Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews

Skincare guides & product reviews for hydration lovers & the moisture barrier obsessed

Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser Review

I’m very fortunate to have gotten my hands on this Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser. I had my eye on it for a while, but put off purchasing it because of the high price tag – $190! Then my friend Kathleen won a huge Rodial haul at a charity auction, and because she’s allergic to bees, she was kind enough to pass the Bee Venom products to me. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have this review, so everyone get out your stationery sets and get started on those thank you cards!

Rodial is a high-end UK brand that produces more than one skincare line based on trends that started in Korea. In general, I’ve noticed that the UK tends to embrace the unique ingredients that come from Asia’s skincare lines very quickly. I’m a little envious of that fact. They get all the good costume dramas, they’re home to a few of my favorite beauty bloggers, and they love edgy skincare ingredients? BRB, moving to England.

What is it?
The Bee Venom Moisturiser is a thick cream designed for daily use to target fine lines and signs of aging. On many of the US retail sites, the Rodial Bee Venom line is described as being for all skin types. However, the official Rodial site states that this line is made to combat the damaging effects of menopause on the skin. I’m nowhere near menopause, but my skin type is dry, and I do have a couple of fine lines, which are two of the primary effects this skincare product is designed to correct.

Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser

Here is the full ingredients list:
Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butyrospermum Parki (Shea Butter), Glycerin, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Oil, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyldodecanol, Squalene, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclohezasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-75 Stearate, Tribehenin, Alcohol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Ceteth-20, Steareth-20, Glyceryl Behenate, Ectoin, Lecithin, Polyacrylamide, Xanthan Gum, Capsicum Annuum Meristem Cell Culture, Parfum (Fragrance), Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, C12-14 Isoparaffin, Disodium EDTA, Geranylgeranylisopropanol, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Laureth-7, Triethanolamine, Citric Acid, Aslpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxycitrinellal, Limonene, Citronellol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Beta-Carotene, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Daucus Carota (Carrot) Sativa Seed Oil, Cyclotetrapeptide-24 Aminocyclohexane Carboxylate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Bee Venom.

I find it interesting that even though bee venom is this line’s namesake ingredient, it’s also the last ingredient listed, meaning it has the smallest presence of all the ingredients in this formula. I’m assuming it doesn’t take much bee venom to do the job. I especially hope this is the case, since bee venom is extremely hard to collect in large quantities. If you’re interested in seeing how bee venom is collected, you should check out the video below which, I should mention, has a hilariously dramatic soundtrack.

As I was watching it, my sister, who was in the other room, actually asked me if I was watching something epic. When I told her it was a video of someone collecting bee venom she said, “It sounds like he’s about to get stung a million times and yell, ‘I’LL NEVERRR STOOOOP! BEEEEEES!’ ” That is an accurate assessment of the soundtrack. Also, bee venom looks a lot like cocaine.

You might be wondering what the allure of putting bee venom on your face is. The idea is that the application of bee venom to the skin “tricks” your body into thinking it’s been stung, thereby causing an increased blood flow to the area that stimulates collagen and elastin production. It’s touted as a “natural Botox,” that smooths, lifts, and tightens skin. I was unable to find any scientific evidence that this is true, but I did find an abstract for a study that showed bee venom to be effective in wound healing on animal skin. That study is relatively new, having just been published in October of 2012. My hope is that with the growing popularity of bee venom in skincare, we’ll see more studies on its efficacy in the coming months.

Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser

In addition to the bee venom, this moisturizer contains a few other ingredients of note. Some that jumped out at me include:

Shea Butter – This ingredient is a classic for a reason. It’s anti-inflammatory, full of moisturizing fatty lipids, and contains Vitamins C and E.
Rice Germ Oil – Antioxidant, lots of moisturizing fatty acids, as well as Vitamins F and E
Sodium Hyaluronate – Better known as Hyaluronic Acid, this is a humectant ingredient that can hold hundred times its weight in water. Helps skin retain moisture and has a temporary, skin-plumping benefit.
Carrot Seed Oil – Rich in beta-Carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A), as well as vitamins B, C, D, and E.

When I ran the ingredients list through COSDNA, there were definitely a few red flags. Most notably, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, and Steareth 20. On a scale of 0-5, with 5 being the highest risk, Cetyl Alcohol gets a 5 for acne potential and a 2 as an irritant potential. Cetearyl Alcohol scored a 4 for acne potential and a 3 as an irritant risk, while Steareth 20 gets a 2 for acne and a 1 as a potential irritant.

This moisturizer promises to smooth fine lines, improve skin texture, and combat the damaging effects of menopause on the skin.

This moisturizer has a lot of things going for it. The texture is creamy, smooth, and possibly the most luxurious feeling of any moisturizer I’ve ever tried. I genuinely and thoroughly enjoyed the process of massaging it into my skin. It did an amazing job moisturizing, and my skin felt really fantastic and smooth while I used it. I applied it twice daily, but I couldn’t do it for 28 consecutive days, which is normally how long I need to properly evaluate a skincare product. More on why I couldn’t do it in a moment.

Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser

In addition to the luxurious texture, I found that it did not make my skin feel greasy or oily even though it was providing plenty of moisture. I also really enjoyed the smell – it has a very faint scent of flowers and honey.

Throughout the duration of my trial period with this moisturizer, I did notice a temporary plumping effect on my skin. Long term, I didn’t see much difference in my fine lines, but I expected that. The only two actives that have been definitively proven to actually reduce fine lines (and not just make them temporarily less visible) are retinoids and Alpha Hydroxy Acids, and this cream contains neither of those.

Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser

Now, here’s the bad part, and unfortunately, it’s really bad: this moisturizer consistently triggered cystic acne breakouts for me. I was in denial about it for a while because I loved using this product. I kept thinking it must be something else, but then I stopped using this moisturizer, and the deep-rooted pimples that were appearing on my chin and on the side of my nose shrank significantly. After a week, I started using this moisturizer again, and the cystic pimples came back within days. I was heartbroken. This was a dealbreaker, obviously.

I don’t believe the bee venom was the guilty ingredient. I think it’s more likely the Cetearyl Alcohol, the Cetyl Alcohol, and the Steareth 20. Each of these ingredients have the potential to be a nasty acne trigger, and having them all in one formula made this product a perfect storm of cystic acne for me.

It’s not a complete loss – I am able to use this on my neck and décolleté without any incident. I have to say, my décolleté has never looked better. However, I would never purchase this cream, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who is even remotely acne prone.

I’m not giving up on bee venom, even though the Rodial Bee Venom Moisturiser was a miss for me. I’m still very interested in seeing how this ingredient performs in a formula that doesn’t break me out.

Where to Buy:
If you’d like to try this moisturizer out for yourself, you can pick it up at the SkinStore. You can get 20% off by using the coupon code FAB20 at checkout.

Skin & Tonics Rating:
Performance: 2/5 – Perfect amount of moisture, nice, temporary, skin-plumping plumping effect, lovely luxurious texture, and very pleasant, honey-like smell. Unfortunately, it also contains several acne triggers that caused me to break out in cystic pimples.

Quality: 3/5 – Lots of nice skincare actives, and beautiful, sturdy packaging. Also contains a lot of potential acne triggers and irritants.

Value: 2/5 – $190 is way too much to spend on a moisturizer, even if it is a luxury product. Much of that cost is probably due to the bee venom, which is an extremely expensive ingredient to harvest.

Overall: 2/5


Have you tried any bee venom products you like, or do you have any bee venom products on your wish list? Tell me what they are in the comments!

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10 comments onRodial Bee Venom Moisturiser Review

  1. That SUCKS! I like a lot of fatty alcohols in body washes, but comedogenics in skin products, yikes. I’ve had deep acne cysts and I HATE EM. My current routine seems to leave me free of them, so I’d be so disappointed if a new product was causing them.

    Thanks for reviewing though, perhaps people who are not acne prone will still get a lot out of this review, and those of us who are will know to stay away.

    • Kerry

      Oooh, yes! I can see how the fatty alcohols would be amazing in a body wash. (BTW, do you have any body washes you recommend?)

      I’m wondering if one of the qualities of menopausal skin is that it’s not usually acne prone, in which case, this product would probably be amazing.

      • Right now I’m still using the body shop strawberry body scrub. I wash with a back scrubber on my whole body while using this. I need mad exfoliation lol. I’m not sure how good the scrub is but I LOVE how it smells. I bought a ton of the body shop products in the fall and I still have a lot left, hehe. I wish to try more products, and I usually go for something with salicylic acid (which this has a tiny tiny amount of) and something with a little physical exfoliation. Honestly, anything I would recommend would probably bleed someone else, lol. I have really thick skin >:

  2. Just a guess, but I think there’s an assumption that only a very small percentage of adult women have trouble with acne, and/or that acne is merely a product of adolescence and that the hormonal changes associated with menopause or other adult hormonal chemistry changes don’t cause acne.

    Obviously wrong on both counts, but it’s kind of astonishing how many skin care products marketed for adult or maturing skin have acne-causing ingredients. That’s the only theory I can think of that makes any kind of sense.

    • Kerry

      Sharyn, I think your guess is spot on! And who knows – maybe it really is only a small percentage of adult women that have acne problems? Since reading your comment, I find myself wondering if *I* think it’s more common because I suffer from it. It does seem like a majority of the women I’ve met through this blog suffer from it in some form, but then, maybe women who have issues with acne are more likely to have an avid interest in skin care. I’m going to have to research the statistics on this now!

  3. $190??? I have received samples of that before from some friends of mine, and it was good…but not $190 worth, that’s a bit much. It sounds like they’re really trying to make some money off the idea that there is a little bit of bee venom in it.

    • Kerry

      Yeah, $190 is a lot! I imagine bee venom is probably an expensive ingredient, even wholesale. Still, whether it’s worth the price is still in question. I’d like to try bee venom in a different formula to see if the cost is truly justified!

  4. Happy to find your blog!

    I tried the bee venom moisturizer ( Rodial ) and notices that I began to get small blemishes…I blamed them on stress, hormones, etc.

    I think that you are correct about the blemish producing properties……I am over 40 and do not normally have blemishes…..

    I have been using it on my neck and décolletage……

    Comments would be appreciated.

    Many thanks!

    • Kerry

      Hi Jane! Sounds like you’re sensitive to something in it as well! What a bummer. I was so disappointed when I realized this cream was the source of new breakouts, since I loved everything else about it. I can tell you that I have used many other products with the bee venom ingredient without issue since this moisturizer, so my prediction that the bee venom was not what triggered my breakouts did turn out to be correct. I think it’s just the particular blend of fatty alcohols in this formula that didn’t agree with me.

      What do you think you’ll try next?

  5. mia aleesyah

    i did aplied new image bee venom cream from new zealand n today is my 4th day of applyin it. 1st day my eyebag disappeard. but on third day small zits or small acne comes out at my chin, around my nose, bee venom produce the bacteria thingy from my skin?