The bee’s knees. Bee beautiful. Beauty and the bees.
Bees lend themselves to puns, and headlines. And the beauty pages were full of them a few years ago when the Duchess of Cambridge was rumoured to be having bee venom facials. Bee venom was heralded as ‘natural botox’, and a flurry of product launches followed.
Rodial like a headline-grabbing brand name, and bee venom sits strikingly alongside ‘Snake Serum’ and ‘Dragon’s Blood’, offering a comprehensive range to treat ‘the multiple signs of advanced ageing`.
As skin gets older it loses volume as its natural production of collagen and elastin depletes. Skin starts to sag, and fine lines turn into wrinkles. Bee venom is thought to shock it back into action: circulation gets a boost and cells are stimulated into producing more collagen. If things go according to plan, wrinkles reduce or, at least, form less quickly. I can only imagine that a little bee venom must go a long way, because it appears pretty low down on the ingredient list.
My favourite product in the range is bee venom night (£90 for 50ml) where the plumping bee venom combines with soy isoflavones (plant hormones that have a similar make up to human oestrogens and often appear in skincare and dietary supplements targeted at menopausal women), Vitamin C, gentle amounts of retinol and plenty Hyaluronic Acid.
Hyaluronic Acid is a key ingredient in the quest for eternal youth. Produced naturally in young skin, it’s got nothing to do with bees and everything to do with water. It helps to attract and bind in moisture, keeping skin plump and smooth and helping it to work as a barrier against external nasties. As we age our skin produces less Hyaluroinc Acid and dries out, so a cream that boosts Hyaluronic Acid levels is worth making a beeline for (there I go).
Rodial’s bee venom night cream is a balmy gel that instantly perks up dry, tired skin. I’ve taken to using it on days spent at my desk too. If you’re stepping outside you might want to give their bee venom day cream with SPF 30 a go (£130 for 50ml, the day and night cream can bought from the Rodial website for a combined price of £165). High level SPFs can turn a moisturiser pastey, but this one applies easily and doesn’t feel like it’s sitting on your skin. If you’re feeling adventurous, and flush, you could try the bee venom with 24 carat gold products that promise an extra glow.
If you’re wondering how they actually get hold of this bee venom, manufacturers are quick to tell you that it’s extracted humanely. Bees only die if they lose their sting. Modern methods favour ‘stimulating’ the bee (this means giving it a mild electric shock) into stinging a thin bit of fabric. Its stinger remains intact and it flies off to pollinate another day. That’s the theory, but I’m pretty sure it can’t be an exact science, so if your bee conscience is bugging you, you may prefer to shop natural.
Bee Good is a fabulous all natural option. It started from one man’s bee hives in his back garden in Hampshire, with his wife turning the bee by-products into beauty potions at the kitchen table. Bee Good has grown since then, but they still use only British bee ingredients and British plants and the brand remains committed to supporting British bees and their wildflower meadow habitat.
The star in the range for me is their Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser (£11.50 for 100ml, including muslin cloth). It’s packed full of natural goodies and has a fantastic texture and fragrance to boot.
The wildflower honey in the mix attracts and locks in water. It cleanses (thoroughly) without drying skin and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. The formula also contains crambe oil, bee’s wax and propolis, a resin that honeybees use to plug gaps in the beehive. A natural skin smoother, propolis is mildly antiseptic and antibacterial too making it good for healing skin and balancing hormonal and/or combination to oily skin types. This really is a hero cleanser for all ages and stages and, at such a reasonable price, a great starter cleanser for teenage skin.
The latest edition to the Bee Good family is NectaPerfecta (£39.95 for 100ml, but currently on offer at £30 from the Bee Good website), a healing enzyme mask designed to gently exfoliate skin, giving it back the glow that too much cold weather, central heating and fluctuating hormones strip away. This is a product you can happily leave on a good long while, even overnight, as fruit acids, plant oils, honey and propolis get to work rehydrating and repairing your skin and lifting your spirits.