An Ode in Photos to My Elusive Muse: Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact

Warning: this post is going to be pretty much "packaging p0rn" from start to finish, but the good (?) news is that this product is impossible to find so your wallet (if not your heart) is safe.

Earlier this week I put some teaser photos on my Instagram because I had just received it and (let's be real here) I couldn't control myself.  I had to share something about it, even if I planned to do a big reveal this weekend-- and in the theme of realness, by "reveal" I mean "excuse to take a ton of gratuitous packaging p0rn photos just because it's one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen."  There's pretty packaging, and then there's this.

I had mentioned in an early episode of The Snailcast podcast that I had been looking forward to the 2015 release of the yearly Sulwhasoo Shine Classic Powder Compact, because I've always inappropriately coveted (nearly biblical-levels) the 2004 Ornamental Tile Limited Edition Sulwhasoo Shine Classic owned by @Labellevie245. However, I knew the 2004 would never be mine; a year ago, Neiman Marcus had a limited stock of them but they'd long since sold out.  I had planned to get a consolation History of Whoo pact but they're so expensive ($100-$150) and my heart really wanted a 2004 Sulwhasoo, even though I knew it was hopeless.

There are some on eBay for a ridiculous price, but I'm not about to spend $150+ on a 12 year old compact that is probably unsafe to use on my face, eh?

Then, this past weekend, magic happened; interrogation of hapless store clerks who had no idea what "Sulwhasoo" was may have also happened. #noregrets

In this post:

  • Photos of the box
  • Photos of what's inside the box
  • Photos up close and far away
  • Photos of the pattern in the powder
  • Photos for scale
  • More photos for no reason other than this is pretty

As I mentioned above, this pact is 12 years old, so there will not be product swatches, first impressions, or any other review-type content in this post (other than a photo demonstrating the size) as I'm not putting this stuff on my face.  I'll be looking into alternatives that can be placed into this pact, so if you know of something that would fit, or where to get just the insert/refill of a Shine Classic 2015 alone, please let me know!

I'll be telling the story of how I got it in between the photos, but this post is 90% photos and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Now onward to the eye candy!

I really never imagined I'd be able to find one of these, and no compact other than the History of Whoo Limited Edition pact (that @Labellevie245 also owns) has compared to the glory that is the 2004 Shine Classic.  I knew the moment that I saw the box, I was done.
Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
The box with sleeve, in all its holographic and gilded glory.  The box is a cream colour, although the lighting in later photos washes it out.
I don't care if Sulwhasoo is associated with my mother's generation, their packaging leaves me breathless with covetousness.

Right so, how I found this - one of the tips the Snailcasters talked about in the Cushion episode was buying inserts of things we wanted to try for cheap, instead of outlaying massive cash for an entire cushion set.  I was looking around for a Shine Classic insert/refill in various places (like KR sites) but not finding anything, and fellow Snailcaster Tracy of Fanserviced-b suggested I contact Neiman Marcus since they carried the Shine Classics back in the day.

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
Sliding off the sleeve reveals the same beautiful motif details on the box underneath, which is decorated all over with the stylized flower pattern featured on almost all Sulwhasoo products.
This past weekend I figured I'd give it a shot, pulled up the original product listing on NM's website, and chatted into their online support.  I then wasted the next 20+ min trying to explain to a chat support rep that I wasn't trying to request a refund/replacement of a defective item, I just wanted a refill.  You know, because powder compacts run out and need refills?  Talking to a wall.  They were so terrible that they managed to push me out of my inertia of laziness and actually call in to speak to someone else.

Thankfully, I talked to a lovely rep who immediately offered to hunt down a list of any stores that might still have the pact in stock and their numbers for me to call and confirm if they did, in fact, have any unicorns in stock.  (Incidentally, she ended up with a compliment from me to her supervisor, because dang, she earned it.)

For the next few hours, I placed call after call to Neiman Marcus stores-- languishing on hold, being transferred over and over to the wrong people and in circles to the same wrong people, being crossly told that NM had never carried Sulwhasoo, but finally at long last, I found a lovely person who had two- sadly, they were the 2005 and 2008.  Nooooo!!  Would I hold while she dug around in the back?

WOULD I HOLD?!  Would I hold for a chance at this:

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
The unicorn appears!
Yes, O Lovely Counter Person, I will hold all damn day if it means you might have a 2004 Shine Pact in your stash!

Some 10-odd minutes later, she was back.  Not only did she have the 2005s and 2008s, yes, yes she had the 2004.

SHE HAD A 2004!

I probably made some sort of horrible noise and no doubt scared her with my jubilant gibbering.  It was still at the sale price of $69 (instead of $150 retail) and they could ship it out Monday, with free shipping.  Did I want it?  GIRL JUST TAKE MY MONEY. WHERE'S MY CARD.  WHERE'S MY PURSE.  DON'T MOVE AN INCH!  *breathes heavily as wallet is rummaged out of purse with shaky hands*

A year of longing + 3 business days later, my unicorn is finally in my hands:

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
Baby you should let me love you, let me be the one to give you everything you want and need.
I honestly thought I'd never find one, at least not at a price I'd be willing to pay.  Granted, I saved up all my pennies in preparation for the 2015 Shine Classic and was completely displeased with the design when it came out.  Some people really like it, but it's no 2004, that's for sure.

I'm weak for gold metals and pearls in general, so the abalone insert and the pearlized clasp hit me right in said weak spot:

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
Look at that clasp! Also, while the top detail is plastic, the pact base is metal and the whole thing is very sturdy.
Guuh, this thing is so beautiful.  It looks amazing from all angles, and the colours in the abalone shift as you tilt it, providing hours of entertainment as I gawk at the play of light across it, mesmerized.

Still, top-down has to be the best view:

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
I'm at a loss for words.
The compact comes with the powder, a puff, a refill, and a replacement puff, as well as a little pouch to keep it in, and a booklet insert which is both beautiful and nearly impossible to scan.  I'll deal with that another day, when I'm not in danger of drop kicking my printer out the window.

Here it is all laid out:

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
The design on the booklet at bottom left is also holographic/gilded, and the inside is full of the pacts up until 2010.
Due to all the metal, the case is quite hefty and it's easy to tip over once you have it open due to the heaviness of the lid and mirror.

We'll talk about how I learned about this the hard way later.

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
Puff and replacement puff included.
This case is quite heavy, as I mentioned, and this resulted in a really unfortunate incident involving my slow reflexes, gravity, and my floor.


When it happened, I let out a horrified gasp/shriek that is normally reserved for bodily injury, so my husband came running to make sure I was okay.  I was okay, but the powder inside wasn't.  Thankfully, there was only a small set of chips at the edge, and it's not like I'm going to be using 12 year old product on my face, but it was right before I was about to take photos of the powder pattern so I was quite annoyed.

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
Mmm, that stylized Sulwhasoo flower motif gets me every time.
I should add that I did not bother with fixing the colour on this shot to be a true-to-life shade, because I'm not going to be wearing this powder on my face.  In real life, it's a bit darker and more orange/yellow.  But I didn't buy this for the powder (also reasons not to buy it at $150) I bought it for the case, with the intention to put something else in it.

So let's get back to what's important, the case.  As in, let's look at more photos of it because it's purdy.

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
Even the box and sleeve are sexy.
Since it can be really hard to grasp the relative size of things in photos, I decided to nerd it out and grabbed a ruler to show how comparatively tiny this precious wee thing is.

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
Yep, that's less than 3 inches across alright.
The nice thing about the size is that it fits comfortably in my hand, although one needs to beware the weight of it so it doesn't go crashing to the floor and break.  That was close.  Too close.  Can you imagine if the mirror had broken?  *horrified shrieking at the thought*

Here's one last photo for the road, just because ... well, just because.

Sulwhasoo Limited Edition 2004 Shine Classic Powder Compact
One more photo for the road.
Mmmm, so lovely.  If you have been stalking these older editions and are on the hunt for a 2005 or a 2008, shoot me a message because the person I purchased mine from has (at least at the time I wrote this post) a few of them in stock and I know another store (who I also called) had a few 2005/2008s as well.  It's also worth calling your local Neiman Marcus to see if they have any, although be warned that you will have to talk to a lot of people who have absolutely no idea what Sulwhasoo is and are convinced that they don't have them.

Still, your patience may be rewarded, as mine was!  I'm so thrilled, and amazed that I managed to get my hands on something that I've longed for but had no hope of getting, and for such a long time.  I did not get myself a birthday or Christmas present this year, choosing to save up in the hopes that something as beautiful as the 2004 Shine Classic might be released, but as fate and luck would have it, I ended up with the real thing.

Do you have a suggestion on what would fit in this pact or where to get a non-expired refill insert?  Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

Have something you'd like to share with me in general?  Do you have your own unicorn product that you found after a long search?  Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram at @snowwhiteandtheasianpear because I'd love to see it!

All the best,

**Disclaimer: There's nothing to be disclosed in this post, as I bought this item and I have no relationship with NM other than as a customer thirsty for this compact, and you can't buy it anywhere.  That being said, if you'd like to know about my general blog disclosures including having both affiliate and non-affiliate links in my posts, the former of which may generate a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself should you choose to click one before you shop, please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. Replies
    1. It's like that aggravatingly gorgeous person who looks good from every angle. XD I can't stop staring at it. I've put it across the room from my work desk so I can glance up and admire its loveliness at all times of the day. #noshame

    Words cannot express how gorgeous that is.

    1. Right?! I just want to stare at it and sing it the song of my people.

  3. omg the 2008 tho.
    why why why do you make me crave things I cannot have?!?

    1. If you want to shoot me an email, I have the contact info of some of the stores that had 2008s!

  4. Hey! I absolutely love your blog. It's pretty and colourful and insightful. And that packaging is gorgeous. It makes my eyes water with want!! I have recently started my own blog that is a little similar to yours. It's a little raw, but if you could check it out that was be awesome!!

    1. Hi Mahdee,

      I think your product photo background (on the beach, I think?) are really unique and pretty. In terms of advice, I personally tried to stay consistent in my blog so it would be about AB products and only about AB products (and relevant topics connected to them) so that people knew what to expect when they arrived. I think if you focus on whatever you want your blog to be and stick to it, that will help you develop your blogging "voice", although you don't have to do that- you can write about whatever you wish! :)

  5. This is so gorgeous. Makes me want to purchase some cushion cases just for display purposes only, like a crazy person. Congrats on the find!

  6. Um. I'm more concerned that a department store has skincare/makeup from 2004. Yikes! Although lucky for you, because that packages is beautiful. :')

  7. Soooooo beautiful!!! When do they normally release their yearly edition, so I can be on the lookout for it?

  8. Ugh, SO pretty! And, SO glad that this is nearly impossible to find. My poor wallet, already...

    Also, if you ever go out to Seoul, they sell lots of "traditional"-style gifts/souvenirs/tchotchkes with in-laid mother-of-pearl and they're gorgeous too! And, you can often get them at a great price, if you a) haggle, and b) buy in volume. (They're pretty inexpensive, so not that hard!)

    1. Ooo, I need to add this to my buying service list, thank you!

  9. Hello there! I just found this powder pact at Neimans. It was their last one and the powder was obviously not brand new (although the refill was sealed), so when the SA asked me if that was okay, I said I wouldn't use 10 year old powder anyway. She looked at me like I was an alien. She said the design was 2004 but the powder would have been replaced before being sold again.

    Not sure if this is the case for you, since mine was actually displayed at the Amore Pacific counter clearly meant to be sold (and not from a long lost stash). The SA said they just received 2 of the 2004 version last week. I asked if they were re-releasing and she assured me that this was definitely gone when it's gone.

    Just thought I'd share!

  10. Hello! Could you tell me what store you called that had to 2004 edition? Thanks so much! :)

    - Kala

  11. Can you tell me what Neimans you found the 2004 at?? Thanks! :)