propolis light ampoule reviews

propolis light ampoule reviews

I’ve loved honey, propolis, and royal jelly skincare for years. They were among my first favorite skincare ingredients, and for good reason.

Always Bee My Baby: A Review of COSRX’s New Propolis Products

Change comes to all brands over time, even those that were beloved just as they were, like COSRX. Sometimes brands evolve, retaining their core concepts while expanding their product lines. Sometimes they begin reaching in entirely new directions.

COSRX has done both. In my review of their Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream, I lamented the brand’s decision to add fragrant essential oils to their product. EOs are known irritants for many people’s skin, and the addition of bergamot oil to the cream struck me as a move away from COSRX’s founding philosophy, which was to produce practical, high-performance products with minimal ingredients, making them suitable for sensitive skin without sacrificing performance.

I’m happy to find that with the release of their new propolis products, COSRX has delivered new offerings while going back to their core concept. No bergamot oil here!

COSRX propolis

What can bee products do for your skin?

I’ve loved honey, propolis, and royal jelly skincare for years. They were among my first favorite skincare ingredients, and for good reason.

All produced by adorable fat bees working hard in the fields and hives, honey, propolis, and royal jelly can be fantastic for skin. All three have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing potential. Honey, as I wrote on my blog back in 2015, is “a potent natural moisturizer packed with skin-friendly humectants, emollients, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.” Propolis, meanwhile, brings my skin a glow that few other ingredients can match.

COSRX propolis

COSRX’s past use of propolis has generally impressed me. I credit the propolis in the Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol with rapidly shrinking any surprise pimples I get, especially those big, hard, throbbing ones that pop up under the skin and otherwise cause days of pain and swelling. The propolis in their honey-free Ultimate Moisturizing Overnight Honey Mask calms my skin when it’s irritated. And while the Propolis Light Ampule doesn’t give me quite the same glow as the old LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule, it does deliver a dose of soothing propolis in a smooth, hydrating gel consistency that my skin enjoys.

This past history suggests the brand knows what it’s doing when it comes to bee ingredients, so when my old friend Hye-Young over at COSRX offered to send me their new Full Fit propolis line, I jumped at it! Here are my impressions so far.

COSRX Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner

This was the product I was most excited about. I don’t think I’ve ever used a propolis toner before. I’m also a giant ho for a good hydrating toner. Hydrating toners are one of my favorite steps in my routine, for the way they quickly plump up my skin while leaving it feeling soft and free of heavy residue. Also, look at this ingredients list:

COSRX Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner ingredients: Propolis extract (72.6%), honey extract (10%), butylene glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, glycerin, betaine, cassia obtusifolia seed extract, panthenol, polyglyceryl-10 laurate, polyglyceryl-10 myristate, ethylhexylglycerin, sodium hyaluronate, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, caprylic/capric triglyceride

A large amount of propolis extract, a good amount of honey extract, and no fragrant essential oils? I’m IN.

Happily for me, the Propolis Synergy Toner is exactly what I’d hoped it would be.

It has that classic hydrating toner feel: thicker than water but thinner than a serum, with plenty of slip to help it glide smoothly over skin. It sinks into my skin quickly and instantly quenches even the thirst my face feels on a super dry Santa Ana winds day.

(Yes, I’m aware that I complain about the Santa Ana winds a lot. If you had to suffer through multiple days in a row of these winds forcefully sucking the very life force out of your skin from dawn to dusk every time you leave the house, you’d hate them, too.)

Even better than the basic hydrating toner benefits that the Propolis Synergy Toner provides are the benefits of the propolis and honey in it — these ingredients aren’t added to this product simply for the label claims. When I use this as my only step before moisturizer in my morning routine, my skin stays noticeably smoother and calmer throughout the day. This toner adds that very particular weightless but substantial moisture that perfectly enhances a lightweight and fast-drying day cream.

Also, it doesn’t smell like anything.

COSRX Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule

Ooh, they fixed the spelling! The older packaging for this product spelled it “Ampule,” which gives both me and my spellcheck fits.

Packaging is the only thing that seems to have changed for this particular product, which COSRX has been producing for a few years now. Based on the ingredients, it’s the same product. Here are those ingredients:

COSRX Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule ingredients: Propolis extract (83.25%), butylene glycol, glycerin, betaine, 1,2-hexanediol, cassia obtusifolia seed extract, sodium hyaluronate, hydroxyethylcellulose, carbomer, panthenol, arginine

As you can see, the ingredients for the ampoule bear a striking resemblance to the ingredients for the toner. Interestingly, however, while the ampoule contains a higher concentration of the propolis than the toner, I find its performance to fall a bit short of that earlier step product.

The Propolis Light Ampoule isn’t a bad product by any means, at least not for me. This thick but quick-absorbing gel has a pleasantly substantial consistency and skinfeel, and, once again, it doesn’t smell like anything, which is a major plus. But while it delivers some redness reduction, it doesn’t quite perform at the level of the best propolis products. Nor does it give quite the same plumping and moisturizing effects as the toner, surprisingly.

It is hard to tell a full story from an ingredients list, but I do have my theories. The Propolis Light Ampoule contains more propolis but no honey, and in general I’ve found that honey gives a more powerful moisture boost than propolis alone. In addition, the toner contains a no doubt tiny but still present dose of the moisturizing ingredient caprylic/capric triglyceride, which you’ll often find in creams and in lotion-type sheet masks.

cosrx propolis

For this reason, if I had to choose between the toner and the ampoule, I’d choose the toner every time. Despite that, I do think the ampoule is a nice starter product for someone interested in propolis. The relative simplicity of the ingredients list and the lack of many common irritants makes it an especially low-risk item to experiment with.

COSRX Full Fit Propolis Light Cream

I felt the most ambivalent about accepting the cream product in the Full Fit line. Not because of any hesitation about using it, but because I’m currently experiencing a certain Golden Age of moisturizers. My current rotation of moisturizers is unusually full of total holy grails, including but not limited to:

* COSRX’s own Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask sleeping pack as well as the “honey” sleeping pack discussed in the beginning of this article.

* Banila Co’s updated Miss Flower and Mr Honey Cream, a magical balm-type cream that I pull out on the driest of dry nights.

* Sulwhasoo’s Overnight Vitalizing Mask and recently released Timetreasure Revitalizing Sleeping Mask for when I need to wake up with extreme radiance.

* Both the original and rich formulations of the Curology moisturizer, which I turn to frequently for day.

* And the updated version of Soo Ae’s Donkey Milk 3D Moisture Cream, which I’ve long relied on to heal up a damaged barrier after I’ve gotten too enthusiastic with my actives.

It would be hard for any moisturizer to compete with a roster like that.

cosrx propolis

Still, I’m glad I gave the Propolis Light Cream a shot. It fills a nice gap in my routine when I want either a richer-than-usual day moisturizer or a nourishing and emollient but not $200 night moisturizer, and it does it with grace.

COSRX Full Fit Propolis Light Cream ingredients: Propolis extract, butylene glycol, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, 1,2-hexanediol, honey extract, royal jelly extract, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, cassia obtusifolia seed extract, cetearyl olivate, beeswax, cetearyl alcohol, sorbitan olivate, allantoin, arginine, carbomer, xanthan gum

COSRX discloses the concentrations of their bee ingredients a little differently for the cream. The box states that the product contains 65.69% “Full Fit Pro-Barrier Complex,” which combines propolis, honey, and royal jelly extracts. I’m guessing here that the propolis makes up the vast majority of the complex, with the honey and royal jelly extracts present in far smaller amounts that might look silly listed out on the label. In any case, as long as the product performs well, that’s fine.

This is a light and watery-feeling cream with a silky, almost puddinglike texture that belies its intensive emollient qualities. Despite its insubstantial consistency, this cream delivers medium to medium-heavy moisture on my skin: plenty to lock in my hydrating layers at night, and plenty to protect my skin from Santa Ana winds and alcohol-heavy sunscreens by day.

As for the “Pro-Barrier Complex,” I’m not sure that’s the most accurate name for it. I wouldn’t rely on this cream to restore a barrier damaged by over-exfoliation or high pH cleansers, since it lacks the ceramides and cholesterol I’d expect to see in a cream marketed for that purpose.

On the other hand, however, the propolis, honey, and royal jelly extracts in this cream can help with the irritation and inflammation caused by a damaged barrier, so I do see the reasoning behind the name. I’ve used this cream after a peel as well as on nights when my skin felt unhappy due to heavy tret usage, and I have found that it relieves stinging and sensitivity rapidly after application. It also helps to prevent morning-after redness on my skin. The Propolis Light Cream has quickly earned a spot in my moisturizer rotation, and my complexion is happier because of it.

-crazy hydrating
-calms my redness
-gorgeous immediate glow

Cosrx propolis light ampoule review I Still my holy grail propolis

Cosrx proplis light ampoule review

Introducing my holy grail propolis ampoule which I’m kind of scared to share because I don’t want this product to ever be sold out. I was first introduced to this propolis ampoule 5 years ago by Jimin on the team and I fell in love ever since. I don’t even think you’ll have to read through my review anymore because I just told you this is THE shit. But if you still want to hear why it is so damn good, keep reading :).

Full name of product:
Cosrx propolis light ampoule

Limited edition/ Permanent?:

Description of product:
“Contains 83.25% of black propolis, which is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredient, the ampule helps to heal stressed skin and reduce redness. Since the ampoule is developed with a focus on the texture, even with the high percentage of ingredients and the viscous texture, it helps your makeup sticks well and doesn’t feel oily and greasy.

Minimum ingredient list with 11 ingredients
We kept the ingredient list short and simple and exclude all the unnecessary ingredients. All ingredients are EWG All Green grade and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredient and hypoallergenic tested so that even the sensitive skin can use without any worries.”

23,5000 won

Amount of product:
30 mL

Duration before expiration:
12 months

Country of Manufacture:
Made in Korea

Animal testing?:

Propolis Extract, Honey Extract, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Betaine, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract, Panthenol, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

Cosrx propolis light ampoule review

How to use:
1. Apply evenly after cleansing and toning step.
2. Gently massage and pat over the entire face for quick absorption and proceed to moisturizer step. Product packaging:
If you guys are familiar with their original packaging, this is definitely an upgrade and uses much fewer materials. The original one had a glass bottle and dropper with a plastic lid, which never really made sense to me since it is just an extra step. The new packaging has an all-plastic exterior with the lid resembling a honey dipper (so cute!).

Cosrx propolis light ampoule review best propolis product

I’m not too sure if the dropper is glass or plastic, but I have a feeling it is plastic? I tried tapping it but I just cannot tell! I just hope it is all plastic so it would be easier to recycle, that’s all.

Cosrx propolis light ampoule review

Texture/ Finish:
The texture of this ampoule is just what I would expect out of an ampoule. This product is on the thicker side and somewhat like a jelly texture but melts into the skin after 30 seconds, leaving your skin with the most beautiful glow. Propolis Extract, the resinous material collected by bees used to construct their hives, helps heal, soothe problematic skin while being crazy hydrating, is the first ingredient in the list alongside Glycerin (moisture), Betaine (moisturizing property to prevent wrinkles), Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic acid) and Panthenol being all the ingredients in this beautiful ampoule.

Cosrx propolis light ampoule review

Lovely, the back of my hand doesn’t show you shit at all but trust me when I say this product gives you that long-lasting glow my dry skin needs. I see immediate improvements with my dry skin, it plumps and keeps the redness and irritation at bay for me.

No fragrance added and no fragrance detected.

-crazy hydrating
-calms my redness
-gorgeous immediate glow

No complaints at all.

Hell yea man!

Stars given out of 5:

Overall thoughts:
This is one of my old holy grails, so you really don’t need to be surprised to see it having my holy grail stamp of approval. Cosrx Propolis light ampoule will be one of those products forever in my vanity for its amazing glow, hydrating properties, and its anti-bacterial properties. I’ve tried so many propolis/ honey products but they all fail in comparison to this gem. If you don’t want it to be too crazy hydrating, they also have a lighter version of this ampoule for those who have combo to oily skin types as well so check it out!

After cleansing and toning, take a moderate amount and apply evenly onto the face, avoiding the eye area. Pat lightly to aid absorption.

COSRX Propolis Ultra Light Ampoule – Review

The COSRX Propolis Ultra Light Ampoule is Infused with 81.6% of black bee propolis extract, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This is a reformulation of the original propolis ampoule and has a lighter texture that hydrates and nourishes the skin without leaving a sticky residue. It is recommended as an alternative for those with oilier or acne-prone skin types or those looking to benefit from the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of propolis.

COSRX Claim:

COSRX’s bestselling ampoule now comes with a lighter, fresher finishing! With over 80% propolis extract, this ampoule helps to increase the skin’s ability to absorb and retain moisture, while also calming and revitalizing irritated or damaged skin.

Appearance and Scent:

The ampoule is a lightweight, gel-like texture that is hydrating yet absorbs easily. It has a low viscosity and spreads like water. The scent is a light honey aroma, from the propolis complex. There are no added fragrances in the formula.

Packaging, Size and Expiry:

The ampoule comes in a plastic bottle with a plastic dropper. The size is 30 ml and the expiry is 30 months after manufacture or 12 months after opening.

How to Use:

After cleansing and toning, take a moderate amount and apply evenly onto the face, avoiding the eye area. Pat lightly to aid absorption.

Ampoules are similar to a serum except they they generally contain a much higher concentration of active ingredients and are formulated to target specific concerns. They can be used in the place of a serum or used before a serum.

Application order:

Cleanser -> Toner -> COSRX Propolis Ampoule ->Serum (if desired) -> Moisturizer -> SPF (daytime)
Oil cleanser ->Cleanser -> Toner -> COSRX Propolis Ampoule ->Serum (if desired) -> Moisturizer (nighttime)

Price and Number of Uses:

I purchased this from StyleKorean for USD $24. I estimate it will last me me around three months with daily usage.


Propolis Extract, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Betaine, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Panthenol, Carbomer, Arginine

Ingredient Analysis:

Propolis Extract is also referred to as “bee glue” a wax-like substance that honeybees produce after collecting resin from flowers and mixing with salivary enzymes. They then use this product for protecting and repairing their hive. Humans have been finding uses for this substance since 300 BC, for everything from treating wounds and tumors to mummifying ancient Egyptians. In modern times, we now know that propolis is effective for these purposes due to its wide assortment of biological actives and chemical compounds. This results in an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity that skincare manufactures have been incorporating into their formulas due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties. It is high in phenolic compounds, esters, flavonoids, terpenes, beta-steroids Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and E. It also contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, zinc, manganese and iron.

This clinical study was preformed on 40 patients with acne vulgaris. Half were treated with a topical propolis solution. The treatment group showed a highly significant clinical efficiency in treating acne vulgaris and the researchers concluded propolis can be considered an effective, safe alternative medicine for the treatment of acne.

Butylene glycol is a common ingredient in skincare and cosmetics. It is very efficient at enhancing the penetration of active ingredients and acts as a humectant and solvent with antimicrobial properties. It can be used to decrease the viscosity of a formulation or to mask unpleasant odors. It is considered to be non-toxic and non-irritating when applied topically.

Glycerin is a skin-conditioning agent, skin protectant, and humectant (water binder) that occurs naturally within the skin and assists in the development of immature skin cells. Having adequate amounts of glycerin available within the skin is crucial for those who suffer from psoriasis or non-melanoma skin cancers.

Betaine is a naturally occurring amino acid called trimethylglycine. It is extracted from sugar beets (Beta vulgaris) and functions as a skin-conditioning agent, humectant and a viscosity increasing agent. It has also been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory and shows some benefits as an antiaging agent that can protect the skin from free radical damage.

Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract is a plant seed extract high in polysaccharides that act as skin conditioning agents. The extract is anti-inflammatory and assists in the healing of acne and capable of mimicking the water plumping the effect of hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid and its derivatives offer superior moisturization as the skin-identical molecules are capable of penetrating deep into the dermis and absorbing 1000 times their weight in water. The lower the molecular weight, the deeper the molecule can penetrate the skin. Sodium Hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid that exists as a smaller molecular size than hyaluronic acid, is more water-soluble, and is less likely to oxidize. It provides more significant moisturization as the molecule is capable of penetrating deeper into the dermis. It is ideal for use in skincare due to its biocompatibility, consistency, and hydrophilicity (water-loving nature).

Panthenol is the pro-vitamin (biologically active precursor) to Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) present in all body cells and plays an essential role in cellular metabolism. In skincare it functions as a moisturizer and emollient, and is especially useful for calming irritation, relieving itching, healing wounds and treating sunburn. When applied topically, it attracts water from the atmosphere, reduces water loss, reduces inflammation and helps heal skin damaged by exposure to irritation, including that caused by sulphates. It can also help with antiaging by increase fibroblast proliferation increasing collagen and elastin synthesis and reducing pigmentation by inhibiting melanin.

Carbomers are a group of synthetic, high molecular weight polymers that are used as thickeners and suspending agents, capable of stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions. They are considered to be a safe cosmetic ingredient and are present in many products.

Arginine is considered to be one of the most metabolically versatile amino acids and is involved in several metabolic pathways within the human body. When taken orally, it has demonstrated several antiaging benefits. Studies on the topical use of arginine are limited. It is incorporated into skincare for its antioxidant properties, because it is an essential building block of collagen and because it is a component of the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) of the skin. NMF’s are efficient humectants, attracting moisture and playing an essential role in maintaining the stratum corneum’s physical properties, allowing the skin to function optimally.

pH Testing:

I got a pH result of 5.

pH Analysis:

The pH of this ampoule is within the pH of the skin (range 4.0-6.0), and close to the average pH value (4.7). This makes this perfect for nourishing and protecting the skin moisture barrier. Learn why the pH of skincare products is so important here.


I have wanted to try this ampoule after falling in love with the COSRX Propolis light cream (You can read my review here). In the 6 weeks, I have been using it, it has done an excellent job of calming and soothing my skin, and I really like how lightweight this ampoule is. While this product is targeted towards oilier skin types, I have dry skin prone to dehydration, yet this was perfect for me. It sits well with other products in my routine and my redness and irritation have improved. Propolis is a fantastic ingredient anyone can benefit from and anytime I use it in my routine I notice my skin looks more healthy and resilient. The formula is hydrating and soothing, and has a small number of effective yet hypoallergenic ingredients, making it especially great for anyone with sensitive or reactive skin. I would also recommend this to anyone with acne or dermatitis.

Things I Liked:

  • Formulated close to skins pH
  • Contains quality ingredients in high concentrations
  • Free of perfumes, alcohol, and preservatives
  • Hydrating and skin-repairing
  • Suitable for all skin types including acne-prone and sensitive
  • COSRX is a cruelty-free brand

Things I Disliked:

  • Nothing

Where to Purchase:

This moisturizer and the rest of the Cosrx Propolis line can be purchased at YESSTYLE and StyleKorean.