The History of Whoo – Cheongidan line
Xunling, The Empress Dowager Cixi (1903)
The History of Whoo’s Cheongidan (천기단) is an anti-aging skincare line based on a modern reinterpretation of the royal beauty secrets of Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty. The empress was known to have an extensive beauty routine that allowed her to maintain her youthful appearance even in mature age. American portrait painter Katharine Carl, who lived in the Chinese Imperial Court for nine months and became a close acquaintance of the Empress, argued that Cixi had a “wonderfully youthful appearance”1.
Photographs of Empress Cixi in her 70s caused a sensation in the West as they showed the sovereign having a perfect smooth complexion with no visible wrinkles. However, critics later argued that official portraits were retouched to enhance the Empress’s beauty2.
The History of Whoo’s Cheongidan line is a premium anti-aging skincare line to address complex signs of aging.
Disclaimer: I personally translated the majority of facts and contents in this article from original Korean sources, so I kindly ask you to credit my work if you’re planning to use any of the information included in this guide.
Many concepts mentioned in this guide are based on Oriental Medicine principles, for a better understanding please refer to the introduction to Traditional Korean Medicine on this website. It’s important to stress out that there is no correspondence between Oriental Medicine organs and Western anatomy so capitalised names in this article shouldn’t be interpreted in the Western medical sense.
⬥ Recommended for
- Thin and weak skin
- Loss of elasticity
- Decreased skin density
- Dull and tired-looking skin
- Premature aging
- Very dry skin
- Individuals over 40
All products in the Cheongidan line provide a complete treatment in 3 stages that promises to slow the skin aging process from inside out:
- Step 1: Cheongi Effect – A step-by-step action of 26 herbal ingredients following the 6 Qi theory
- Step 2: Hwa Hyun Effect – Replenishing skin nutrients through precious ingredients like Wild Ginseng With Pearl Knots (t/n small protuberances found on the fine rootlets of wild ginseng) and Deer Antler Tips.
- Step 3: Inside-Out Synergy – Skin’s appearance becomes healthy and radiant.
⬥ Cheongibidan (천기비단, 天氣秘丹)
All Cheongidan products contain Cheongibidan (천기비단, 天氣秘丹), an elaborate herbal formula that promotes skin regeneration.
Cheongibidan is a herbal complex based on the beauty practices of Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi. It’s composed of 26 premium herbal ingredients to address complex signs of aging.
Cheongibidan works both on the inside and the outside of the skin: by controlling the flow of the 6 Qi‘s on the inside, Cheongibidan helps boost skin’s natural luster on the outside.
In Oriental Medicine, the theory of 5 Periods and 6 Qi (오운육기, 五運六気) describes the influence of seasonal and climatic changes on the health of human beings. According to the “Advanced Textbook of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology”:
Wind, cold, summer-heat, damp, dryness, and fire are the six climatic factors which correspond to normal seasonal changes. Normally, they are known as the “Six Qi.” (…). The Six Qi normally will not cause diseases. However, if and when the Six Qi become abnormal or excessive, as happens in abrupt changes in environmental conditions, and if the body’s resistance is too weak to adapt to these variations, the Six Qi may become the six excesses: pathogenic factors that cause diseases3.Advanced Textbook of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology
When body’s immunity is weakened or compromised, the 6 environmental forces called 6 Qi become injurious by invading the body and they are traditionally referred to as “6 Pernicious Influences” or “6 Evils” in Oriental Medicine.
In relation to the skin aging process, the 6 Evils manifest through these symptoms:
- Fire (火) – Decrease in elasticity
- Damp (湿) – Wrinkles
- Heat (暑) – Red flushes
- Dryness (燥) – Extreme dryness
- Cold (寒) – Body Fluids deficiency (t/n In Oriental Medicine, “Body Fluids” are one of the 5 Vital Substances and are responsible for providing moisture and nourishment to the tissues)
- Wind (风) – Tight-feeling skin. Pigmentation disorders (Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma)
The elaborate formula of Cheongibidan was created to target all these symptoms at once.
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⬥ Wild Ginseng With Pearl Knots (산삼옥주)
Panax Ginseng is one of the most expensive Hanbang herbs. Ginseng is also known as “Shincho” (신초, 神草), meaning “God’s Herb”, and in Oriental Medicine it’s commonly used to replenish Qi (“tonify Qi”) across the Five Organs (오장, 五臟).
Wild Ginseng (Panax Ginseng Meyer cv. Silvatica) and Cultivated Ginseng present significant differences, both in terms of market price, morphology and of general properties. In fact, Wild Ginseng was shown to contain at least 10 times the amount of active compounds of Cultivated Ginseng6. This enhanced effectiveness, along with its natural scarcity and difficult availability, make Wild Ginseng one of the most precious herbal remedies in Oriental Medicine.
Different morphological characteristics of Wild Ginseng (sx) and Cultivated Ginseng (dx). (source: YTN)
Pearl knots are small protuberances found on the fine rootlets of some Wild Ginseng plants and they store nutrients absorbed from the soil during growth.
The biological nature of pearl knots is the foundation of the seasonal absorbing root of ginseng4. Meaning that the number of pearl knots of a ginseng plant can help observers get a general understanding of the plant’s age, with a high number of pearl knots indicating a longer growth time.
Pearl knots are mostly found in Wild Ginseng plants and they’re usually scarce in Cultivated Ginseng5.
This makes Wild Ginseng With Pearl Knots an incredibly precious ingredient and the ultimate source of skin vitality and health. The ingredients helps stimulate cell regeneration as well as boost the skin’s immune defenses.
⬥ Deer Antler Tips (녹용분골)
Deer Antlers are naturally rich in collagen and amino acids. In Oriental Medicine the ingredient is commonly used to improve symptoms of aging because it helps tonify Qi and Blood. and, in turn, reinvigorate the body. Deer Antlers help stimulate skin regeneration, replenish skin nutrients and relieve dryness.
Deer Antler Tips are the most desirable parts of Deer Antlers. Since antlers grow from the tip, Deer Antler Tips are the part of the antlers with the most abundant growth factors and active components.
Cheongidan Radiant Rejuvenating Balancer
Cheongidan Radiant Rejuvenating Emulsion
Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Essence
Cheongidan Illuminating Regenerating Essence
Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Gold Concentrate
Cheongidan Wild Ginseng Facial Oil
Cheongidan Ultimate Lifting Ampoule Concentrate
Cheongidan Intensive Brightening Ampoule Concentrate
Cheongidan Nutritive Essential Ampoule Concentrate
Cheongidan Illuminating Refining Essence
Cheongidan Regenerating Eye Serum
Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Cream
Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Eye Cream
Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Wrinkle Repair
Cheongidan Illuminating Refining Pad
Cheongidan Gold Ampoule Mask
Cheongidan Radiant Cleansing Foam
Cheongidan Radiant Soft Foam Cleanser
Cheongidan Radiant Cleansing Balm
Cheongidan Double Radiant Base
Cheongidan Double Radiant Base Pink
Cheongidan Radiant Essence Foundation
Cheongidan Radiant Essence Cushion
Cheongidan Radiant Powder Pact
Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating UV Protection Cream SPF50+/PA++++
⬥ Recommended order of use
- Cheongidan Radiant Rejuvenating Balancer
- Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Gold Concentrate
- Cheongidan Wild Ginseng Facial Oil
- Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Essence
- Cheongidan Radiant Rejuvenating Emulsion
- Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Eye Cream
- Cheongidan Radiant Regenerating Cream
⬥ International Retailers
Make sure to check out the Discount & Coupons page to access exclusive offers for major Korean skincare retailers.
⬥ Korean Retailers
1. Chen, D. (2013). “The Western Perception of Empress Dowager Cixi”. Master of Arts. University of Victoria.
2. Peng, Y. (2013). “Lingering Between Tradition And Innovation: Photographic Portraits Of Empress Dowager Cixi.” Ars Orientalis, Vol. 43.
3. State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. (1995). “Advanced Textbook on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology”. New World Press.
4. Li M, Li RJ, Liu MY. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1989;14(11):654-701.
5. Qi, Z., Li, Z., Guan, X., Wang, C., Wang, F., Li, P., & Liu, J. (2019). “Four Novel Dammarane-Type Triterpenoids from Pearl Knots of Panax ginseng Meyer cv. Silvatica. Molecules£ (Basel, Switzerland), 24(6), 1159. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24061159
6. Jeong H. (2009) 인삼ㆍ산양삼ㆍ자연산 산삼의 ginsenoside 함량 분석 및 홍삼화 후 성분변화 비교. 상지대학교 학술정보원.
Sources: LG Household & Health Care (unless otherwise stated)
Translation: © 2022 Odile Monod
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The History of Whoo: The Ultimate Guide - The Monodist by Odile Monod