Shara Shara doodoodoodoodoodoo, oh Honey Honey, doodoodoodoodoodoo. You are my candy giiirl, and you got me wanting youuu...
You can't always get what you want, but in this case, I wanted the Shara Shara Honey Bomb All In One Ampoule, and I got it! I was able to snag it on sale in the Shara Shara box on Memebox before it sold out.
The Shara Shara Honey Bomb AIO Ampoule was first introduced to the U.S. market on GlowRecipe.com, a U.S.-based 'natural' Korean skincare retailer. With its quirky and cute packaging, and promise to deliver healthy, glowing skin while condensing 3 skincare steps into one, this. thing. TOOK. OFF! The Shara Shara Honey AIO was the talk of the town in beauty forums, and was even knocked off by its competitor, the budget brand, Scinic. I'm also fairly certain that it would take me the time it takes for my mascara to smudge (less than no time) to find other knockoffs in the market.
This product retails for $40 at the original listing on GlowRecipe, who is actually the only authorized distributor of this particular product in the U.S. I bought mine from Memebox, in one of their value boxes, where the value is listed as $30. I ran a bit of a risk purchasing from an unauthorized dealer, BUT I figured, Memebox is a global corporation which has earned my trust based on my many transactions with them, I didn't think I'd actually receive a faux AIO. BTDubs - I'm really uncertain as to how distribution channels work in the beauty industry so I'm not sure if I commited a faux pas. Disclosure: I am also a Memebox ambassador.
Enough with the preamble, on with the show!
Shara Shara Honey Bomb All In One Ampoule 250 ml!!! (It's huge!)
This ampoule is supposed to be a multi-tasking product that serves as a toner, serum, and moisturizing step, all in one. Hence the name AIO. The featured ingredients are manuka honey (the best kind as asserted by my industry connections, aka uncle lol), royal jelly, and propolis extract. It also contains bamboo and sea buckthorn berry extracts- great antioxidants, and something called 'Clear Nutrition Gel Technology' to make the product absorb quickly without any stickiness. These are just the claims.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Diglycerin, Betaine, Pentylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-51, Piper Methysticum, Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Phellinus Linteus Extract, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Honey Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Propolis Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Bambusa Vulgaris Water, Hamamelis Virginiana Flower Water, Soluble Collagen, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch, Hydrolysate, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Disodium Edta, Caramel, Sodium Polyacrylate, Pvm/Ma Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Folic Acid, Ceramide 3, Cholesterol, Raffinose, Tromethamine, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol
Ingredients Analysis: From a cursory glance at the ingredients list, I'd actually classify this as an anti-aging, brightening, and skin calming product, as opposed to a straight up moisturizer, though it does have the goods to deliver on that front as well. This is because it features Niacinamide, one of the most well-studied anti-aging ingredients for firming and evening skin tone and texture, and a myriad of botanical extracts with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties at the top of the ingredients list.
The ampoule has a base of water, glycerin, and butylene glycol, very common. If you've tried sheet masks and haven't had any issues, you'll likely be fine here too.
Niacinamide: Vitamin B3, among the most well-studied anti-aging ingredients. Great for fighting hyperpigmentation caused by acne and the sun
Extracts with anti-inflammatory, skin-conditioning, and antioxidant properties: Piper Methysticum, Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Phellinus Linteus Extract, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Honey Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin
Anti-acne ingredients: Honey Extract, Propolis Extract
Astringent ingredients: Hamamelis Virginiana Flower Water (Witch Hazel)
Hydration/Moisturizing Agents: Glycerin, Diglycerin, Honey, Royal Jelly, Betaine, Pentylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-51, Aloe Vera, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 3, Bamusa Vulgaris Water, Trehalose
Other Anti-aging ingredients: Adenosine, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4
I discussed the specific benefits of honey, royal jelly, and propolis in skincare in yesterday's review, in case you missed it.
For those curious about acne triggers in the formula, Niacinamide and Butylene Glycol are very mild triggers to be aware of. Those with bee allergies may need to avoid this product, and those wanting to watch out for health triggers will want to note the Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tromethamine, and Phenoxyethanol in the formula. Those with sensitive skin should note that there is fragrance in the formula. One ingredient I was less than jazzed about was the grapefruit extract, which isn't all good, nor all bad. It's thought that certain fragrant plant oils and extracts (like citrus extracts) can be phototoxic, aka degrade and cause free radical damage under UV exposure. It's not at the top of the list, and any damage caused is likely to be outweighed by the free radical fighting power of the other antioxidants in the formula, so I let it go.
Packaging: It comes packaged in an adorable see-through, amber plastic jar that looks just like a jam jar. There's also a spatula included in the box. I kept the box in order to store the spatula and product together with ease.
How to Use: I need to power through this product as there's simply just so much of it! So I use one spatula's worth on my face, neck, and chest area twice daily. It goes on in the AM after cleansing, toning, and actives as one of my day moisturizers. It goes on at night after double cleansing, toning, actives, sheet masks, and other moisturizers. It's on the thicker side, so I use it towards the middle to end of my routine. I don't recommend using this to replace all three of your toner-serum-moisturizer steps, I'll explain why in a few. I also use a dollop per leg, and a dollop per arm in lieu of body lotion.
Product: The ampoule is a slightly viscous serum texture with a golden hue. It glides onto the skin and dries down quickly, however, the skin feels sticky after dry-down. I find that I always have to wash my hands after using this product. The stickiness somehow doesn't translate visually however, as the skin looks semi-matte afterwards. The product smells nothing like honey, but rather more like an orange marmalade - yum! (Insert Korean-lady-marmalaaade Christina Aguilera vocal trill here). The ampoule has a skin-friendly pH of 5.
Below are some 'swatches'.
Performance: I have mixed feelings about this product. If I were to just evaluate how much I like it as a whole, I'll admit. I like it. I like it a lot. My skin does look glowy and luminous with this product, and it does seem to penetrate the skin to deliver some hydration. Note in the after photo, how my nasolabial folds look slightly ironed out and more even. I also think it's worked wonders for REALLY softening and smoothing the texture of the skin on my body, which is extraordinarily tough to do, as I have some gorgeous Keratosis Pilarsis (tiny dry bumps that I, for the longest time, thought were ingrown hairs) on my legs.
But they talk a BIG TALK about being able to replace 3 of your skincare steps, and make heap big mighty claims about being able to deliver the benefits of honey/royal jelly/propolis without any of the stickiness.
BOOM. Skincare truther time...
This product can't replace your deep moisturizer if you have dry skin like me. If you have oily skin, maaaybe... This product consistently only raises the oil content of my skin by 2%, and the water content of my skin by 5%.
I also don't believe you should replace your essence with this product. Essences are among the first products to go on your skin. Your skin is as close to nekkie as possible at the essence step, and you want your essence to be as HIGH in nutrients as possible. The Shara Shara is water, glycerin, and butylene glycol-based. With the current innovations in 'waterless' skincare (skincare based in something other than water, often containing nutrients) coming out of South Korea, my thoughts here are... why would you want to use something as boring and normal as a Water-Glycerin-Bute based product during that critical first step? The Shara Shara AIO isn't necessarily a poor choice as an essence stand-in, it just seems to me that it would be a missed opportunity to use something a bit more concentrated.
I do believe it serves really well as a serum/ampoule step. It's a great value serum/ampoule as it's not too expensive, and there is seriously a TON of product. It works well at evening skin texture, and it SHOULD have brightening effects, all things people tend to look for in a serum/ampoule. I can't really test brightening effects any more, as I use Shark Sauce, PocketDerm, and Vitamin C, which do most of the work in my routine.
Lastly, they say it's not sticky, but it's sticky. I strongly dislike it when companies straight up fudge the truth. But what can you do. I actually think I enjoy the effects of the product enough to overlook the fact that I have to wash my hands after each application.
Rating: ☿☿☿.5 of 5 possible etude-kitties from this dry skin lady. If I had oily skin, I might have given it 4/5. (great at evening skin texture, worked on my Keratosis Pilarsis, leaves skin glowing. 1/2 mark off for stickiness, 1/2 mark off for talking big game about replacing skincare steps, 1/2 mark off for not being deeply moisturizing.)
Try It For Yourself
Get It Cheap from Koreadepart - $21.71
Get it On Amazon with free shipping - $34.05
Get It Fast from GlowRecipe - $40.00, save $5 off first order with this link.
Do you believe in all-in-ones? I don't think I do.