality, I think 2 pumps would have sufficed. None of this over usage did any damage to my skin at all, but I did run out of serum in less than a month, and then I was sad. If I’d used it once a day and only used a couple of pumps, I think I would have gotten at least a couple of months out of it.
Once applied, the serum absorbs quickly and does not feel sticky, heavy, or greasy. That heavenly Chrysanthemum smell does linger for a few minutes, but I would have been happy if it had followed me for hours.
I used the White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum for just 2 days shy of a month. At no point did I experience any irritation or breakouts as a result of using this product. As previously mentioned, I did use this in conjunction with a weekly AHA treatment by Paula’s Choice, which I started using a couple of weeks after I started the Chrysanthemum Serum. I used the AHA treatment twice over those two weeks.
The stubborn PIH marks shown in the before & after photo below are from my last full-on breakout, which was just over 4 months ago.
I definitely noticed my PIH marks lightening over the month that I used this, but it wasn’t until I looked at the before and after photos that I realized how dramatic they were. Additionally, my overall skin tone definitely appeared brighter at the end of the testing period.
Overall, I’m extremely pleased with this serum. It did exactly what it promised to do, even if its Chrysanthemum marketing hype was a little misguided. It’s a pricier product, but it got me results and it was really a joy to use. I would purchase this serum again, but next time, I’ll try to go easy on the usage and try to make it last as long as it was intended.
– Brightens skin tone
– Lightens PIH
– Smells spectacular
– Light, non-greasy
Skin & Tonics Rating
Overall: A (95/100)
Where to Buy
I bought my Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Powder Serum at W2Beauty, where it retails for $69. First time W2Beauty customers can get a $5 W2Beauty voucher by entering my sponsor code at sign-up: 025605.
It’s also available from eBay seller 2bestyle for $68.
This post contains affiliate links. Shopping these links helps support this site. Full disclosure »