honey in cosmetics

why honey is a great cosmetic ingredient

We seem to be at a peak for “all-natural” and “organic” cosmetics, as it is definitely one of the biggest trends in the industry right now. One ingredient I’ve seen a rise in, even though Burt’s Bees has had a monopoly on it for years now, is the use of honey in cosmetics. Personally, I’m a huge fan of this ingredient, it is in fact, one of the few that is actually all natural and can be derived organically. However once it is used in formulation it’s characteristics may change a bit.

honey basics

The composition of honey is very basic and contains a lot of great beauty “supplements”

  • Simple Sugars (82%): fructose (38%), glucose (31%)
  • Water (17%)
  • Acid, enzymes, vitamins (B,C+E), minerals, phenolics, flavonoids (1%)

If you’ve ever wondered about honey is made, or like me and completely forgot the process that you learned in elementary school, here is a great link that explains the process!

honey benefits

Raw honey is used in food and as a health supplement for it’s sweetening, flavoring, browning, caramelization, prevention of oxidation and antioxidant properties. (So if you aren’t going to use honey in your beauty routine there are plenty of reason to use it in your food!) Regarding cosmetics, honey is used as a skin moisturizer, a humectant, an antibacterial, and a flavoring agent. There are many speculations out there about using honey in face masks, as a hair lightener, a hair conditioner, and even as an acne treatment. Honey is a very special ingredient because it can act as an antibacterial and possibly treat acne, and does possess antioxidant properties, however because it is a natural product each batch can vary. Honey is produced by bees, not factory workers, so the product quality can vary, contain different amount of certain ingredients, change with the season, etc. Overall honey can definitely be said to contain all these amazing qualities, it is just important to note that the results may not be the same all the time.

As I mentioned earlier, one major reason honey is used in cosmetics is for its humectant properties. Humectants are ingredients that allow water to stay bound to our skin and are the basis of why moisturizers are so hydrating. There are many ingredients that can be added to a cosmetic to obtain these benefits, including; algae extract, aloe vera, caprylyl glycol, and hyaluronic acid. Additionally, humectants are often used in hair care products to keep hair moisturized and voluminous.

honey products

The most popular brand for honey products is definitely Burt’s Bees, with their cult beeswax lip balms, body washes and face cleansers. A quick search on Sephora.com shows the many honey-based skin care products they sell. However, one of the most popular honey treatments is the use of Manuka honey for a face mask. Manuka honey, often sold in health food stores or online, is “special”honey that is produced from the native manuka bushes in New Zealand. Honey also produces hydrogen peroxide, which is what gives it antibacterial properties. The reason Manuka honey is so special (and expensive!) is that it contains an extra antibacterial ingredient called methylglyoxal or MG for short. So manuka honey containing high concentrations of MG are supposedly super antibacterial. The reason I am bringing this all up is because honey face masks are extremely popular to do. From my knowledge just slathering honey on your skin for a bit may make it feel soft afterward, however if you want a really effective face mask, using manuka honey is the way to go.

antibacterial ingredients of honey

the antibacterial ingredients in honey

What are your favorite honey based products? Mine is Hey Honey eye cream. I’d love to hear what yours are below!


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