Royal Jelly: The French Beauty Secret Missing From Your Beauty Regimen

The buzziest ingredient you haven’t heard of.

These days, it seems like there's always a new must-have ingredient, superfood, or workout that promises to change your life, deliver the fountain of youth, change your tires, and more (okay, maybe not the last one, but you get the point). As beauty editors, we constantly have our ears open for the next big thing. And that next big thing seems to be royal jelly. It turns out this natural ingredient has been around and providing youth-boosting benefits for some time now. However, like many of the best skin secrets, it comes to us from our friends in France.  

According to French public relations guru Marie-Laure Fournier, royal jelly is another secret to the French approach to effortless beauty. “As young girl and still today, I get a shot of royal jelly every day to support my immune system," she says. "There is a saying that you can actually live on royal jelly and water.” So if French ladies are saying this mysterious ingredient is like air for them, and legendary French skincare brands like Orlane have been using it as an ingredient since the 1960s, something has to be up. Is this really the natural solution to healthy, youthful skin we’ve all been looking for? 

Read on to learn more about royal jelly.

honey comb

Byrdie

What Is Royal Jelly?

Royal jelly is a term used to describe the creamy, white secretions that come from the throat glands of honeybees. Worker bees feed these secretions to bee larvae during the first few days of life. It’s the single protein, called royalactin, in royal jelly that causes a young bee larva to develop into a queen bee. 

Believed to be the ingredient responsible for the queen bee’s longevity and fertility, royal jelly is why the queen bee grows to be 42% larger than the worker bee. She lives five to seven years (compared to a worker bee’s seven weeks) and lays over 2000 eggs per day. These facts are impressive and have led to some to speculation that royal jelly could possibly have similar health benefits for humans.

bee with royal jelly
Mirko Graul/Shutterstock

What Is Royal Jelly?

Containing a protein content of almost 13%, royal jelly is also a good source of vitamins A, E, C, and B. Royal jelly also contains hormones, enzymes, fatty acids, sterols, DNA, RNA, gelatin, and immune proteins that protect bees against infection.

While research is still limited, studies have shown that taking royal jelly as a supplement or applying topically can lead to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Royal jelly also has estrogen-like components that are purported to improve fertility, relieve menopausal symptoms, and prevent osteoporosis. Just as royal jelly helps to significantly extend the queen’s life span, the antioxidant compounds found in royal jelly can also work to eliminate the free radicals that normally cause premature cell aging. This property is what has led to the wide use of royal jelly in anti-aging skincare products.

Note: If you are allergic to honey or bees, make sure to use caution before experimenting with royal jelly. It’s best to consult your doctor first. 

What Is Royal Jelly?

french royal jelly
French Royal Jelly $209
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This cult-secret skincare product features 100% organic, pure, concentrated royal jelly made by bees in the Pyrénées mountains of southwest France (yes, those bees probably live fancier lives than you). The vitamins A, B, C, and E help your skin fight free radicals, while amino acids smooth lines and help boost collagen production. Trust us, it doesn't get more luxe than this.

Y.S. Organic Bee Farms Royal Jelly 1,000 mg Dietary Supplement $12
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Ingesting royal jelly supplements can provide all the benefits that topical application will. One of these capsules daily promises that youthful, glowy skin in no time. 

Burt's Bees Radiance Day Cream $23
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Specially formulated with royal jelly, this daily moisturizer will minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin looking and feeling illuminated from within. 

Lancôme Nutrix Royal Body Cream $39
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Soothe the appearance of dry skin with Lancôme’s Royal Lipideu, a unique product formulation enriched with royal jelly to supplement the skin's own natural lipids for intense does of hydration. 

Baszicare Roseus Floral Hydrating Toner $110
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This hydrating mist tones the skin and replenishes moisture, and on a spiritual level, it is believed to help elevate consciousness, thanks to its essential rose oil. 

Orlane Crème Royale Eye Contour $315
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Leave it to French skincare powerhouse Orlane to bring us the most luxurious eye cream ever. Pairing royal jelly and 24-karat gold, this incredible eye cream diminishes puffiness and visibly smoothes fine lines and wrinkles while its exceptional iridescent texture reflects light, immediately illuminating the eyes.

Guerlain Abeille Royale 1-Month Youth Treatment $371
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Leave it to French skincare powerhouse Orlane to bring us the most luxurious eye cream ever. Pairing royal jelly and 24-karat gold, this incredible eye cream diminishes puffiness and visibly smoothes fine lines and wrinkles while its exceptional iridescent texture reflects light, immediately illuminating the eyes.

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream $32
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Leave it to French skincare powerhouse Orlane to bring us the most luxurious eye cream ever. Pairing royal jelly and 24-karat gold, this incredible eye cream diminishes puffiness and visibly smoothes fine lines and wrinkles while its exceptional iridescent texture reflects light, immediately illuminating the eyes.

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