I’ve long had a love affair with honey as a skincare ingredient. Two of my absolute holy grail, pry-them-out-of-my-cold-plump-glowy-hands products are Scinic Honey All-In-One Ampoule and Banila Co Miss Flower and Mr. Honey Essence Oil. In my own DIY adventures, I’ve started integrating medical-grade honey into a lot of my creations and am absolutely loving the results. So why, dear readers, did it take me this long to try a propolis-focused product? I blame it on my parents and the Bush administration, same as all my other problems.
Graymelin Propolis 80 Energy Ampoule is a medium-consistency serum with 80% propolis extract. (Propolis is essentially bee glue, used to seal up the cracks in the hive.) According to the bottle, it promises to:
- Instantly provide maximum moisture, leaving skin calm and comfortable as well as enhance hydration to keep dull and parched skin moisturized and protect from environmental damage.
- Form layer enriched with moisture to lock in moisture to prevent skin dehydration.
- Contain highly concentrated ingredients to normalize moisture level of skin and provide plenty of nourishment to leave skin hydrated and refreshed.
With my seriously dry skin, this sounded like an ideal product to introduce me to the wonderful world of propolis. Plus, there’s something about that faux-vintage packaging that makes my skincare routine feel a little more elegant, you know?
Propolis extract (80%), PEG/PPG-17/6 copolymer, water, butylene glycol, betaine, bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, 1,2-hexanediol/caprylhydroxamic acid/butylene glycol, honey extract, acrylates/C10-20 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, triethanolamine, allantoin, sodium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed collagen, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, Aloe barbadensis leaf powder, sodium polyacrylate, Magnolia biondii bark extract, Acorus calamus root extract, Zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract, Pinus sylvestris leaf extract, panax ginseng root extract, red ginseng extract, Camellia sinesis leaf extract, Thujopsis dolabrata branch extract, Citrus grandis (grapefruit) fruit extract, Chamomilia recutita (matricaria) lower/leaf extract, Salix alba (willow) bark extract
That’s a long ingredients list, but it looks pretty good. Those long, science-sounding ingredients at the beginning are mostly humectants that give it extra hydrating powers and additives that adjust its feel and consistency, plus a preservative. It’s got a ton of plant extracts, which I love, but can be triggers if you have sensitive skin.
What it’s like in action
It’s in a dropper bottle that needs some serious re-working. The bulb is too small for the dropper, so you can only suck a couple of drops worth into the dropper. It often takes me 2 tries to get the 3-4 drops I need for my (surprisingly small) face.
Once you get the stuff out of the bottle, though, it’s delightful. There’s a very mild, sweet scent that disappears as soon as you apply it. It has a thick, gloopy, almost gel-like consistency straight out of the dropper:
Once you smooth it onto your skin, it melts into a watery, completely non-sticky texture that feels clean and soothing:
And after a couple minutes, it sinks in without any tackiness (although sometimes it leaves a slight film, which I actually like – it feels protective):
This product has become a staple of my morning and evening routines, right after my Scinic Honey AIO and before my first cream step. I love its texture; it settles the stickiness leftover from the Scinic and dries down smooth.
Its promises mostly revolve around hydration, which I found lacking. With my very dry skin, this barely gave me any hydrating properties. Maybe it would be enough for oily skin as part of a larger routine, but for my fellow dry-skinned brethren, this isn’t a moisture product. If I were judging it based on what it says it does, it would score maybe a 3 out of 5.
Propolis isn’t particularly famous for its hydration properties, though; I know it better for its healing, soothing powers and its ability to impart that enigmatic glow. And let me tell you: 50 points to Gryffindor. That is absolutely what it does.
I’d been using this for a week or two when I started taking an SSRI, which is a type of medication with a lot of weird and unpredictable side effects. While I managed to sidestep the more severe ones, I found myself suddenly with rhino skin. I went from smooth and bouncy to pebbled and peeling overnight.
I figured my first line of defense was to pare down to the basics, so I stopped using the Graymelin and kept a simple, hydration-focused routine. No change.
Then, figuring it was worth a shot, I added the Graymelin back in. Within a day, I had smoother, glowier skin. (After a couple days, when I was about halfway back to normal, I added some skin-texture-powerhouse bee venom via Nature Republic Bee Venom Emulsion, which got me about 75% of the way back. Finally, one night with my new boyfriend, SNP Birds Nest Aqua Ampoule Mask, got my skin completely back to where it was pre-SSRI.)
Since then, I’ve used it twice a day and my skin has never been better. I can feel a slight difference immediately after applying it – my skin is a little more supple, a little brighter, a little less sensitive.
If only that goddamn dropper worked.
Graymelin Propolis 80 Energy Ampoule didn’t do much for me in terms of hydration, so if that’s what you’re after, keep searching. In my opinion, it’s a shame that that’s how they’re marketing this product. To me, this is the first product I’ll reach for when my skin needs some extra TLC. It did such amazing things for my gargoyle-skin adventure, and it’s given me a serious glow boost. I might skip it on days that my skin is feeling great, but if my skin feels at all sensitive, dull, or compromised, this will absolutely be a highlight of my routine. (Although, since this is my first propolis-focused product, I can’t say that this is better than other, similar products; all I can say is that I love it.)