What’s the dumbest thing you did this week? Unless you smeared your face in bee venom, you’re officially smarter than me.
Who guided me to such a stupid decision? The Duchess of Cambridge, obvi. The internet is awash with stories about how Kate Middleton allegedly uses a bee venom cream as a form of tony rich-lady Botox.
Kate Middleton seems adept at a lot of things I want to try but would undoubtedly fail at--marrying a prince, rowing, using a curling iron--and so the idea of us sharing a skin secret with her was titillating.
The last time I was at Sephora, the Manuka Doctor Apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask immediately caught my eye. It's a creamy face mask boasting New Zealand Manuka honey and BEE VENOM. Like the shameless grifter I am, I asked for a sample. The beautiful Sephora lady raved about the mask as she shoveled it into a tiny jar: how it made your skin feel fresh and firm, how you looked less tired after you wiped it off.
She reached to hand over the jar, and suddenly startled, jerking her hand back.
“You aren’t allergic to bees, are you?”
To be frank, I have no idea if I’m allergic to bees or not. I haven’t been stung by a bee in 15 years; I am allergic to mosquito bites, but mosquitos are angry and disgusting, while bees are the preferred symbol of BEYONCE, so I felt like the two afflictions might be unrelated.
She explained that in their training on the product, employees were told that people with bee-sting allergies should not ever use the mask. A sane person would probably find this warning alarming, but I actually found it exciting. How potent! I thought. I ran home to try it, visions of low-grade toxins dancing in my head.
Here's the deal with this mask: Put it on for 10 minutes, and you'll look good afterwards. When applied, it really does feel like your entire face is being stung by bees, but in a pleasant, dull way that won't have you running for an EpiPen. When removed, your face looks tighter and flushed, although the results don't last for very long.
The danger: Don't become delirious with success, which is what happened to me. If my face looks so good after 10 minutes, imagine what it would look like if I left the mask on overnight? I wondered, picturing myself rising and staring at the reflection of an I Am Sam-era Dakota Fanning. “The mask has soothing honey!” I wagered, as if the calming powers of honey were enough to offset literal poison.
But I threw caution to the wind and slept in the mask anyway. I bounded to the mirror in excitement the next morning, expecting to see a face pulled tighter than Ricky Martin’s pants.
NOPE. I looked exactly as you might imagine a person who slept with a faceful of bee venom might look: red, inflamed, and a little bit hive-y. It took about five days of calming moisturizers and prayer to get my face back to it's sad, pre-venom state.
The lesson? Don't be stupid. If you DO want to smear your face with actual toxins, be really prudent to yield the best results and don’t veer off of the directions. Also, examine yourself and your desire to put bee venom on your face in the first place. It will probably hurt and you won’t be any closer to looking like Kate Middleton.