Review: LJH Vita-Propolis Ampoule

I have sworn so many times that I'll not fall for the never-ending HG circle-jerking. What it means is that it seems like certain products or brands suddenly gain traction through blog-of-mouth or the otherwise truly helpful and informative Asian Beauty subreddit, and then everyone jumps on them, gets them, and typically declares them holy grail within a short period of time, whether the product or brand is truly deserving. We throw the YMMV rule out the window in a millisecond. Now, I am certainly not the only one who has noticed it, and the fact that I have fallen for it so many more times than I'll ever care to admit just goes to show that, well, none of us is immune. Such was the case with the LJH Vita-Propolis Ampoule for me. Let's see if it was worth jumping on the LJH bandwagon for.


About the brand:

Product claims:
A multi-tasking, glow-creating serum ampoule packed with 50% Propolis extract and 20% Multi-vitamins. Perfect for giving an instant "gwang" (dewy glow in Korean) to skin. It also revitalizes skin, helping to even tone, smooth texture and improve dullness. For all skin types. Suitable for acne prone skin. (source)

Directions and ingredients:
Apply evenly over the face and gently pat to absorb better (source)

Propolis extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Niacinamide, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Ascorbyl Ether, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/ Twig Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Carbomer, Arginine, Spirodela Polyrrhiza Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine (source)


The CosDNA analysis can be found here.


Ingredients of note:

  • Propolis extract: Brownish, resinous material that is collected by bees and used to construct the hive. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties for skin. (source)
  • Portulaca Oleracea Extract: Extract that may have anti-inflammatory or analgesic properties (source)
  • Hippophae Rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) Fruit Extract: Sea buckthorn is believed to have several topical benefits, including for acne, but the research to support such claims is lacking. More convincing is the research pertaining to sea buckthorn’s ability to help skin heal when applied to wounds, and it does appear to have some antioxidant ability. (source)
  • Rosa Centifolia Flower Water: Rose water helps to retain moisture and is mildly astringent, which helps to even skin tone and improve its appearance. (source)
  • Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, niacinamide is a potent cell-communicating ingredient that offers multiple benefits for aging skin. Assuming skin is being protected from sun exposure, niacinamide can improve skin’s elasticity, dramatically enhance its barrier function, help erase discolorations, and revive skin’s healthy tone and texture. (source)



Why did I get this product and how have I used it?
Other than the aforementioned circle-jerking, I still would have never spent almost $30 for 15ml of this product. However, when HKC Plaza was having one of their pretty mind-blowing sales, I decided to pull the trigger.
Because I got it on a two-for-one deal (plus I had a 10% off coupon, yay!), I have been using it for what feels like forever, after the toner step, at night.

Now, despite my obvious bitterness over having fallen for the circle-jerking, I have to admit that the ingredient list looks absolutely amazing. No water for filling, a short list and clean with a lot of powerful and mostly proven ingredients. Even its little carton box in which arrived, was pretty cool, a sort of a free origami class. (Yeah, I have two left hands, so anything other than an actual box is magical to me.)


The serum itself is runny, yet quite viscous, and I haven't been able to detect any sort of smell.
Three to four small drops have been enough for my entire face, so at the end of the day - and especially if you have a bigger beauty budget than I do, - the price is probably not that outrageous, since a bottle should last you quite a while.

All good so far, yes?
Why do I sound so bitter, then?

Because I feel like it has done exactly zilch for my skin.


It should have. Based on the ingredient list, it really should have.

Because I have been using it for several months, that time included both cooler and warmer weather, and still, I could only use it at night, on my normal skin, because I never felt like it really sunk into my skin. Sure, it did leave a "glow" - the sort of glow that any product some of which kind of just sits on top of your skin, leaves.
As for the other product claims - improving dullness, evening out the skin tone, smoothing out the texture, and revitalizing, - I honestly have not seen anything at all.

I am struggling to use up my second bottle (because my beauty budget is limited, unless a product produces a negative reaction, I use everything up - and not on the rest of my body, either.) Thankfully, I should be done in a couple weeks or so.
Once I am, I will never look back.

Recommend? Obviously, I wouldn't. However, LJH as a brand keeps being praised in the English-language K-beauty blogosphere, plus the ingredient list is brilliant, so it might work for you. It didn't for me, sadly.

Where to buy? Not sure when you're reading this blog post, but check HKC Plaza to see if they're running one of their awesome deals. I have never seen LJH products at better prices (at least as far as international stores go) than during their sales; and, they have one at least twice a year, so they're absolutely worth waiting for.




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