The DIY Honey Mask/Scrub That Makes My Skin Glow

There really is nothing like fresh honeycomb. I just took in our beehive for the winter; we had a pretty serious cold snap, so I decided it was time to harvest the honey.

I was anxious to get my greedy little mitts on it the goods. I use honey for everything from coffee and baking to smearing it on my face.

A few years ago I started using it to calm my skin after an unfortunate cooking accident, and it left my skin so hydrated and glow-y that I kept it up.

The other day I didn’t have time for a mask and a scrub, so I did a twofer: I mixed up a mild scrub, and then wore it as a mask for extra oomph. I should get a presidential medal for time-saving. Those exist, correct?

I want to be candid with you about chemical exfoliants. A lot of people frown on using acids in skin care--and for good reason. If you have very sensitive skin, any chemical exfoliants--whether it lemon juice, juice, AHA or BHAs--could irritate your skin.

The major difference is essentially dosage. When you’re doing a DIY, it’s easy to assume that these awesome, plant-based substances aren’t also potent, because, “LOLZ PLANTS, they’re natural, so more is more!” Except that is insane: honey, tea tree oil, lemon juice and many other "natural" ingredients are very concentrated and should be used with care.

Be very suspicious of DIY facial treatment recipes--many are written to fluff up content, without even being tested. More than a few drops of extract, or a tablespoon of anything raw and acidic in a mask, and you should probably pass, even if your skin is resilient as a cockroach. I mean a pegasus.

Honey has a ph of ranging from 3.5 to 6, so mixing it with a small amount of lemon juice creates a fairly acidic mask--if you’re concerned about irritation, try a small patch on the inside of your jawline or forearm.


1 tablespoon of raw honey. Manuka or another high-pollen honey is best. Bee pollen is very high in antioxidants and vitamins, many of which are easily absorbed via your dermis. You can also just add bee pollen to filtered honey.

3-5 drops of fresh lemon juice. You’ll want fresh, as it doesn’t have any added ascorbic acid.

1 tablespoon ultra-fine baking sugar, or brown sugar. The crystals in fine or brown sugar (+1UP for molasses content) aren’t nearly as sharp as those of regular table sugar or turbinado.


Mix all of the ingredients and apply them lovingly to your face. Gently massage the mixture for about a minute and then leave it on for at least five. Rinse, moisturize, and you’ll be glowing like the entire cast of The Mosquito Coast.

I’m pretty honey obsessed. My current favorites are Manuka and macadamia honeys, which are cheap as chips in their respective locales, New Zealand and Hawaii, but insanely expensive to buy anywhere else.

What’s your favorite honey?