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Photo: Instagram/@padmalakshmi

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has some seriously enviable glowy skin, and good news: Her go-to product won’t break the bank. In fact, it’s probably sitting in your pantry right now.

The endometriosis awareness spokesperson credits honey as being her best skin-care secret—and she told Byrdie that she initially turned to it because the sweet elixir was the only thing she could afford. “The biggest thing for skin, and it doesn’t cost a lot of money, is honey. When I used to travel and I didn’t have a lot of money, I would always find honey on the breakfast tray at a hotel or something,” Lakshmi says.

“When I used to travel and I didn’t have a lot of money, I would always find honey on the breakfast tray at a hotel or something.” —Padma Lakshmi

Copying Lakshmi’s honey-based skin-care regimen only requires a few steps: “You just wash and cleanse your skin, take off all the makeup, pat your skin dry, and then slather honey all over your face, avoiding the delicate eye area,” she says. Then, tap your fingers on your face “almost like you’re playing piano on your skin.” What results, according to Lakshmi, is the honey pulling out the impurities in your pores, all while keeping your pH balance happy. Who knew skin-care could be so sweet?

Aside from honey, Lakshmi also keeps a tiny vial of tea tree oil on hand to combat acne flare-ups, since she says TV makeup for Top Chef can clog her skin, causing breakouts.

“I always just ask for a big bowl of boiling water—you can just make it with a kettle—and I put five or six drops of tea tree oil in that boiling water. Then I take a big towel, put it over my head, and I steam my face,” she says of the versatile (yet potent!) natural elixir. “It can sting—even the steam can sting your lips sometimes. But it’s really good because it gets that antiseptic in there gently.”

Lakshmi says using honey on the regular and steaming her face with tea tree oil once or twice a week does wonders for her complexion, so maybe it’ll work for yours too. Just make sure to use the super-strong tea tree oil appropriately for your specific skin type and layer on honey that is “true source certified.”

Check out Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook, which features recipes by boss-babe women, including Lakshmi. Or, find out why she meditates in the kitchen.

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