Would you sting your face with nettles if it made you look younger?
Facialist to royals and celebrities Deborah Mitchell has done just that in her five-year quest for the ultimate anti-ageing cream.
‘I did sit in my kitchen stinging the lines on my forehead,’ says Deborah, who is famous within the beauty industry for bottling the venom of worker bees to create what she calls the Bee Venom Mask, dubbed the organic alternative to Botox.
Victoria Woodhall picked out a selection of the best nettle beauty products, as it’s revealed the Duchess of Cornwall (pictured) is an early adopter of Heaven Skincare Nettle Venom Anti-Ageing Cream
The bee mask’s best-known devotee is the Duchess of Cornwall — and now Camilla has become an early adopter of the £64 Heaven Skincare Nettle Venom Anti-Ageing Cream too.
‘The venom of the nettle causes a reaction similar to that of bees when they sting — the skin goes into rapid repair on first contact,’ says Deborah.
Here, VICTORIA WOODHALL gives our pick of the best nettle beauty products.
Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, £175, cultbeauty.co.uk
Victoria said a beauty editor friend declared Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum (pictured) the best rejuvenating oil she’s tried
This cool Californian serum was name-checked by Gwyneth Paltrow as part of her $603 (£457) night-time routine. Behind the eye-watering price tag is an oil with 22 restorative extracts, including nettle for its high vitamin A and C content to combat wrinkles and sun damage.
Verdict: With a strong smell of jasmine, this was a little too overpowering for me but a beauty editor friend snatched it away and declared it the best rejuvenating oil she had tried.
Amly City Screen Protective Face Serum, £68, contentbeautywellbeing.com
Victoria said Amly City Screen Protective Face Serum (pictured) instantly uplifted and soothed her skin
This botanical serum claims to harness the detoxifying and antioxidant protection powers of nettle extract along with other potent botanicals including echinacea and green tea.
Verdict: With pollution a prime cause of spots, ageing and dullness, my urban commuter skin lapped up this potent serum, which was instantly uplifting and soothing.
It sat well under moisturiser and make-up.
The frizz tamer
R+Co Atlantis Moisturising Shampoo, £24.50, cultbeauty.co.uk
Victoria said R+Co Atlantis Moisturising Shampoo (pictured) provides a superior hair-washing experience that leaves hair soft
This really is the luxe way to get your nettles — in shampoo that uses the plant extract to add shine and tame frizz. It is made by a New York styling collective.
Verdict: While I’d be pushed to say how much nettle effect is in this shampoo, it provides a superior hair-washing experience that leaves my hair soft, bouncy and glossy, especially when I use it with the Atlantis conditioner.
Despite its cheaper price, with notes of bergamot, wild fig, cyclamen, lotus flower, cedarwood and tonka beans, there is nothing sackcloth about this nettle concoction.
Clean and green
Elemis Superfood Facial Wash, £28, elemis.com
Victoria said she only needed to use a pea-sized amount of Elemis Superfood Facial Wash (pictured) for smooth and bright skin
Nettle juice is one of six vitamin and mineral-rich foods in this cocktail of supergreens rich in ‘prebiotics’. These balance the skin’s microflora, which is essential for a healthy skin barrier.
Verdict: With nettle, broccoli, kale, avocado, pumpkin seed and wheatgrass, this virtuous-sounding facial smoothie is certainly nutrient-dense. It seems a shame to wash it all off, especially at nearly £30.
Fortunately, a pea-sized amount of this green gel is all I need for the gentle astringent powers of nettle to work its magic and leave my skin smooth and bright.
The blemish buster
The Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream, SPF30, £85, contentbeauty wellbeing.com
Victoria said The Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream (pictured) is very light and left no white residue
This daily scent-free moisturiser with sun block uses nettle to help calm, brighten and repair spot-prone skin, it is claimed. With organic and wild-crafted ingredients such as dandelion, nettle and rosehip, it sounds like a forager’s dream.
Verdict: I worry that creams with SPF will be sticky, clog pores and make spots worse — but this calming mineral formula kept my skin calm with nettle, aloe vera and chamomile.
It was very light and left no white residue, as mineral sunscreens almost always do. Fortunately, considering the price, a little goes a long way.
The hair booster
Less is More Phytonutrient Hair Root Serum, £33, contentbeauty wellbeing.com
Victoria revealed her hormonally-thinning hairline loved Less is More Phytonutrient Hair Root Serum (pictured)
Nettle is a traditional remedy for hair loss and this organic scalp-stimulating serum promises to turn back the clock on tired follicles.
Verdict: My hormonally-thinning hairline loved the zing of this serum rich in hair-nourishing ingredients, and it felt like it was waking up my scalp.
It made my roots rather heavy, so best used the night before a hair wash.