Let’s start this week off with my #1 all around favorite – honey. It’s a delicious food, of course, but if you haven’t used honey in your beauty routine, you will be amazed at its benefits as well as its versatility.
Just be aware that everything that bears the name “honey” on a label isn’t exactly equal. The best quality honey comes from local (to you) honeybees, and how it’s processed is very important, too. Raw, unfiltered honey is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and antioxidants. Heating destroys a majority of these beneficial components, but heating also makes honey easier to pour and bottle. This is the main reason that big manufacturers prefer to heat and filter their honey. Therefore, the best place to buy raw, unfiltered honey is at your local farmers markets, independent grocers who stock raw honey, and from local beekeepers.
Since antiquity, honey has been held in high esteem, even regarded as sacred. It was used in religious ceremonies and also used to embalm the deceased. Before refined sugar became available, honey was so expensive that only the very wealthy could enjoy it. Honey was used as both food and medicine, and was also used as a beauty aid. (Cleopatra may or may not have put milk and honey in her bath – but I’d bet that she did.)
Honey functions as a humectant, helping to retain moisture, which makes it naturally good for the skin. Honey’s reputation as a wound healer has spanned centuries, into modern days. Both of these qualities make honey an excellent choice for these beauty treatments:
Bath Soak - Mix about ¼ cup of raw honey with an equal amount of hot water and stir until dissolved; add to bathwater and soak for at least 20 minutes. Honey is the ultimate skin moisturizer!
Gentle Face Cleanser – Dampen your face with a little water, then massage a spoonful of honey on, using light circular motions. Rinse with warm water, and gently pat dry. The honey cleans without stripping natural oils from your delicate facial tissues, and helps to prevent moisture loss.
Healing Lip Balm – Rub a drop or two of honey onto dry, chapped, or cracked lips; reapply as often as you like. (Do not use on infants under one year of age.)
Pimple Healer – Dab on a bit of honey to pimples before going to bed; rinse off in the morning. The anti-inflammatory properties of honey will sooth and reduce redness; antibacterial properties work to quickly heal blemishes.
Moisturizing Face Mask – Apply a thin layer of honey over clean, damp skin, avoiding the eye area; leave on for 15-20 minutes; rinse with warm water and pat dry. Gentle enough to use daily, it’s an excellent mask for sensitive skin.
I like to buy honey in containers that have a flip top lid - that makes it so convenient to use for skincare applications. Some people might be surprised to find a bottle of honey in my medicine cabinet over my vanity sink, but now you know my secret. ;-)
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about another one of my favorites – olive oil.