Here’s a little beauty factoid: raw honey or Manuka honey, which hails from New Zealand where it’s considered downright medicinal, is the most commonly tapped kitchen staple for beauty purposes next to coconut oil.
That’s because honey is antibacterial, clears breakouts, keeps skin hydrated, calms irritations, and helps prevent aging with natural enzymes, say beauty experts and honey enthusiasts. (The smell doesn’t hurt either.)
We tapped two facialists, a makeup artist, and a beekeeper (yes, really) to get the scoop on how to get gorgeous skin using “liquid gold.”
So, if you’re used to adding a spoonful of honey to your tea or Greek yogurt, just remember to save some for your (soon-to-be-favorite) skin-care treatment. —Molly Gallagher
(Photo: Britta Plug by Betsy Blundell)
And she’s all for putting the sticky stuff on your face. “Honey has natural antibacterial properties. When it’s on your skin it’s going to hold in moisture and absorb moisture from the air—giving you a dewy glow,” says Marchese.
While she does sell her own line of skin-care products, she also has a simple DIY scrub mask for glowing skin. And she’s really into the experience, too. “Warm honey feels like a cashmere blanket on your face,” she says.
Rub together in the palm of your hand, to warm it up, and massage into your skin. Leave on for 2 to 3 minutes.
Britta Plug, a Brooklyn-based facialist, has been using honey for more than eight years. “It’s seriously one of nature’s miracles for skin,” she says. Especially acne.
“Honey accelerates the breakout healing time and leaves your skin feeling smooth,” Plug says. “And thyme has been proven to kill the bacteria that causes acne, and is said to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide,” so she adds it to her DIY mask.
Scared to slather the sticky stuff on your breakout-prone face? Don’t worry, “A thin layer is plenty and it’s clearing, not clogging,” Plug says. (Our test-drive proved her correct: we had a few spots earlier in the week, used raw manuka honey three nights in a row and they’re nearly gone.)
Massage into skin with your fingertip, and leave on for 10 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and a towel. Use it weekly to heal breakouts and prevent future ones.
(Photo: Britta Plug)
Katherine Feldhouse, a natural makeup artist based in Los Angeles, washes her face with honey every night—not a foaming cleanser. “I’m addicted and I’ve converted so many women,” she says. “You don’t want to use clover bear honey. Find a good grade honey. Plus, it’s higher in antioxidants when it’s raw.” While Feldhouse usually just slathers on the honey solo, she says this combo with ground flaxseed “is great a great deep cleanser and exfoliator.”
Apply to dry skin in an upward circular motion and let sit for a moment before gently rinsing off.
(Photo: Katherine Feldhouse)
Uber-facialist Jillian Wright recently created a plant-based skin-care line to cater to her client’s skin without chemicals, so it’s no surprise she’s not afraid to slather a little bee nectar on a client’s face.
“These are ingredients we ingest on a daily basis, so why not use them on our skin,” asks Wright, leaving no doubt to the answer.
How does it help in the anti-aging category? “Honey is moisturizing, attracts and retains moisture without making the skin oily, and helps inhibit MMP, an enzyme that causes degradation to the skin cells,” Wright says. And when combined with the other ingredients it’s even more potent.
“The green tea has antioxidants, wild yam powder helps rejuvenate aging skin, because it hydrates and replenishes, and rose firms and tones skin,” Wright says.
For one application, mix:
1 tbsp manuka honey
1 to 2 drops or 1/4 tsp rose hip powder
1 to 2 drops of green tea extract
1 to 2 drops of cucumber extract
1/4 tsp of lavender powder
1/4 tsp wild yam root powder
Apply it and leave on for 10 to 20 minutes. Rinse off with water, or in the shower, and pat dry with a cloth.
(Photo: Jillian Wright)