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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Ready

Exploring the Ethical Concerns of Royal Jelly & Bee Venom in Skincare

beeswax comb

When it comes to skincare, you may have noticed some interesting ingredients popping up, like royal jelly and bee venom. These bee-derived ingredients are often touted for their supposed skin benefits, but the process of collecting them can be quite concerning. Let's take a deep dive into what these ingredients are and why we choose not to use them at Bee Cosmetics.


What is Royal Jelly?

beeswax comb with bee larvae

Royal jelly is a nutrient-dense substance produced by worker bees and used to feed all the larvae in a bee colony. After the first few days of life, the male (drone) and female (worker) larvae stop getting this special food. However, when a colony decides to create a new queen, the worker bees continue to feed a select few larvae an excessive amount of royal jelly in specially constructed "queen cells." This is where the name "royal jelly" comes from - it's the food that creates the queen bee.


What is Bee Venom?

Bee venom is the toxic liquid that bees release when they sting. While not a pleasant experience for us humans, this venom serves an important purpose for bees, helping to defend the hive from threats.

What does royal jelly do in skincare?

Both royal jelly and bee venom have been touted for their potential skin benefits. Royal jelly is rich in proteins, vitamins, and other beneficial compounds, and is used for its potential to improve skin hydration, elasticity, and even reduce the appearance of wrinkles.


What does bee venom do in skincare?

Bee venom, on the other hand, is believed to have mild exfoliating and "plumping" effects on the skin. Is bee venom like Botox? Bee venom does mimic some of the effects of botox, but it is temporary and not as powerful.


In both cases, further research is needed to fully understand their exact skincare benefits.


How Are Royal Jelly and Bee Venom Collected?

large queen cell

Unfortunately, the process of collecting these bee-derived ingredients is quite invasive and often cruel to the bees in our opinion.


Royal jelly is collected by tricking a beehive into producing new queens. Worker bees are stimulated to build extra queen cells, which are then harvested for the royal jelly inside. This process kills the larvae in each queen cell.


Bee venom is extracted using a low-voltage electrical plate installed under the hive for a short period of time. When the bees come into contact with the electrodes, they receive a small shock that causes them to sting the glass surface in defence, releasing their venom. While this method allows the bees to retain their stingers (and therefore survive), it's still a highly stressful experience for the colony.


Our Stance at Bee Cosmetics

At Bee Cosmetics, we feel these collection methods are simply too cruel and invasive to the bees. We choose not to use royal jelly or bee venom. Instead, we focus on using bee-derived ingredients including honey, beeswax, and propolis that we collect safely and sustainably with no harm to our bees.


Did you know that bees naturally produce 2-3 times more honey than they require for themselves, making it possible to sustainably collect this precious resource? Similarly, beeswax and propolis are harvested in harmony with proper hive management practices during the summer months, ensuring their collection is both safe and sustainable.


We encourage our customers to do their research and avoid products containing royal jelly and bee venom. There are so many wonderful natural alternatives out there that you can feel good about using.


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