This is a high-end product review – Guerlain’s Abeille Royale Collection. It was the exquisite packaging that drew me in. I love the Guerlain branding of gold, with the beehive and honey theme. But does opulent packaging and a luxury price tag translate into efficacy and a great formulation? Possibly not, but the products look and smell as you would expect from the esteemed French fragrance house.
“Bee products are some of the world’s most effective natural healing substances. Guerlain Research has extracted their active power to create Abeille Royale: a skincare program with a Repairing Concentrate that stimulates the key mechanisms of the healing process, at every key level of the skin*, to continuously help to repair wrinkles and loss of tissue firmness. ” – Guerlain
* In vitro tests on ingredients
First thing’s first. The range is bee-product themed. The range uses honey and royal jelly as key ingredients in the marketing, so I wanted to find out about the origin, properties and efficacy of honey and royal jelly in skin care.
Honey has been used extensively for its therapeutic properties. It is anti-microbial and has been used as a dressing for wounds and burns. Honey is also found in treatments for skin conditions, including dermatitis and psoriasis. As an ingredient in cosmetics and skin care, honey is said to keep the skin youthful by preventing wrinkles, regulating the acid balance of skin and preventing skin infections infections.
You will find honey in lip balm, cleansers, moisturiser, post-sun creams, toners, shampoos, and conditioners. So as far as an additive in skincare, it is a great, natural ingredient.
The only consideration is that some people experience allergic reactions, but in the case of a Guerlain product, the whole bee theme would probably tip off a potential buyer with a bee allergy that it wasn’t the best skin care range for that person.
What is Royal Jelly?
According to skincare.org:
“Royal jelly is a whitish secretion made the hypopharynx glands of the worker bees. It is used in the nutrition of the larvae and the queen bee (source: Wikipedia). This specialized nutrition increases the size of queen bees, improves fertility and enhances long life. It is for these reasons the royal jelly is internally consumed by humans and also used externally to nourish and improve the appearance of skin.”
Reported properties of royal jelly in skin care:
- Anti-aging and wrinkle reducer
- Skin and wound healing properties (heals acne, scars, cuts, and wounds)
- Antibacterial agents
I could only find one scientific study about royal jelly, but it did find that fresh royal jelly did assist with wound healing and has antibacterial properties. As far as the other claims of its efficacy I couldn’t find any additional proof or studies. I’m not saying it isn’t an amazing ingredient, just that I didn’t find any definitive research apart from a paper on anti-virulence of royal jelly and garlic. The other claims (of collagen synthesis and anti-ageing) are antecdotal from what I can gather.
Guerlain Abeille Royale – Dark Spot Corrector Pore Minimizer Serum
(RRP $231.00AUD at Sephora)
After cleansing, I use a gentle foaming cleanser in the shower in the morning. I used a budget cleanser as I couldn’t stretch to a Guerlain cleanser. I applied the liquid serum to my face and neck, just two pumps using the airless opaque pump (the opacity and airless pump preserves any antioxidants and delicate ingredients as well as preventing bacterial growth). The serum doesn’t have that heavy silicone “slip” that many high end serums have, and a little goes a long way. It does have a beautiful fresh scent as you would expect. The product absorbs pretty quickly and unlike some other serums it doesn’t leave a film over the face. It is soothing and didn’t irritate my skin at all.
What’s in the Serum?
Looking at the ingredient list I cannot actually find the blend of bee products or any product related to royal jelly concentrate, which is confusing because it is perported to be one of the key active ingredients:
“Enriched with a brightening royal concentrate, the exclusive blend of bee products associated with glabridin, and enhanced with royal jelly concentrate, it restores skin’s natural texture, corrects and refines for an even skin tone.”
Talc, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Nylon-12, Lauroyl Lysine, Magnesium Myristate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Boron Nitride, Dimethicone, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraiso, Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Pentylene Glycol, Serine, Parfum (Fragrance), Allantoin, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Cinnamyl Alcohol, CGeraniol, Eugenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491 CI 77492 CI77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 73360 (Red 30 Lake), CI 77007 (Ultra Marines), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride).
If you can see it, please tell me. I have looked up every ingredient in this list and cannot find any bee products at all, so I am a bit perplexed why they would say it has been products, but not add them to the forulation, even a tiny bit for marketing. I want to love this product. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely serum, and the packaging is beyond anything else on my shelf, but their product description and formulation don’t add up. Is this false advertising?
My rating for this, in light of the lack of ingredients claimed in the advertising 4/10. It’s pleasant enough to use, but I can’t see the reason for the price tag, other than the packaging and market placement as a luxury brand. I didn’t see any reduction in my pigmentation or pore size over the period of two months of use, but my skin did feel lovely in the morning. The 4 points are for packaging and an OK serum. I wanted to love this, but it doesn’t impress me, apart from the fragrance and packaging.
Guerlain Abeille Royale – Up-Lifting Eye Care
Application and experience of Abeille Royale Up-Lifting Eye Care
Before I apply all over face creams I always apply my eye cream. Again, very luxurious packaging, with the trademark “beehive” hexagon shaped glass jar and gold coloured lid. Looks great on my dresser.
So what about the product itself? It is very light weight and not being an airless pump you need to use a little applicator to scoop out the product (I cheat because I lots the applicator and use the back of my nail). I then dot it on with my ring finger, for the gentlest touch, and pat it into my unde eye area and the wrinkles between my eyes with the left over. Again it absorbs easily, and doesn’t leave a film and my eyes feel cool and fresh.
As far as the formulation goes this does have an impressive list of ingredients, as well as the honey (6th in a long listing – so there’s a fair bit of it) and royal jelly (which is about in the top 1/3 of the listing so a moderate quantity). I can also see that there are a number of wonderful natural ingredients as well as a beautifully formulated eye cream.
Aqua(Water), Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Mel(Honey), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Steareth-21, Bis-Behenyl/Isostearyl/Phytosteryl Dimer Dilinoleyl, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Royal Jelly, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Steareth-2, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, Propylene Carbonate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum,, Sodium Citrate,Tromethamine, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Parfum (Fragrance), Peg-8, Terminalia Sericea Bark/Root Ectract, Terasodium Edta, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Adenosine, Biosaccharide Gum-2, Laureth-7, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid, Bht, Glycrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Lactate, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5, Cyathea Medullaris Leaf Extract, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide.
My verdict on Abeille Royale – Up-Lifting Eye Care:
The formulation, packaging and feeling of the product over 2 months is a 8/10. The only reason for the two point reduction is that I prefer an eye cream to be in a pump to prevent bacteria (the eyes are susceptable to infections).
Guerlain Abeille Royale Day Cream
Again, divine packaging, looks adorable as part of the Guerlain family on my dresser, but is it as good as the eye cream?
As a day cream, I try to use a formulation with an SPF however this is not a sunscreen formulation, but as I am indoors most of the time, that’s not a deal breaker for me at this time of year. The texture of the day cream is lovely. It is silky but without that silicone feel, absorbs into the skin and cosmetically smooths fine lines and pores. As a foundation base it is fantastic, because it doesn’t leave a film or residue so foundation glides on easily, even without a primer.
My skin doesn’t get oily through the day, except on my nose which is normal for me, but I don’t get any flakiness and my skin feels dewy despite being in air-conditioning for most of the road test of this product. It works as well as any other high end moisturiser but as far as bang for buck, I cannot see anything revolutionary in the ingredient listing. It is similar to the eye cream in ingredients, but the texture is thicker, but medium weight on the skin. It is very fragranced, but that is what you get from a French fragrance house. If you have skin that is sensitive to fragrance, I’d be doing a patch test with a sample before committing to an entire jar. I personally loved the small and feel of this product and it lasted forever, so I would probably repurchase, if I wasn’t always testing new products.
Like so many other high-end beauty brands, Guerlain use a clear glass pot, with wide neck and lid, which isn’t optimal for preventing the degradation of the antioxidants and active ingredients, such as the royal jelly, which degrades very quickly. The light and air can render many of the ingredients ineffective over time.
If you are keen on the bee products and love a beautifully scented day cream, then you will really enjoy this product. If you are looking for a therapeutic product for sensitive skin that is light and oxygen sealed, this probably isn’t for you. Fragrance is in the top half of the ingredient listing as expected with such as beautifully scented product.
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Methyl Trimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Jojoba Esters, Mel (Honey), Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Royal Jelly, Diglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Decyloxazolidinone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Parfum (Fragrance), Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Octyldodecanol, Tromethamine, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acrylates/C 10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, Sodium Citrate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Irvingia Gabonensis Kernel Butter, PEG-8, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrogenated Coco Glycerides, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Adenosine, Laureth -7, Limonene, Citric Acid, Benzyl Salicylate, Mica, Sodium Metabisulfite, BHT, Geraniol, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Sodium Lactate, Hydroxycitronellal, Vigna Aconitifolia Seed Extract, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Linalool, Cyathea Medullaris Leaf Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide.
My verdict on Abeille Royale Day Cream:
Look, it is heavy on the scent, in a clear glass jar with a wide neck, so it isn’t the best as preventing degradation/oxidisation of active ingredients or bacteria once opened, so that’s a bit of a modern skin care requirement. If you don’t mind that, and love the idea of honey and bee products, it’s a nice moisturiser for the day time and wears well under makeup. I’ll give it a 6/10 with points deducted for the lack of ingredient stability packaging, and the fact that it didn’t amaze me with the results or formulation. It’s lovely to use, but at this price point I’d expect more.
Guerlain Abeille Royale Night Cream
I love the texture and scent of this night cream. The texture is thicker than the day cream and it leaves skin quite dewy. When I wake up in the morning, my skin is still dewy and as far as a moisturiser it does a good job.
As far as the claims by Guerlain about the effects, the cream does help cosmetically with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it evens skin texture and moisture levels and when applied it does firm the skin slightly. I didn’t experience any permanent effects, such as those experienced when I use a therapeutically formulated product. Again it has the jar issue of the day cream so the efficacy of some ingredients will be degraded and some oxidisation will occur when the jar is opened. The clear jar also means any light sensitive ingredients (some antioxidants are light sensitive) will be degraded.
The night cream is a thicker more golden colour than the day cream, so that’s how I could tell them apart on the dressing table, as they are in identical jars, with the hexagonal (honeycomb) shape, like the eye cream just a bit bigger. I must have used less night cream than day cream as I ran out of day cream before the night cream.
If you like a highly scented night cream, which I do, this cream is fresh and soothing. It has a decent amount of mica so that optimally lightens the face, although mica has no long term therapeutic benefits. As a cosmetic effect to subtly luminise skin, I love it. There is vitamin E, and a variety of known moisturisers and stabilisers. There are some really exostic sounding ingredients, such as Irvingia Gabonensis kernel oil, which is African mango seed oil and that is a skin conditioner, as well as oat extract, which has skin conditioning properties.
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Mel (Honey), Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Glyceryl Stearate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Steareth-21, Royal Jelly, Diglycerin, Cetearyl Glucoside, Phenoxyethanol, Octyldodecanol, Decyloxazolidinone, Dimethicone, Parfum (Fragrance), Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Cetyl Palmitate, Cocoglycerides, Irvingia Gabonensis Kernel Butter, Disodium EDTA, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tromethamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Citrate, Polyacrylamide, Xanthan Gum, PEG-8, Sodium Hyaluronate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Mica, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Adenosine, Limonene, Citric Acid, Benzyl Salicylate, Laureth-7, BHT, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Lactate, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Vigna Aconitifolia Seed Extract, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Linalool, Cyathea Medullaris Leaf Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide
Verdict on Guerlain Abeille Royale Night Cream?
I loved the texture on my skin. I’ll do an 8/10 because I love the pot with the wide opening despite the therapeutic issues. The ritual of pretty pots on my dressing table is half the pleasure of my night time skin routine.
I loved the scent, but if you have sensitive skin or prefer unscented skincare, this may not be a great product for you. If you are looking for a revolutionary, therapeutic night cream, this is not that. If you love a dewy, fresh scented night time moisturiser where you wake up with dewy fresh skin this might be the night cream for you. If you love a beautiful jar on your dressing table, which I do, then you’ll love this.
Final comments on Guerlain Abeille Royale
I have read a number of other reviews on these product, and in particular Paula Begoun, also known as “The Cosmetics Cop” and she slams the products because they aren’t in therapeutic containers, that the products are scented and that the formulations should be more potent. I do feel that she misses an important element of the product review and that is the emotional and psychological impact of the products. When I used these products I feel pampered, luxurious and inspired. If my skincare containers are boring or unattractive, I put them away and they sit in my drawer. I keep out on display, and so use regularly, the pretty, scented jars on my dressing table.
I always feel that Paula Begoun misses an important element with her skincare philosophy and that is the emotional and psychological impact of the products. I’ve bought some of her products and left them in the drawer and never used them as the packaging didn’t inspire me. When I use Guerlain products I feel pampered, luxurious and inspired. I keep out on display, and so use regularly, the pretty, scented jars on my dressing table.
Sight (packaging and colour of the product) and smell (fragrance) as a huge part of why I love skin care and the Guerlain products may not be on a dermalogist’s top list of “effective” products, but Guerlain Abeille Royale made me feel so special and so I actually used the products religiously morning and night without fail, thus keeping my skin moisturised and cared for. Yes, they have a high price tag, but that is the brand’s place in the market. Guerlain are a luxury fragrance house, so to expect no scent and no nonsense practical packaging doesn’t make sense. Using luxury products means you feel special. The French brand delivers it’s promise of luxury, bee themed products that are beautiful to use and look at.
Note: This review was self-funded and not sponsored in any way and performed over a 2 month period.