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Bee venom treatments are a favorite of Kate Middleton and Camilla Parker Bowles and indeed I’ve seen some pretty impressive before-and-afters of Ms. Parker Bowles, so I when TIA offered me the chance to try Nelson Honey’s Royal Nectar Bee Venom Eye Cream ($35 in the shop), I was hopeful that it would ease the crow’s feet that have begun to settle around my eyes. While these lines aren’t yet deep and appear mostly when I smile, I do want to stay ahead of them (I’m into my 30s, so now’s the time!) I also have fine lines beneath my eyes (eczema leftovers) and hoped that Royal Nectar could ease these, too. Having used Royal Nectar for four weeks now, I can see why Kate and Camilla are fans—the crow’s feet have softened and the skin around my eyes (my upper eyelids in particular) looks hydrated and healthy. Royal Nectar wasn’t as effective on those fine lines beneath my eyes, but perhaps residual eczema lines are beyond the scope of this anti-aging cream.
Excited as I was to try Royal Nectar, I was also apprehensive: it’s not quite a piranha pedicure or letting snails ooze about my face, but bee venom hardly sounds like soothing skin care. I’d anticipated tingling and maybe a bit of an itch, but Royal Nectar went on easily and was comfortable on my sensitive skin. The cream is lightweight and soaks in almost immediately, making it great under sunscreen and makeup. In spite of almond oil and Shea butter, it’s not overly rich, if that’s your preference (I like heavier creams), but it keeps skin hydrated. And it does the job—by week two my crow’s feet were in retreat and, by the end of the trial, were diminished in length by about a third (I tested with a scrunched-up squinty smile), and the area around my eyes looks firm and healthy.
Research (on the Ok! Magazine website) reveals that the Royals favor a different formulation, but Royal Nectar features the same the key ingredients, venom and Manuka honey, as well as almond and avocado oils, and green tea extract (to name a few). According to the Nelson Honey website, bee venom “gently stimulates facial muscles for a natural anti-aging effect on fine lines.” This reminds of microcurrent, which is said to be very effective in smoothing lines and restoring fullness to the face.
Honey, meanwhile, is great for skin. It’s a humectant and helps skin absorb and retain moisture, it gently exfoliates and it’s filled with antioxidants. Honey is also a natural antibacterial and has been used to treat acne, wounds and even burns. And Manuka honey, found in New Zealand and made by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush, is said to have “extraordinary healing qualities” that exceed the already impressive health-giving properties of regular honey.
For those concerned about animal welfare and the diminishing bee population, Nelson Honey explains that the venom is extracted using “low voltage electrical stimulation [which] causes bees to release the venom without losing the barbed sting (which usually results in bee deaths).”
(Perhaps obviously) this product is not for those with bee sting allergies. Likewise, you should do a patch test, even if you don’t think you have an allergy.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the results. Again, my crow’s feet weren’t deep but I’m impressed that Royal Nectar was able to shorten them and increase softness around my eyes. I’ve long heard that honey is an excellent skin care treatment and this trial has inspired me to try a honey mask and explore more bee-based skin care!