In the forth grade, my two best friends and I decided we were going to be witches. This mostly entailed shaving crayons into pixie dust and throwing them at our unsuspecting classmates to curse them (and occasionally at a guy to cast a love spell). This, I think, makes me somewhat of an authority on witches, and I’ve noticed that in a way, skincare is kind of like witchcraft. After all, witches are a little obsessed with youth, and how different really are anti-aging products from longevity potions?
Despite this, I still can’t help but roll my eyes a little at the naming of this “elixir” serum. It’s particularly funny, IMO, because in every other way 2Sol is such a no-nonsense, function-first brand. In any case, propolis with a dash of magic is a lot to live up to!
AT A GLANCE
프로폴리스추출물(10%), 베타글루칸, 마데카소사이드 등 피부 진정 성분들과 히알루론산 등 보습성분을 함유하여 윤기있고 촉촉한 피부로 만들어주는 세럼입니다.
Rough translation: Propolis Extract (10%), Beta-Glucan, and Madecassoside soothes sensitive skin and hyaluronic acid makes skin moist.
Where does it fit in your routine?
This should be used after the watery steps (essence, toner) in your routine and before creams.
Size and Price
This bottle contains 50ml of product. I purchased this using Koreanbuddy‘s forwarding service for something like $8.50 (plus commission and shipping). It is also available on Ebay for $16 or Testerkorea for ~$10.50.
This comes in a plastic bottle with a pump dispenser. Packaging is straightforward and functional. No complaints here.
There’s definitely a medicinal scent here. If you’ve ever been into one of those Chinese dried herb pharmacies, that’s what this serum smells like. It’s not a strong scent, but I’m not a huge fan.
Color and texture
This serum has a gel-like texture and is a light yellow in color.
What’s in it?
- 10% PROPOLIS EXTRACT
Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources to be used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the beehive. In skincare, it is used to heal wounds and possesses anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the constituents of propolis is beeswax, a wax ester that can create a protective, non-allergenic layer over the skin.
This is actually the ingredient I was most excited for! This is one of the four primary active compounds in centella asiatica. When taken orally, madecassoside has antioxidant properties and is effective in promoting the healing of wounds and collagen systhesis. When applied topically in conjunction with Vit C, it results in a significant improvement in skin firmness, elasticity and skin hydration. Essentially, madecassoside is to centella asiatica what vitamin C is to an orange. It’s the good stuff. This serum is serious about its active ingredients!
- PALMITOYL TRIPEPTIDE-1, PALMITOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3
Peptides are strings of amino acids that function as cell-communicating agents. I assumed these were included as a buzz-ingredient, but it looks like there is actually some science behind it. In particular, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3 is a key ingredient in matrixyl 3000 and is believed to work by reducing molecules that would otherwise promote inflammation.
- TREMELLA FUCIFORMIS EXTRACT, AVENA SATIVA KERNEL EXTRACT, CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT, BUDDLEJA DAVIDII EXTRACT, THYMUS VULGARIS EXTRACT
The choice of extracts here all seem to be focused on antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin soothing properties.
This is a polysaccharide derived from cereal, yeast, bacteria, or fungus. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties as well.
- SODIUM HYALURONATE
The salt form of hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant that can hold 1000X its weight in water.
I really like this ingredient list because it is focused. Instead of throwing in every ingredient and extract to plump its ingredient list, 2Sol seems to have carefully chosen every component of this serum specifically to have anti-inflammatory or skin-soothing effects.
Acne Triggers & Irritants
Cosdna identifies Butylene Glycol (1) as an acne trigger and carbomer (1) as a potential irritant.
Water, Propolis Extract(10%), Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol , Madecassoside, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract , Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract, Beta-Glucan, Allantoin , Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Genistein, Arginine, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20 , Carbomer
This product is meant to soothe, and soothe it does. I do not notice an immediate anti-reddening effect, but I do notice that with regular use, my skin seems to be less easily irritated. Of the propolis serum-type products I’ve used, this is the most soothing on my skin.
Most of the time, I use this as a serum, after all of my toners and before I use an emulsion and cream. Sometimes, when my skin needs some extra babying, I also like to slather this serum on and slap a sheet mask over it. I’ve also noticed that if I mix half a pump of this serum into my foundation, I get an insane glow that lasts for a few hours.
That said, I’m not in love with this product. Angela from Beautyandthecat frequently refers to the “joy factor” in her review of products and Graceful face stresses the importance of finding pleasure in applying products, and the more skincare products I try the more I tend to agree with these two ladies. This is one of four 2Sol products I purchased through Koreanbuddy because I was so convinced that I would love 2Sol. Turns out, while I do not dislike 2Sol, but I don’t exactly find myself excited to use these products, ever. While I generally appreciate a function-first mentality with skincare products, a little cosmetic elegance –having a silky finish or an intoxicating scent– is often the determining factor in how often I actually use a product. I don’t take issue with this serum as much as I do with some of 2Sol’s other things (ahem deep silky moisture, but that’s a review for another day), but the user experience leaves something to be desired.
In a nutshell, I don’t like the stickiness of this serum and I don’t like the way it smells. Scinic Honey AIO is stickier (the main reason I’ve never repurchased it) but it also provides hydration (this 2Sol serum is not hydrating) and smells better. Let’s Cure Honeybunny Ampoule has a stronger smell, but one I personally find more tolerable, plus it is significantly less sticky and provides a good dose of hydration.
If this serum were the first propolis product I used and not the third, I think I would be a lot more impressed, but as it currently stands it meets but does not exceed my higher expectations.
This serum has a killer ingredient list and nice skin-soothing properties. However, it won’t do much for hydration and smells a bit medicinal.
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