This month´s journey into the intriguing world of raw ingredients ventures into honey, the life elixir brought to us by the vital little pollinators.
The history of honey in beauty care
Honey has been known for it´s skin healing properties for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt honey was used for skin care: it was used as an ingredient in a peeling paste with ground alabaster, quebu extract, grains and breast milk. In ancient Rome a honey cream from Rhodes was used to treat wrinkles around the eyes. During renaissance honey was a widely used ingredient in beauty waters and since the beauty ideal was blonde hair, honey was used as an ingredient to lighten hair.
In 1805 the German book Kalliopistria, Beauty care for the elegant world by D. Barthol are recipes and information on ingredients used in beauty care products which were used for treating wrinkles, pimples and freckles. One of the most commonly used ingredients was honey. In fact, honey has been used in Finnish skin care since the 1900.
And still today honey is known as a potent raw ingredient in cosmetics.
The use and effects of honey in skin care
Honey is widely used in skin care, in creams, masks, peels and products for intensive care. It is antibacterial, antiseptic and prevents fungal infections. Honey is a very effective raw ingredient in treating irritated acne skin. Honey contains an enzyme which produces hydrogen peroxide, it has a soothing effect on scars and a lightening and brightening effect on the skin. Honey is a humectant, it moisturises the skin and thus is a beneficial raw ingredient in products for dry and sensitive skin.
If you wish to reap the best benefits of honey in skin care, for instance in treating problem skin, honey is recommended to use unheated or even better: the medicinal New Zealand Manuka honey. Manuka honey is expensive but then again, it doesn´t have to be in daily use. It is a very effective raw ingredient in treating several skin problems like rosacea, acne, couperosa, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, excema and other skin irritation and is an ingredient in a quick beautifying cinderella mask. You can find a recipe for a skin brightening mask using Manuka honey in my book Genuine Beauty.
My favorite products containing Honey
Did you know that the same bees producing honey are in charge of 85% of plant pollinating in the whole world? A very large portion of our daily meal. We cannot even begin to understand what a vital part bees truly play in our lives, but they are in real danger to become extinct and the concern is timely. The best way to help keep bees busy is to prefer organic products and another lovely way to support saving the bees is by using Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely products, which are suitable for the whole family. My personal favorite is the Bee Lovely hand soap and the Bee Lovely Body Butter which I chose as last years best body moisturiser. The hand cream is a cult product for a reason: during the winter season this is the saviour of rough hands and dry cuticles. A portion of the profit on every sold Bee Lovely product is donated to the rescuing of bees. The sum and destination varies by country. You can learn more about the Bee Lovely campaign at the Neal’s Yard Remedies web site.
One of the loveliest facial products using honey is Neal’s Yard Remedies Honey & Orange face peel. This is a truly authentic product that you will just fall in love with, and it is perfect for using in the sauna. In the jar the product looks like cement, but when you mix the thick paste with water it becomes a nicely spreadable product. It contains so much honey that you can taste it on your lips. It has also cleansing white clay, propolis (also produced by bees), orange oil and sunflower oil.
The crowned Queen Bee of honey products is May Lindstrom´s The Honey Mud. The loveliness of this product is almost impossible to describe, it must be experienced. The silky honey balm looks and smells like butterscotch and the product can be used as a cleanser or a mask. It´s so delicious you´l be tempted to eat it up with a spoon, but it is better served as a skin dessert.
Do you use honey in home made beauty products? What is your favorite beauty product containing honey?
Illustration Essi Markku
Reference Una Nuotio: Kerro, kerro kuvastin
Translated by Mariko Pajalahti