Pick your poison. What is it with the trend to inject, slather and ingest some kind of natural venom? Well, the experts are telling us that these components promote glowing, plumped and restored skin by stimulating collagen and increasing cellular turn-over. Among the hottest new beauty ingredients, bee venom is popping-up in jars everywhere. The hype got started with reports that Kate Middleton became a devotee of a certain New Zealand mask. Full disclosure here, I am slightly obsessed with the Duchess and will hop on any bandwagon related to her charming life. For Christmas, my wish list was full of products reportedly used by our favorite princess. I was extremely pleased with another mask containing the same magical ingredient and was happy to give the Abeeco Bee Venom Mask (NZ $89.95/roughly $78 USD) formulation a try.
As I scrubbed off the day’s make-up and got my skin prepped for the mask, it suddenly occurred to me, “How do they get that venom from the bees?” Being a firm devotee to animal friendly products, I began to worry about evil scientists in lab coats squeezing the toxin out of little bees…or maybe the company holds donation days for bees down on their luck? Actually, bee keepers introduce what looks like a thin plate into the hive. The glass plate is surrounded with very thin wires that carry an electric current. As the current is activated, the bees perceive it as a threat and sting away, squirting small amounts of venom onto the glass plate. This is dried and then scraped off to present a white powder that is then included in a range of beauty products and even medicinal preparations to treat conditions such as arthritis. The good news is that the stingers are not removed because the surface of the plate is hard. So, the bees live to sting another day.
How did Abeeco perform? Not as well as I would have liked. I am 40-something with pretty normal skin that tends to be a bit dry in the winter. I used the mask regularly — twice a day for a month. One disappointment that was immediately apparent was the less than pleasant smell. With all that manuka honey, lavender and jojoba, one would imagine a beautiful bouquet. Not so… it was just kind of bland. My skin was nice and rosy and definitely softer. However, I still needed the rest of my regimen to keep it well moisturized. All the hype aside, the company’s promise to eliminate wrinkles was overstated. Part of this particular mask’s failure to deliver is likely due to the main ingredient falling way down on the list; like dead last. My other bee venom mask featured it second. Considering this product tends to be a bit more pricy than some of the others, I wouldn’t consider it a good value at all.