The History of Whoo

Gong Jin Hyang line

“Gong Jin Hyang” (공진향) is a skincare line designed to address first signs of aging by rebalancing skin through the application of Traditional Oriental Medicine principles. “Gong Jin Hyang” reinvigorates skin from within and improves skin resilience to reveal smooth, healthy and younger-looking skin.

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:

  • Fine lines and first signs of aging
  • Decreased elasticity
  • Dry and dehydrated skin
  • Thin and weakened skin
  • Dull and fatigued skin
  • Impaired skin barrier function
  • Individuals over 30

Main Ingredients

“Gong Jin Hyang” is a firming and nourishing anti-aging skincare line that helps restore the skin’s natural balance through the principles of Yin-Yang Harmony and Suseunghwagang (수승화강, 水昇火降).

In Oriental Medicine, the aging process is considered the consequence of the progressive depletion of Essence (정 “Jeong” in Korean, 精 “Jing” in Chinese ).

According to this theory, each person has both a congenital essence (a fixed amount inherited at birth from their parents) and an acquired essence obtained from food and drinks. Both types of essence are stored in the Kidney and they provide the energetic basis for growth, development and all living activities.

The History of Whoo - Body Essence

When a person grows old, they gradually consume all their available essence until exhaustion, which coincides with death. Essence and Qi (vital energy) have an interdependent Yin/Yang relationship: Essence is the material basis of existence that is constantly transformed to release Qi, while Qi transforms food to nourish Essence.

The History of Whoo - Qi and Essence

In particular, it’s believed that this depletion of Essence (an in turn, Qi) develops following predictable periodical cycles (“life cycles”), where each cycle is defined by specific physiological changes and patterns.

The characteristics of each life cycle are described in the first chapter of the Hwangjenaegyeongsomun (in English “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine“), a Chinese medical text considered the foundation of Oriental Medicine.

There are 7 stages of a woman’s life, with each cycle changing at an interval of 7 years, whereas men have 8 life cycles, with each cycle changing at an interval of 8 years. The body is considered in its optimal state when it reaches the Fourth Cycle (age 28 for women, age 32 for men), from the Fifth Cycle onward (age 35 for women, age 40 for men), the body starts to gradually decline and exhibit the signs of aging.

“Gong Jin Hyang” is an anti-aging skincare line based on this theory. It aims to restore the natural balance of Qi and Essence and slow down the aging process.

In particular, the line was designed to achieve this harmony through the application of an Oriental Medicine principle called “Suseunghwagang” (수승화강, 水昇火降). “Suseunghwagang” is a theory that describes Energy (Qi) circulation and literally translates to “water goes up, fire goes down”.

According to this principle, when the human body is in its optimal and balanced condition, the upper part of the body is cold (water, Yin) and the bottom part of the body is warm (fire, Yang). When the bottom part of the body is heated, the warm fire energy pushes the cold water energy toward the upper part, cooling the head. At the same time, cold water energy coming down from the head receives the warm fire energy from the heart, sinks and heats the lower abdomen, facilitating the function of internal organs.

As a result, Qi flows smoothly and the body is healthy.

If this flow is disrupted, the opposite phenomenon develops: heat stagnates in the head (resulting in headaches, insomnia, skin irritation) and cold water energy stagnates in the abdomen (resulting in digestive issues, poor blood circulation and weakened skin). As mentioned before, when the body reaches its Fifth Life Cycle, the natural balance of Qi and Essence gradually declines, which also leads to a disruption of the natural “Suseunghwagang” flow and weakened immunity. Products in the “Gong Jin Hyang” line were designed to rebalance this harmony by controlling excess heat, replenishing moisture levels and stimulating healthy energy flow.

“Gong Jin Hyang” provides a complete rebalancing treatment through the synergy of 3 actions:

  • Cheonga (청아, 清雅)  – Makes skin crystal clear.
  • Hongnyun (홍윤, 杠潤) – Makes skin luminous and radiant.
  • Juan (주안, 駐鎮) – Makes skin healthy, soft and elastic.

In particular products in the “Gong Jin Hyang” line contain “Gong Jin Solution™” (공진비단, 供辰秘丹), The History of Whoo’s signature ingredient based on a traditional royal court formula, along with “Sansam Dongchunghacho” (산삼동충하초, 山参冬虫夏草), a powerful blend of two highly-treasured Oriental Medicine ingredients.

Gong Jin Solution

All products from The History of Whoo incorporate “Gong Jin Solution“, also known as “Gongjinbidan” (공진비단, 供辰秘丹), a proprietary herbal complex that constitutes the core ingredient of the brand.

“Gong Jin Solution™” is based on “Gongjindan” (공진단, 拱辰丹), a traditional Oriental medicine prescription originally created by Chinese physician Wei Yilin. According to the classical text or Oriental Medicine “Efficacious Remedies of the Physicians” (세의득효방, 世醫得效方), “Gongjindan” was a remedy exclusively reserved  for emperors and for this reason, it earned the name of “Emperor’s Medicine”1.

The History of Whoo - Gongjindan

“Gongjindan” appears in many traditional medical texts from China and Korea and it’s described as a remedy that strengthens the body’s immune defences and brings back the natural balance between its organs.

The Donguibogam (the most representative text of Traditional Korean Medicine) describes “Gongjindan” as follows:

To this day, “Gongjindan” is a vital tonic that is still commonly used in many Asian countries to combat chronic fatigue, weak constitution and deteriorated immunity. 

Through the integration of modern science, LG Household & Health Care developed a cosmetic ingredient based on the original prescription for “Gongjindan”: “Gong Jin Solution™“.

Developed through The History of Whoo’s integrative medicine research technology, “Gong Jin Solution™” consists of:

1,2-Hexanediol, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Arginine, Butylene Glycol, Cornus Officinalis Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Extract, Glutamic Acid, Glycoproteins, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract, Water6.

In particular, the ingredient was enriched with four traditional herbal remedies:

  • Ganoderma Lucidum (영지버섯, 灵芝属), or “Ling Zhi”, is highly-regarded in Oriental Medicine for promoting health and longevity. The ingredient was first described in the Classic of the Materia Medica (also known as Shennong Bencaojing, 神農本草經) and it’s used to alleviate fatigue, strengthen the immune system, and promote overall well-being.
  • Angelica Gigas Nakai Root (참당귀뿌리, 当归), or “Dang Gui”, is known to replenish Qi and nourish Blood, meaning it restores vital energy levels and promote a healthy circulation of nutrients and energy across the body.
  • Cornus Officinalis Fruit (산수유열매, 山茱萸), or “Shan Zhu Yu”, is valued for its astringent and tonifying properties [T/N In Oriental Medicine “astringent” ingredients have the function of rebalancing the main vital substances that animate the human body: Essence, Body Fluids and Qi].
  • Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) (타임, 百里香), which boasts antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Overall, the ingredient promises to increase energy flow, while also rebalancing and reinvigorating skin to enhance the skin’s intrinsic energy and elasticity6.

⬥ Sansam Dongchunghacho (산삼동충하초, 山参冬虫夏草)

“Sansam Dongchunghacho” is a powerful herbal complex that combines two of the most treasured Traditional Oriental Medicine ingredients: Wild Ginseng and Cordyceps Sinensis

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 Ginseng4. This enhanced effectiveness, along with its natural scarcity and difficult availability, make Wild Ginseng one of the most precious herbal remedies in Oriental Medicine.

wild ginseng vs cultivated ginseng

Cordyceps Militaris is a parasitic fungus used in Oriental Medicine for its wide range of  pharmacological effects, including: anti-tumoral, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and reinvigorating properties. Much like Wild Ginseng, it’s a naturally scarce ingredient, which lead it to become the world’s most expensive fungus, with prices going up even to $140,000 per kg5.

“Sansam Dongchunghacho” is a proprietary formula powered by these these two precious ingredients. It was developed by growing Cordyceps Sinensis through a process of solid fermentation using the microorganisms naturally found in Wild Ginseng. The result is a powerful blend that promotes energy flow and restore the skin’s natural balance.

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Products

Gong Jin Hyang Firming Balancing Toner

Gong Jin Hyang Firming Balancing Toner

Gong Jin Hyang Firming Emulsion

Gong Jin Hyang Firming Emulsion

Gong Jin Hyang Firming Cream

Gong Jin Hyang Firming Cream

The History of Whoo - Gong Jin Hyang Firming Eye Cream

Gong Jin Hyang Firming Eye Cream

Gongjinhyang Intensive Nutritive Essence

The History of Whoo - Gong Jin Hyang Clarifying Cleansing Foam

Gong Jin Hyang Clarifying Cleansing Foam

Gongjinhyang Cleansing Oil

Gongjinhyang Facial Cream Cleanser

Gongjinhyang Neck And Face Sleeping Repair Mask

Gongjinhyang Royal Hand Cream SPF10

⬥ Recommended order of use

  • Gongjinhyang Facial Foam Cleanser
  • Gong Jin Hyang Firming Balancing Toner
  • Gongjinhyang Intensive Nutritive Essence
  • Gong Jin Hyang Firming Emulsion
  • Gongjinhyang Intensive Nutritive Eye Cream
  • Gong Jin Hyang Firming Cream
  • Gongjinhyang Neck And Face Sleeping Repair Mask
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Shop the Line

⬥ International retailers

⬥ South Korean retailers

Make sure to check out the Discount & Coupons page to access exclusive offers for major Korean skincare retailers.

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Notes

  1. 김은진. (2003). “나도 한번쯤 써보고 싶다! 피부 보약, 한방 화장품.” 레이디경향.
  2. LG Household & Health Care. (2017). “1조 브랜드 행차요!
  3. “피부 미학의 결정체, 더 히스토리 오브 후.” (n.d.). Www.whoo.co.kr. Retrieved  20 May 2022 from www.whoo.co.kr/brand/secretClothes.jsp.
  4. Jeong H. (2009) 인삼ㆍ산양삼ㆍ자연산 산삼의 ginsenoside 함량 분석 및 홍삼화 후 성분변화 비교. 상지대학교 학술정보원.
  5. Hou, David Anderson, Chia-Yi. (2021). “The World’s Most Valuable Parasite, Caterpillar Fungus, Can Cost up to $63,000 per Pound.” Business Insider.
  6. 더후(The Whoo). (n.d.). 더후: The whoo. 더후(THE WHOO). https://www.thewhoo.com

Source: LG Household & Health Care unless otherwise stated.
Words, Visuals: © 2024 Odile Monod unless otherwise stated.
You may not reproduce the above translation for commercial purposes without the express written consent of the author.

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