Tosowoong Propolis Sparkle Ampoule Review
Today, we’re reviewing Tosowoong’s cult favourite Propolis Sparkle Ampoule to see what all the fuss is about and whether the rumours are true – is this K-Beauty serum featuring 80% pure bee propolis extract really the key to smooth, poreless looking skin?
WHAT IS IT?
It’s a K-Beauty serum that comes in a very generous 80ml size – this is significantly more product than in most serums, including other popular propolis ampoules, like COSRX’s Propolis Light Ampoule, which only contains 30ml.
We like the fact that “sparkle” is in the name, plus it comes in a beautiful frosted glass packaging. There’s a drop applicator, which makes it both hygienic and easy to portion control.
WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE?
Well not much like anything, really. The scent is veeeerry faint – just a whiff of a light honey, citrus scent. As far as fragrances go, this one isn’t bothersome at all unless you’re really adverse to all things citrus (but hey, at least it’s natural!)
WHAT DOES IT CLAIM TO DO?
Tosowoong’s Korean website claims that its serum creates skin that has “the aura of sparkling honey”. Well I mean that sounds….pretty, right?!
WHAT’S IN IT?
The full ingredients list for Propolis Sparkle Ampoule includes:
“Propolis Extract (80%), Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Glycereth-26, Honey Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Coptis Chinensis Root Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Pvm/Ma Copolymer, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil Expressed, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Pinus Sylvestris Leaf Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PEG-2M, Sucrose Distearate, Polyglutamic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Dimethicone, Betaine, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin”
As the name of the ampoule suggests, the star ingredient is propolis extract, which accounts for 80% of the formula. Interestingly, in Korea, the product labelling laws dictate that if an ingredient is mentioned in the product’s name, the company must state the percentage of the ingredient on its label, so you can check to see just how much of that “star ingredient” is actually in there.
Luckily in this case, propolis deserves pride of place in both the name and the formula. Propolis is a stellar ingredient for many reasons – it fights against aging skin and inflammatory skin conditions, and also stimulates cellular renewal and the promotion and synthesis of collagen and elastin. This assists in giving skin a firm, more toned and smooth appearance. It is also antibacterial, making it a great choice for those with acne.
Honey makes up a decent amount of the formula and acts as a humectant, which attracts and retains moisture in the skin. It’s also an anti-irritant, making it great for sensitive skin types. Lemon and lime work to tighten pores and brighten the skin.
The formula contains no parabens, sulfates, alcohols.
The only ingredients that may cause problems (if you are sensitive to them) are bergamot oil, lemon peel oil, eucalyptus oil and PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (if you’re suffering from fungal acne). Anecdotally, we tried two full ampoules of this on sensitive, acne-prone skin (although not of the fungal acne variety) and experienced no adverse side effects.
It probably goes without saying that this one will be one to avoid if you’re allergic to bee by-products.
HOW DO YOU USE IT?
Thanks to its light texture, this serum can be used both night and day.
After cleansing and toning, apply 3 to 4 drops of Tosowoong Propolis Sparkle Ampoule onto your palms and gently pat it into your skin until fully absorbed. If using it in the morning, you can skip your regular moisturiser and apply your sunscreen afterwards. At night, finish off with moisturiser and a sleeping mask (if you need one). The texture is a liquid-gel that spreads beautifully and absorbs really quickly. It leaves a slightly sticky feeling behind, but that fades within minutes.
If you suffer from extremely dry skin, you can even add a few drops of this serum to your face wash to help keep skin moisturised while washing up.
Another way we tried (as recommended by Tosowoong) was mixing it in a 1:1 ratio with your BB Cream. This is a great way to get a really clean, hydrated base of makeup!
WHO SHOULD USE IT?
We’re calling this for:
- Anyone with dull, lifeless looking skin
- Those suffering from sensitivities or acne
- Dehydrated, dry skin types
WHAT RESULTS DID YOU NOTICE FROM IT?
This serum leaves the skin beautifully hydrated, soft and glowing.
Not sure about the aura of honey claim, but there’s no doubt that your skin is much smoother and more “glassy” with a layer of this serum on top.
It’s perfect for layering with other products as the texture is really quite light for a product that contains so much by-product. If you’re particularly dry, you can even layer moisturisers and sleeping masks over the top of this without any problems.
Like most Tosowoong products, this ampoule is bang-for-buck, particularly considering the amount of product you get. You’ll easily get 4 – 6 months use out of it (depending on how much product you use).
No wonder this is a HG product for so many people.If your skin is dull, dry, dehydrated or sallow or is in need of soothing nutrients to keep your complexion at its brightest, this serum is the perfect fit.
It keeps skin beautifully hydrated in a lightweight, non-irritating formula that won’t weigh your skin or your wallet down.
STYLE STORY – Australia’s Korean Beauty Store