At first I thought that I had found a product twin. Not quite identical, but a product twin nevertheless. The Heaven Bee Venom Mask, supposedly the secret of Camilla Duchess of Cornwall’s youthful new looks (and a favorite of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge), has a look alike called Royal Nectar. Like Heaven, Royal Nectar Bee Venom Mask ($68), has bee venom and manuka honey as its main ingredients. But it turned out to be even better than that. The New Zealand company behind Royal Nectar actually makes the combo of manuka honey and bee venom that it then exports to Europe, where it is used by Heaven in its mask. I’ve been trying out Royal Nectar and, although there are slight differences in the overall formula, it is every bit as good - actually, even better.

It is thanks to TIA community member, Faye, that I found Royal Nectar.  Nelson Honey actually makes the bee venom active used by Heaven and supposedly beloved by the British Royal Family. Faye hadn’t just found a lookalike, she’d gotten straight to the source.

I was curious to try Royal Nectar and see how it would stack up to Heaven’s Bee Venom Mask. As you can see from the ingredients for both listed below, the overall formulas are very similar. Royal Nectar is a thicker, richer consistency and has a stronger honey smell. It behaves much more like a mask than Heaven (in fact, Heaven is confusingly ambivalent as to whether its product is a leave on moisturizer or a mask) and it definitely needs to be rinsed and wiped off after 15 minutes or so.

Royal Nectar is super hydrating and leaves skin feeling lovely and soft. A quick reminder on bee venom: it contains at least 18 active substances and seems to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. There are other good things here too. Royal Nectar foregoes the shea butter that is in Heaven, but has added in avocado and apricot kernel oils. It also has something new to me called Easyliance. This is made from acacia (a tree indigenous to Africa) and rhizobian gum and it is supposed to make the skin feel smoother and tighter.

In case you scan Royal Nectar’s ingredients list and wonder what “optiphen plus” is, it is basically the preservative phenoxyethanol, and ticaxan is a stabilizer and thickener.

Ingredients in Royal Nectar Face Mask: Distilled Water, Nector Ease (manuka Honey, Bee Venom) Lanette Wax, Avocado Oil, Tocopherol Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Easyliance, Rose Hip Oil, Rose Water, Evening Primrose Oil, Optiphen Plus, Natural Fragrance, Cocoa Butter, Ticaxan, Marshmallow Extract, Manuka Oil, Lavender Essential Oil

Ingredients in Heaven Bee Venom Mask: Aqua, Decyl Oleate, Manuka Honey, Bee Venom, Glyceryl Monosterate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerine, Althea Officinalis (marshmallow Extract), Ceteareth 20, Butyrospermum Parkii (shea Butter), Silica, Rosa Centifolia (rose Extract Oil), Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender Essential Oil), Betacarotene, Cl75100, Methylchlooroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Tea Tree Essential Oil