Beauty review: Are bees better than Botox?

Manuka Doctor – ApiNourish Rejuvenating Bee Venom Face Mask £19.95

I may be only 39 but I, like Dannii Minogue and Amanda Holden, I’m looking for an alternative to Botox that will keep those pesky lines at bay without freezing my facial expressions.

Microdermabrasion and aromatherapy facials with a firm face massage are effective on fine lines, but pricey. The results last long enough to wow at a party but, for a convenient at-home treatment or product that actually works, I’ve yet to find a mask or moisturiser that get visible effects.

So when Holland & Barrett got in touch with a new range of anti-ageing products based on 12 years of research, I was keen to give them a try. Even more intriguing, Manuka Doctor products, which start at a mere £14.99, and contain Purified Bee Venom (PBV).

With over 10,000 bee stings per pot, the Purified Bee Venom is renowned for its anti-bacterial and anti-wrinkle properties, acting as a one-two punch to post-party complexions. It promises to refresh and rejuvenate, boosting collagen production and thus the emergence of new, fresh skin cells.

The ingredient is popular in Korea, where the Korean government has invested £100,000s into bee venom research, including applications for serious health problems such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

I tried the Manuka Doctor Rejuvenating Face Mask, which also contains Manuka honey for extra moisturising and anti-bacterial benefits. It’s £49.99 so more pricey than other products in the range, but I discovered a little went a long way.

I was a little concerned as my skin has been quite sensitive this winter, but the mask had an immediate soothing, cooling effect – no stings (ha ha).

You are advised to leave it on for between 15 and 30 minutes then rub off gently in upwards movements. I applied it in the bath, so my pores had a good ol’ steam before I applied the product.

There were some pleasing immediate effects. Skin felt fresher and touchably smoother and I had that pleasing tightening sensation you get with quality masks. The cream smelt gorgeous and felt luxurious.

The next day, lines and pores were visibly reduced and one result I didn’t expect – it calmed patches of redness that have been flaring up for weeks due to winter irritation. Impressive. I also had a very smooth base for make-up, like I had already applied primer.

Manuka Doctor will be the only mass market beauty range to contain bee venom – Manuka Honey, Shea Butter, Royal Jelly, Rosehip, Blackcurrant, Propolis, Coco and other natural anti-ageing ingredients are also used in the range. Other celebrities rumoured to be fans of sting-some beauty boosters include Kylie, Posh, Emilia Fox and even the fragrant Kate Middleton.

For a sub-£20 product that will last months, based on a fortnightly application, there is bound to be a beauty buzz about this product and it really wouldn’t surprise me if the range sells out. Available online or at selected Holland & Barrett stores.



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Editor in chief Suzi Dixon studied at Bournemouth university, went away for a while to work at The Daily Telegraph, then moved back to the sunny South coast for a quiet (er) life. Bournemouth News & Info is her website and she is assisted by the fabulous Fred From France in all things geeky and technical. Hire us to make your website, too, if you like.

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