Following the age-old maxim "If a royal has it, everyone wants" (at least that's the maxim we live by), bee venom masks have become the beauty treatment du jour.
After British beauty guru Deborah Mitchell revealed in July 2010 that the Duchess of Cornwall had been using her bee venom anti-aging treatments, inquiries about the product exploded.
Now demand for the "organic face lift" has drawn Mitchell to China, where the Daily Mail reports she has signed a contract for approximately $164 million to offer the bee venom treatment and other Deborah Mitchell products in 2,500 Chinese stores and salons.
The beauty treatment, cited as "nature's alternative to Botox," uses the paralyzing power of bee venom to lift, tighten and firm the face muscles and reduce wrinkles, claims Heaven by Deborah Mitchell's website.
You can also buy a 15 ml. pot of bee venom mask to use at home for $31.84.
But does it really work? A look at the website of the American Apitherapy Society, an organization devoted to bee venom therapy research and education, shows that apitoxin (bee venom's less sexy name) does have a strong anti-inflammatory property that helps rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis and gout, among other ailments.
There is no mention of apitoxin's anti-aging properties, however.
But then, all one needs is to take a look at Camilla these days, who really is glowing for a woman of 64. Just to be sure, the Telegraph sent a reporter to try the bee venom treatment herself and we have to admit: she looks pretty excellent.