If you take a plane to Paris, then a train to Brest, then a bus to Le Conquet, then a boat to Ouessant, you’ll end up at the edge of the world. Take a bike up a hill and through some grassy fields and finally—finally!—you’ll find yourself in the natural habitat of the Ouessant black bee, the crown jewel of Guerlain’s Abeille Royale line. It’s on that small patch of land on an island at France’s most western tip where, since 2011, the storied French beauty brand has committed to protecting, researching, and caring for Ouessant’s black bees.
For 15 years, Guerlain’s “bee lab” has been researching how bees and honey from four different habitats, including Ouessant, can be used in skin repair and beauty products. Ouessant’s black bees produce honey with tons of amino acids and fructose, which make it perfect for age-repair skincare.
Honey and royal jellies produced by bees are the main ingredients in Guerlain’s Abeille Royale line, which they call “a skincare program with BlackBee Repair technology, which helps stimulate the key mechanisms of the skin’s revitalizing process to help continuously correct wrinkles and loss of tissue firmness.” Honey has long been used as a natural healing substance—since antiquity, it’s been used in bandages and wraps to help heal wounds, as it has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Guerlain’s scientists believe that those properties can also be applied to skincare, to help slow the aging process, repair fine lines and wrinkles, and moisturize. They’ve applied those principles to create two new products inspired by honey bandages—the Honey Treatment Day Cream and Honey Treatment Night Cream—which, when used together, may reduce “visible signs of collagen loss [like] wrinkles [and] lack of firmness.” The creams include two new “dermo-expert” ingredients: polyfragmented hyaluronic acid, which helps skin maintain ideal moisture levels, and pro-elasticity hexapeptide, which helps increase the skin’s plumpness.
Both of the creams use honey harvested from the bee conservation project in Ouessant, and the night cream also includes honey from Guerlain’s bee conservatory on the Greek island of Ikaria. Given Guerlain’s commitment to sustainability, both also come in refillable jars to reduce waste and encourage customers to shop sustainably.
The products are available exclusively on Guerlain.com through August 15, and then at beauty retailers nationwide.
Jessica Roy is the former Digital Director of ELLE.com. Prior to that, she worked as the News Editor of The Cut. She likes baking, running, and Instagrams of your dog.