Kelly Driscoll

Skincare going more than skin deep…

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Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence Review


When I first started my Korean skincare journey I got really interested in ingredients. Snail mucin was my first love and the first ingredient that really made a big impact on my skin. But there was another ingredient that also made a big impact, big enough that I reserved a spot for it in all my routines — Propolis!

Back then it was all about the Let’s Cure Hunny Bunny Propolis 40 Ampoule, now discontinued. Through the years there had been many propolis products, some good and some bad. The last one to impress me was Iunik Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum, which is lovely, but since I cut essential oils out of my routine, I needed to find a new, fragrance-free propolis product.

Enter Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence.

Skin type: Combo/dry, dehydrated, sensitive.


So What’s Propolis Anyway?

It’s not honey, but it is a honeybee product! Propolis is the substance that’s used to fill and seal the honeybee hive. It’s a mixture of bee saliva, beeswax and sap from trees or other nearby botanical substances. Propolis can only be made by honeybees, and this “bee glue” is harvested by scraping off the lids and sides of hive boxes.

So why should you consider using it in skincare products? Propolis has some great moisturizing, antioxidant and glowing complexion benefits for skin. Propolis also has antibacterial, redness reducing and anti-inflammatory benefits that make it a good choice for acne-prone skin. Propolis is known for its wound healing abilities and skin regenerative benefits, making it an easy choice for those suffering from sensitivity.

Sounds like something we all need!


INGREDIENTS: Propolis Extract, Honey Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Glycerin, Beta-Glucan, Lactobacillus Ferment, Saccharomyces Ferment, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium Edta, Carbomer, Arginine

Highlights: Free from fragrance, essential oils and alcohol. Goodies include fermented ingredients, beta-glucan and sodium hyaluronate.

Propolis 63%: As covered above, propolis is awesome for your skin. This essence contains 63% of this awesome stuff, and I’m always a fan of the star ingredient being listed at, or near, the top of an ingredients list. Skinfood ferments their propolis twice to concentrate its benefits and help boost the vitamins and amino acids. Fermented propolis extract has less water filler and more concentrated benefits than its non-fermented counterparts.

Royal Jelly 10%: Another honeybee product, this is an excellent moisturizer for skin. Royal jelly is secreted from the throat glands of honeybees and is called royal jelly because it’s the substance responsible for allowing a young bee larva to develop into a queen bee.

Royal jelly contains beneficial proteins, enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins A, E and C, plus antioxidants.

Honey Extract 10%: Honey is one of those golden child ingredients; you can’t go wrong with this one! Honey is a great natural humectant that can bind hydration and moisturize skin. It also has anti-inflammation and antibiotic benefits for skin.


While I use this as a serum, it’s technically an essence and therefore has a thinner and runnier texture than a serum would.

This is thin, lightweight and easily accepted by the skin. I find this to feel moisturizing on the skin as opposed to purely hydrating. While it’s lightly moisturizing, it’s never heavy or greasy in feel or finish on skin.

This isn’t sticky by any means, but I would say I occasionally notice a little tack on my skin from this essence. However, it easily goes away as soon as I apply my next layer.

I can detect no scent on this. (fragrance free isn’t always scent free!)

Skinfood always knocks their packaging out of the park and this product is no exception. It’s a glass bottle with a gold and brown ombre. Those familiar with the older version of the product will note the new bottle is darker and the label now has a white background instead of black. The dropper is the star here; it’s built into the twist top, so when you twist it open the top pops up and the dropper sucks up product automatically! Simply press on the top and you’ll dispense the essence – ingenious!


I’m mostly interested in propolis for the glow it always imparts to my skin. Since I’ve been focusing more on (gentle) brightening, I knew that propolis was an ingredient I wanted to bring back into my routine. I also appreciate propolis’ abilities to reduce redness and help skin retain moisture, plus I’ll take all the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and wound healing benefits I can get!

I decided to pick up this essence as a fragrance and essential oil free replacement for my beloved Iunik Propolis serum. This product has enjoyed popularity in the K-beauty community for a long time (and recently enjoyed a reformulation from 50% propolis to 63%) so I thought it was worth a shot.

I’m glad I got it because I really like this! I was first impressed by how easily I was able to add this into my routine. The texture layers well and isn’t heavy, so it’s a great addition to my in-between seasons routine. (Does it want to be warm or cold? The weather can’t seem to decide.) This serum is lightly moisturizing for my skin and adds a good amount of balance without heaviness or greasiness, which is really appreciated.

I will also add that my sensitive skin took to this easily and I even felt like this was comforting my skin when it was feeling extra dry or a little irritated. With the unpredictable weather, my skin can get a little agitated, but I felt like this played a part in keeping my dehydration in check and keeping my skin calm.

I didn’t notice an immediate glow/brightening effect from this which was a little disappointing, but it still was pleasant to use and was playing a part in balancing my skin, so I kept with it. I’m glad I did because after about 3 weeks of use I realized this was giving my skin a gorgeous, healthy and lit-from-within glow!

I also noticed after about three weeks that all of a sudden, my other brightening products I’ve been using longer than this product (niacinamide and arbutin) seem to be working a little bit better/faster on my hyperpigmentation. I’m not sure that I can contribute too much to this product on its own, but it does seem like it’s acting as a booster to my existing brightening routine.

Bottom Line

This is a great product! What I appreciate:

  • Lot’s o’ honey (propolis, royal jelly and honey extract)
  • Minimal ingredient list
  • Gentle on sensitive skin
  • Lightly moisturizing
  • Gives skin a glow
  • Works well with other brightening products
  • Fragrance free

Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence 50ml $25 Yesstyle*

(code KELLYDRIS saves 5% for new customers [2% for returning] on your next yesstyle order)*

*indicates use of affiliate links that pay a small commission to help support this blog.

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