The Nacific Fresh Herb Origin Serum is known as the “Damn Serum” due its supposed painful effects, but is it really as intense as the nickname suggests? We tested it to find out.
I once subscribed to the notion that if a beauty product tingled or stung, it meant it was working. I can still recall – with some perverse fondness – the sensation of the harsh products I used as young teen in the early aughts like the plumping Lip Venom gloss and acne-fighting Noxzema Pads.
One reason I now stock my routine with K-beauty products is because the formulas are effective yet generally gentle – no pain required.
That’s why I was surprised when I learned about a popular product from Korean brand Nacific that is notoriously called the “Damn Serum.”
The serum earned its nickname from the stimulating sensation it causes after application due to the inclusion of citrus oils that tighten pores and repair skin damage. I heard that the level of tingling you feel correlates to how damaged your skin barrier is; the healthier, the less you’ll feel it and vice versa.
Despite the potential for pain, the serum flew off shelves after beloved Korean actress Jun Ji Hyun called it one of her holy grails.
Once it landed on Soko Glam I was curious to find out just how expletive-inducing the serum is – I guess old habits die hard.
After bringing it home, I cleansed, toned, applied an essence, and then the serum and braced myself for impact. I felt a very subtle tingling on my cheeks and forehead and because my skin is reactive, I did experience some initial redness. Had I not been paying close attention to the results, however, I may not have even noticed. After a few uses, I no longer experienced these effects at all, which is supposed to signify that your skin is getting healthier. My skin has looked especially glowy since I began using it.
Now I can’t speak for everyone, but after reading reviews from various bloggers and YouTubers, it didn’t seem like anyone’s reaction was drastically more or less intense than mine. My conclusion is that the “Damn Serum” moniker is more of a pet name than a literal one.
But, like I learned as a teen, just because it doesn’t really hurt, doesn’t mean it’s not worth using. The brand said that the product is “beneficial for everyone” regardless of the state of your skin.
If you’re concerned about any level of tingling, the brand has stressed that they have performed stability and irritation tests on the formula and that it’s safe for all skin types. Plus, it also contains calming ingredients like aloe leaf and tumeric root extract and is free potential irritants like alcohol and parabens.