The Buzz on Bee Venom, And Other Must-Get Facials in London

Favored by Camilla and Kate, Simon and Victoria, bee-venom facials and products are keeping Britain’s “queen bees” looking young and vibrant. If you can't shoulder the two-year wait for the facial, don't give yourself worry lines; we've also rounded up five top-notch aestheticians worth a visit.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JORDAN BONNEY. MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY IMAGES (CAMILLA, DUCHESS OF CORNWALL, HUDSON); STEVE SANDS/GETTY IMAGES (PALTROW); AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES (NICHOLSON); KARWAI TANG/WIREIMAGE (MIDDLETON); SAV/GC IMAGES (COWELL); XPX/STAR MAX/GC IM
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Since time immemorial the bee, of all creatures, has been busy—buzzing around helping cross-pollinate flowers, making honey, keeping the queen alive. It is both an inspiration and, occasionally, an irritant. And currently, in the beauty world, it is the provider of one of the most popular face-saving ingredients around, its venom.

From a small Shropshire town in Central England, Deborah Mitchell has created a honeypot unlike any other, her bee-venom-based products and facials. This year she celebrates the 20th anniversary of her Heaven skincare brand, and in that time, her zeal and sheer strength of belief in what she does have gathered around her some of the most influential users any skincare company could wish for. Victoria Beckham is a devotee of her Age Defiance Cream, while Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson love her SOS oil. Simon Cowell drops in by helicopter for facials, and Mitchell has flown to L.A. to work on Jack Nicholson. However, her Very Important Client is most responsible for the buzz generated. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has been seeing her for nearly ten years. Mitchell claims neither of them can remember how they met or when she began working with the duchess. And while she will neither confirm nor deny it, the rumor mill is strong that she worked on Kate and the rest of the Middletons in time for the wedding.

Discreet as she is by her royal patronage, Mitchell told us she is adding a fourth shade this autumn to her Silk Skin BeeBee Cream, called, as one would have it, Camilla. “The new shade has a slightly warmer tone,” she says.

And while venom is at the heart of the products, the patented secret ingredient, Abeetoxin, is a natural alternative to Botox and is harvested from the hive, along with the venom and honey. When applied to the skin, these natural toxins cause a “sting” effect that firms and lifts facial muscles, as well as increases blood flow to the skin’s surface. This in turn boosts the natural production of collagen and elastin.

While it may sound scary, it is a truly re- laxing experience and is the reason most people leave the premises with a pot of the Bee Venom Mask. It comes in three strengths: Silver, the beginner’s version, which costs a mere $125; Black, the favorite at $245; and Gold, which at $555 is the most highly prized. Only one per person is available of the Gold version, and the sale is recorded accordingly. (We’re not certain this applies to people living in palaces, though.) The mask can be used lightly over a moisturizer or left on for 20 minutes, then washed off. In total, the Heaven skincare range has more than 150 products, plus a recently launched men’s line.

And while the products are available in spas throughout Asia and the Middle East, Mitchell has yet to crack the U.S., which she plans to concentrate on doing this fall.

All products are available at heavenskincare.com, along with a list of salons offering the bee-venom facial. To book one with Deborah Mitchell, call 44-19/5246-1888. But note, the wait list is currently two years.