iUNIK vs Skinfood Propolis : Comparison and study about Propolis

Hello everyone, in this post I will be discussing the most highly requested comparison of all times:

“iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum (click hereand Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Essence (click here)”

Copy of Seoul Skincare Shop.jpg

So without further due, let’s begin. First thing first their Ingredients list


If you want to learn more about each of their ingredients, click here for their cosDNA link, iUNIK & Skinfood. Ingredients’ wise, iUNIK has a much longer list of fancy-looking ingredients such as Niacinamide, Rose water extract, Allantoin, Adenosine, Centella Asiatica Extract and many other fruit extract. While the Skinfood keep their ingredients really simplistic and clean which is also good.

A longer ingredients list with so many ‘popular’ ingredients doesn’t make a product directly superior to the counterpart. Since we never know how much of the ingredient’s concentration put unto the products. It might even be much less than the suggested minimum concentration of ingredients to have any beneficial improvement to the skin (just for the sake of labelling)

Let’s move on :

Ingredients (1).jpg

So from a price standpoint the iUNIK is definitely the winner here, however how about the other factors we need to consider?

Ingredients (2)
* may leave slight tackiness on hot weather

Well before we start on discussing the product comparison itself, I would like to highlight the tricky side of the classification of skincare products. Here you found two products named as essence and serum with a very similar concentration of main ingredients and consistency. Some history about how people come up with the name “essence” and “serum”.  Back then, serum is a name that is popular in the “western” skincare industry, meanwhile “essence” is popular amongst Korean skincare for products that contain a high concentration of certain ingredients that specifically address specific skin concern. Since Korean products gain its popularity, people started to get confused about the difference between serum and essence with them being so ‘similar’ but ‘different’ somehow. Then a conspiracy mentioning serum is the ‘thicker’ and essence is ‘thinner’ products were made, suggesting you layer your product with a rule of thumb, thinnest – thickest.

So are they the same? Yes, they are!! I do think naming them differently is just a marketing strategy for skincare brand giving them more excuses to create a product with slightly different concentration and asking you to buy all of them while you actually need just one of each. There’s no actual guideline or standard for a brand to name their product so they can name their products whatever they want it to be

Now let’s discuss the benefit of HONEY and PROPOLIS:

Honeycomb in closeup

Honey is classified as an emollient/humectant / moisturizing product in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI).

So you must’ve heard a lot about the potential benefit of Honey and propolis on treating numerous kind of skin lesion. Yes! They have the therapeutic and preventive effect for dermatitis and dandruff (1). Their antimicrobial and antifungal properties make them a great agent to treat acne as well (2).

Honey has been studied to have potential benefit for wounds and burns treatment as well since they have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties which accommodate the process of healing.

Since they have moisturizing and skin-barrier—restoring properties, no wonder if you feel the suppleness and the bounciness after you applied products with honey/propolis. Which in conjunction might benefits on reducing the appearance of fine-lines (supple skin = fewer FINE-LINES, but not wrinkles)

Read more about the benefit of honey in dermatology, here!

While there are some other notable ingredients from each products that I will discuss separately in this part, or you can skip this part if you are not interested on learning about the ingredients


Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract (seabuckthorn extract)

download (12).jpg

or more commonly known as Seabuckthorn extract is an antioxidant-rich ingredient which is a rich source of Vitamin C (there they mentioned they contain 12% of Vitamin C). However, it should be noted that Vitamin C from Seabuckthorn extract are mostly lost during the production process and remain unstable in a skincare product formulation. (4) which makes them an unpopular source of Vitamin C. Despite their shady claim for having Vitamin C content in their products, seabuckthorn is inevitably a great ingredient with a protective effect (antioxidant) for the skin (5)


Yes! they contain Niacinamide indeed, this Vitamin B3 is a great ingredient with brightening and oil-controlling properties

Some other ingredients (but not on the top list, probably with a very low concentration of it): Centella Asiatica, Witch Hazel, other fruit extracts 


Lactobacillus Ferment and Saccharomyces ferment

Well, these ingredients are the one that is added to their reformulated version of Skin food propolis essence (compared to the old version). I should emphasize that Lactobacillus ferment is a BACTERIA ferment while Saccharomyces Ferment is a YEAST ferment. These fermented products act as natural preservatives and antimicrobial with an extra hydrating and brightening effect.

However, since yeast fermented products (Saccharomyces) have been reported to exacerbate the occurrence of Fungal Acne/ Malassezia (6), you should be a little more careful on using this product (especially if you have fungal acne). I don’t say that this will definitely exacerbate your condition since their percentage must be pretty low but just be CAREFUL and pay more attention to it


  1. When should I apply this essence / serum?

Both essence/ serum should be applied on cleansed and toned face.

  1. Should I apply moisturizer afterwards?

I would recommend you to apply another moisturizer (even though these products have moisturizing properties as well) especially when you live in a dry environment, but you do you, when you feel like it’s moisturizing enough during the day and overnight, you can totally skip the moisturizer

  1. Can I use both at the same time?

This would be my personal opinion, but I would only apply one at a time. I am a strong believer that our skin has a limited capability on absorbing skincare products. So yes, rather than wasting on products just sitting on top of my skin, I would apply just one product at a time according to my skin concern. On side note, I would totally say that each products are formulated differently, there are some products that you can layered on, but for these two products I think that it’s unnecessary to layer these two since they are pretty nourishing and moisturizing just by itself

Okay, back to the verdict:

I’ve enjoyed both product, yes! They are both very hydrating and gives me an instant healthy-glowing skin in morning application and gives me a supple and moisturized skin overnight. Both products sit pretty well under sunscreen or makeup.

However, one thing that I noticed is that the Skinfood is more ‘moisturizing’ that it might leave a tacky-feel to it whenever I applied it on a hot weather however it was perfect for winter. On the other hand, the iUNIK needs to be layered with a more moisturizing on top during the cold season but just perfect for the hot weather. One thing that you should take into consideration based on the weather of the place you live in

For long term effect, I feel like the iUNIK gives me a brighter-healthier complexion overall, yup! I don’t know if it is due to their Vitamin C (seabuckthorn) or Niacinamide content but I am very pleased. (btw, please note that It’s not an overnight effect, I’ve been using it for over a month). Besides, they are half the price of the skinfood one!

So, I guessed you know which one is the winner in my opinion? Yes, the iUNIK Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum for the win!

PLEASE NOTE that all opinions are my own and everyone’s skin are different in so many ways and you may experience different thing from it. I make this comparison so you can learn about each of them better before deciding on which one is the best for you

Hope you can learn new things and hope this help!

Don’t forget to follow my Instagram @funskincare for more beauty-related and skincare product review and info

XOXO, Claudia



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