Venom-based skin care—also known as apitherapy—has been all the rage across the pond ever since Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, famously got her Royal Wedding glow on with help from a bee venom facial. Hailed as “nature’s Botox,” bee venom purportedly tricks the skin into “recovering” from its sting by producing more collagen and elastin. As the trend is rapidly pollinating at spas stateside and beyond, DAYSPA swarmed in to get the scoop.
Leamington Spa, England’s Viva Beauty and Wellness owner Sam Pilbeam was one of the world’s first spa proprietors to offer the Bee Sting Facial (60 min./£55). “At first, I had to reassure nervous clients that live bees are in no way involved in the facial, and fully explain that the venom is humanely harvested, then purified and infused into the products we use,” recalls Pilbeam, who applies said series of masks and eye care to help increase clients’ blood flow, tighten underlying muscles, and stimulate collagen and elastin. Interestingly, recipients of the “natural facelift” Pilbeam markets also had to reassure her—that they were not allergic to bees, that is. “If anyone is at all unsure, I do a small patch test behind the ear, and leave it for 24 hours. Clients should experience no reaction from the venom besides a warm, tingling sensation.” Before launching the much-buzzed-about treatment, Pilbeam attended a daylong intensive course on product knowledge, contraindications and the science behind bee venom. She then added her own touches—a massage on warm water cushions, as well as hot towels—to help clients feel like queen bees while receiving this popular treatment.
Because the women behind the Phoenix-based, family-owned Suddenly Slimmer Day Spa make a point of staying keyed into the hottest spa treatments making waves in Europe and South America, they were among the first to introduce the Bee Venom Facial (75 min./$145) on American soil last October. By swarming the home page of their website as well as all of Suddenly Slimmer’s social media channels with news of this “new and exciting spa specialty, straight from the U.K,” the spa managed to collect plenty of client excitement from the get-go, and attract local and national press attention, too. Senior esthetician Dannielli Marcelino says the beauty of this service’s appeal lies in its accessibility. “It was created as an antiaging service, but it also works great for sensitive or acneic skin, as it stimulates natural cortisol production and incorporates antibacterial manuka honey,” she explains. “This service triggers the skin to repair itself, as though it has just been stung by a bee. Even young women are demanding it; their skin is radiant and rosy for days afterward.”
At Raleigh, North Carolina’s Suite 406 Modern Skincare Studio, co-owner Robin Deresh viewed the recent addition of the Bee Sting Facial (75 min./$140) as a way to stay competitive with local med spas. “Firming is the No. 1 request we get, but it’s the hardest thing to achieve naturally, so we’re marketing this service as ‘the organic alternative to Botox’,” she says. “After a few visits, the venom helps to relax facial muscles for the long-term, so they’re less overactive and therefore prone to creating creases.” To ensure clients achieve Botox-like results, Deresh plans to sell packages of six facials, and offer a discounted take-home “Bee Sting Kit” for package recipients, too. Because the bee sting products are “light and silky and naturally aromatic,” Deresh adds, they provide a “far more relaxing” alternative to invasive antiaging procedures. Leave it to the spa industry to make people long for that fresh, “bee-stung” look!