We all know that honey tastes delicious in some of our favorite foods and beverages, but did you know that it has beauty benefits as well?
I asked Rona Berg, editor-in-chief of Organic Spa magazine, about this gooey ingredient. She said, "I don't have a sweet tooth, but I love honey. Honey helps skin retain moisture, is an anti-inflammatory, and soothes and calms irritated skin. Honey is also an antibacterial, which makes it an effective treatment for oily or blemished skin."
She recommends dabbing a bit of honey over a blemish and covering it with a Band-Aid so it will be gone by morning. Great tip!
Not surprisingly, it turns out that honey is used in numerous treatment products for the face, body and hair.
Dry Body Skin
Natural skin care brand Beecology uses honey from their very own bee farm in all of their beauty products.
“Honey is very rich in nutrients like minerals, amino acids and vitamins B and C, ” says founder, Amy Rzepka. “These key ingredients are known for benefiting the skin, helping it stay nourished and healthy.”
One of my all time favorite body products is the Beecology Original Hand & Body Cream ($13). This rich cream contains honey, cupuacu butter and shea butter, and keeps even my dry, fussy body skin baby soft.
If you have the time once a week or so, indulge in a luxurious Laura Mercier Honey Bath ($45). My favorite fragrance in this collection is the sumptuous-smelling Ambre Vanillé. This foaming bath product contains honey, sweet almond protein and coffee for an invigorating yet hydrating bath treatment.
Dry Facial Skin
If your face is feeling parched from too much sun, treat yourself to a squirt of the Intense Hydration Overnight Rejuvenator ($20) from Nuance by Salma Hayek. Use it once or twice a week for 10 minutes for an amazing nighttime beauty treatment. It's designed for extra-dry or aging skin, and contains honey and royal jelly (used to feed queen bees and bee larvae), which nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
For dry and dehydrated lips, try the sheer and shiny Honey Bronze Lip Glosses ($13) from The Body Shop. These glosses, enriched with fair-trade honey and beeswax, will moisturize dry lips, helping them feel soft again. They're available in two shades: Honey Bunch, a shimmering coral, and Honey Beige, a shimmering bronze.
If you don’t feel like investing in any new beauty products, you can make your own using honey. A good honey for DIY beauty treatments is manuka, which you can find at your local health-food store. According to cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat.com, manuka honey is indigenous to New Zealand, where bees pollinate the native manuka bush.
“What's unique about this type of honey compared to others is that it has higher levels of antioxidants,” Robinson adds. “These higher levels may help in providing anti-aging benefits when used topically.”
Manuka honey also tends to have a greater antibacterial effect because it contains a low level of hydrogen peroxide.
Here are some fun, easy and effective homemade beauty treatments using honey:
- Toner: Because of its antibacterial properties, honey, mixed in a blender with cucumber and/or apple, makes a very effective toner.
- Scrub: In addition to being astringent, honey is also emollient and makes a fabulous cleansing face scrub when mixed vigorously in a blender with almonds, lemon, yogurt and oats.
- Bath: Honey is soothing and nourishing, so it can be very beneficial to sore and even irritated skin in the bath. Swirl a couple tablespoons or so into your warm bath water and soak away!
- Mask: Massage some straight honey onto your skin for a nourishing mask. Leave on for at least 10 minutes to reap the benefits.
- Hair treatment: Mix some honey into a cup of warm water and comb through your hair for a natural shine treatment. Rinse off after your bath.
Remember, when making homemade beauty products, make them in small batches so they don’t spoil. They don’t have preservatives like over-the-counter products!