France’s Biggest Beauty Secret Makes A Splashy Launch In The U.S.

Ask anyone whose aging, and they’ll most likely tell you that one of the things they want most is to at least look younger. Being told that you look decades younger than you actually are is one of the biggest compliments an adult (especially a woman) can get, and to be in that exclusive club of people who’ve drunk from the proverbial fountain of youth is where most would love to be. For millennia, people all over the world have gone to extremes to achieve this, from eating leeches to taking crocodile dung mud baths.

However, a mother-daughter team have rediscovered a centuries-old way of pursuing the dream of anti-aging, and it comes from France.

Enter Stacey and Kelsey Bent, a mother and daughter respectively who have frequently moved between New York City and Paris for most of their lives. While speaking with a Parisian neighbor one day a few years ago, they learned something about her that changed the course of their lives.

“At some point in our conversation she mentioned that her husband was 92 and played tennis everyday, at which point Kelsey and I almost fell off of our chairs,” Stacey explained. “We asked her how old she was, and it turned out she was in her late 70s, but we always assumed she was in her 50s. We thought there was no way, her skin was amazing!”

The most logical follow-up question for these two to have was “What’s your secret!?” to which their neighbor smiled and explained that there was only one thing she’s ever used for her skin…

Once something mostly indulged in by the wealthy and those in the know, Royal Jelly doesn’t get its name for being used by nobility. Actually, it’s used by bees, queens specifically. The other bees of the hive create Royal Jelly exclusively for their queen. This Royal Jelly causes the queen to live as much as 70 times longer than any of the other bees in the hive. Worker bees live for weeks, but the queen lives for years. Royal Jelly also enables the queen to repopulate the hive, laying thousands of eggs per day. It’s quite literally a superfood.

And, as it turns out, using it on your face as a skincare product has transformative effects.

While it’s said that someone as far back as Cleopatra knew about this ingredient, it was Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France who brought it into the mainstream, and it soon became associated with French beauty culture, some even eating it like the queen would.

Stacey and Kelsey embarked on a quest to the Pyrénées mountains in southwestern France, where the best Royal Jelly was said to be made, and started using it for themselves. As it turns out, their neighbor wasn’t lying or a time traveler, and they saw the results of what Royal Jelly can do first hand. The trip was their inspiration to launch their new line French Royal, created to emulate the quintessential French style.

Stacey said that while a number of other cosmetic brands know about Royal Jelly, it’s a bit watered down. “We’ve found that a lot of high-end skincare companies use Royal Jelly in their products, but it’s just one part of it and not purely that,” she said. “Our first product is pure, undiluted Royal Jelly.” When beekeepers harvest it, she explains, it gets packed in the jar, and that’s it. Done. Just apply it to your face before bed and you’re set.

Scientifically, the jelly really doesn’t need anything else anyway, and this family entity knows their stuff.

“In Royal Jelly there’s a bioactive compound called 10-HDA, which is what’s responsible for what it does for us,” said Kelsey. “We ran a cross analysis between other French Royal Jellies, as well as ones from all over Europe and Asia, and our jelly has two times as much 10-HDA than any other we’ve researched.”

“We went into this with basically no experience, but we took a lot of time researching and learning how this was made, how it should be packaged, shipped, preserved, and so on,” Stacey said. “One thing we knew is that we wanted to work directly and exclusively with the producers in France, rather than have it shipped in from China. We wanted to be environmentally friendly and ecologically sound not just with the jelly itself, but with everything about us.”

Now, to touch on something that every piece of journalism these days needs to include in some capacity, it was interesting to know how Covid affected this burgeoning brand. You’d be surprised to learn that the pandemic may have actually saved the young company.

“One of the biggest problems we had initially was that we weren’t gaining much traction with the high-end, reputable suppliers in France,” Stacey said.

“Compared to the megacompanies around us, we’re such a small slice,” Kelsey added.

However, with the onset of the pandemic, many of the top executives were confined to their apartments and spent a lot more time staring at their computer screens. Now, the duo had a captive audience, and their emails were getting answers.

While bees are literally the lifeblood of this business, any grade schooler can tell you how important bees are to the rest of the world. Yet, bees are terrifyingly close to being listed as endangered, and a substantial decline in the bee population would be devastating to life on Earth. France in particular has multiple laws concerning bee preservation, as agriculture is such a large part of life there.

French Royal is also committed to helping the sustainability of bees, partnering with hotel chain Fairmont’s long running conservation project “Bee Sustainable” who, luckily for the duo, had been looking for a bee-related skincare product to rep, which made them a natural fit.

Stacey explained that she and the VP of Fairmont have also brainstormed some ideas for future programs, with one of the most interesting ones allowing schools to have their own hives and teaching students about beekeeping. She also adds the proceeds from every sale will go to a sustainability project. “We produce very quality products that have an enormous amount of respect for the environment,” Stacey said.

Sharon Cohen, the Vice President of Fairmont, echoed the same sentiment. “Partnering with French Royal was a natural fit,” she said. “Quality, excellence and passion for ethical and responsible sourcing are the three key values we align on.”

At the end of the day, what people look for in skincare products are real results, “ Kelsey added. “What makes our product unique is that you see the benefits immediately but they also accrue over time.”

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