*This article contains PR samples° and affiliate links* I was skeptical about the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule given its comparatively low propolis content, but it turns out that more isn’t always better!
Propolis is back, baby! Well, it never fully went away, but for a while it stopped being a buzzy K-beauty ingredient and didn’t seem to be as much in the spotlight anymore compared to other trendy ingredients such as mugwort or azulene. Suddenly, I see new propolis products everywhere again, and older Korean beauty bloggers’ favourites are being “discovered” by influencers new to the K-beauty game. Personally, I’m all here for this unexpected propolis revival!
I hadn’t been able to try out the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule when it launched last year – for some reason, Wishtrend had kicked me out of their reviewer list for a while, despite my well-known devotion to both the By Wishtrend and the Klairs brand. Oh well, what can ya do?
Thus, I was extra happy when Skinsider, a lovely curated K-beauty shop based in the UK, sent me the By Wishtrend ampoule unexpectedly in late 2019. Now, I have to say that I wasn’t sure what to think about the ampoule at first: not only were thorough reviews of this syrupy beauty scarce for some reason, I also feared that having only 15% propolis in the overall formula might make this an inferior product compared to the supposedly 90-100% propolis ampoules I’ve tried before, namely the older version of the now rebranded and reformulated Dr. Ceuracle Royal Vita Propolis 33 Ampoule* or the Tosowoong Propolis Sparkling Ampoule.*
But it turns out that my fears were not only unfounded, but in fact completely overturned and transformed into joyful surprise at how well the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule works for my oily combo skin! First things first though: let’s have a look at the ingredients of this propolis ampoule and then I’ll tell you in-depth about why I like this so very much indeed.
By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule – the Basics
As is true for most By Wishtrend products, the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule was formulated with acne-prone, sensitive skin in mind. Propolis is an excellent skincare ingredient for acne sufferers, since it helps support the skin’s ability to heal and fight off bacteria, as well as soothe inflammation issues. I’ve written more about the miraculous healing properties of propolis in my recent review of the Cosrx Propolis Synergy Toner, and also spoke about it at length on my podcast.
But what about the “polyphenols” in the product name? Well, polyphenols are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. They are usually found in plants, mainly fruits and vegetables, but also certain types of grains. Polyphenols won from grapes are quite common in skincare – French pharmacy brand Caudalie has build their entire skincare range around their grape-derived polyphenols, for instance. Antioxidants are said to help combat premature skin ageing caused by free radicals, and various antioxidants are utilised in anti-pollution skincare to undo damage from UV exposure and industrial pollutants.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule:
“Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Propolis Extract, Glycerin, Propanediol, Isopentyldiol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Panthenol, Perilla Frutescens Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Zinc PCA, Pantolactone.”
Alright, first things first: like most By Wishtrend products, the Polyphenol in Propolis Ampoule is free from any alcohol, essential oils or other fragrance! As for for skin goodies in this product – there are plenty! Apart from the already mentioned propolis, the main ingredient praised in By Wishtrend’s marketing blurb is “houttuynia cordata extract.” Now, houttuynia cordata or “heart leaf”, as it is also often called, has been around in Asian skincare since roughly 2018, but only now has it become a new it ingredient in Korean beauty, with new “heart leaf skincare” launching at a dizzying pace.
Houttuynia cordata is a herb used in Asian cooking, especially Chinese cuisine, with a slightly “fishy” taste that works well in savoury dishes. It also has a ton of great healing properties not unlike those of another favourite Asian beauty herb extract – centella asiatica. Heart leaf extract is said to be anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, so it is a great remedy for sensitised, acne-prone skin. But not only that, houttuynia cordata also contains a high amount of – you may have guessed it already – polyphenols!
Further plant-based sources of antioxidants in this formula are holy basil extract plus purslane extract, and then there are a number of ingredients fantastic for people fighting breakouts and inflamed skin, such as witch hazel extract (can be too much for sensitive skin, so check your personal sensitivities!), neem extract, turmeric extract and skin-soothing panthenol. Hydration comes in the form of good old hyaluronic acid, red algae extract and glycerin.
By Wishtrend Propolis Ampoule – A Texture Lover’s Dream!
As I’ve said, I was unsure how I would feel about this ampoule, since I tend to be easily swayed by the promise of high amounts of coveted skincare ingredients in one product. I should know better by now though, given the fact that when it comes to ingredient potency, there is a bit of a grey area when it comes to the percentages given by brands. You may remember the whole “100% mugwort extract” controversy addressed by a few skinfluencers a while ago, where this was discussed at length: basically, the 100% label means little, given that extracts need a medium – usually water or alcohol – into which their dried form is being extracted. So, no extract is ever truly 100%, since the pure plant has been diluted by a liquid, and we don’t know by how much, basically.
My experiences with some of the products from The Ordinary has also taught me that more isn’t always better: higher concentrations of certain actives, for instance, can cause skin irritations and even burns. What I’ve learned from trying many a skincare product is that it isn’t just about the percentage of a main ingredient, but also the overall formulation of the product itself, the way the different ingredients come together. For instance, I didn’t do well at all with The Ordinary’s 2% Salicylic Acid peel, but have been seeing amazing results so far with the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.
As it turns out, when it comes to the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule, less is sometimes more, as long as the “less” is combined with a nice blend of other, effective ingredients. Usually, ampoules with a high propolis content tend to be sticky and somewhat oily when applied, but the By Wishtrend ampoule has the texture of a water-based gel, with only mild stickiness and none of that oil-like feel common with propolis products. As someone with oily combo skin that rarely does well with heavy textures, this was a welcome surprise – the lightness of the formula really harmonised with my skin’s needs! I also enjoyed the fragrance-free formula immensely, as there was truly no scent to this at all, not even some faintly chemical smell like in many unfragranced products such as the Klairs Unscented Toner.
When it comes to what this ampoule does for my skin, I have to say it took a while before I noticed any difference to my skin – hence why at first I was unsure what to make of this new K-beauty addition to my routine. Actually, this is quite common with propolis products, and I had a similar experience with the Dr. Ceuracle ampoule. After about three weeks of consistent use I started to notice something quite remarkable: whenever I applied the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule, my skin would quickly and noticeably calm down and look less agitated and red. This became even more apparent when hay fever season started. I get insanely red skin when pollen flies, and the pollen count is currently at an all time high thanks to the crazy dry and warm spring weather here in Germany. The ampoule has been a great soother for my angry allergy skin (note: some people with pollen allergy also react to the propolis, so double-check that before use!).
Not only does this ampoule do an amazing job at calming down redness, I also started to see improvements in my skin in terms of texture and smoothness – I can tell that my pores look less prominent especially on my forehead, where ageing has lately started to give me some annoying texture issues. Combining the By Wishtrend ampoule with a BHA peel is bringing quite remarkable results here. I’m still far away from having the sort of flawless princess skin other skinfluencers have, but I’m quite happy with where it’s at right now, thanks in great parts to that combo!
By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule – So, Is it the Best Propolis Ampoule?
I’ve nearly used up the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule and enjoyed every drop of it! Is it the best propolis ampoule I’ve tried? At least for my skin type and at this point in time, I would answer this with a resounding “yes!” – it just has the perfect balance of ingredient potency for me, plus a wonderful texture that feels less oily-sticky than other propolis ampoules.
Now, due to the lighter formula, the moisturising and hydrating properties of the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule are also weaker. This is why I would say that if you have strongly dehydrated and especially dry skin, this may not be the best choice in terms of propolis ampoules for you. The Dr. Ceuracle propolis ampoule* in particular is a better option here, since it is thicker and richer in texture (at least the older version was – I haven’t tried the reformulated version yet!). I’ve also heard great things about the Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence* for drier skin types!
If you are interested in purchasing the By Wishtrend Polyphenols in Propolis 15% Ampoule, you can get this from a number of online shops: of course, Skinsider is a good choice for UK- and EU-based buyers, where the ampoule costs £29.90, or Germans can also get this at Flaconi* for 35.95€. For other international shoppers, Yesstyle* is also a great choice – the cost of the ampoule is usually around 34$ – or you can get this directly from Wishtrend* for 32$. Make sure to compare prices, since there is always a sale going on somewhere!
So, let me know in the comments: What propolis products have you incorporated into your skincare routine?
Take care guys!
°PR Sample, kindly provided by the brand – I am not obligated to write this blog review, and my opinions are entirely my own.
*Affiliate Links, meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to use the link to purchase an item. This does not raise the purchase price for you, and it helps me and my blog to grow – so, thank you for supporting me in this way!