As a women’s lifestyle editor, I’m pretty much always game to try any new beauty product and I have throughout my entire journalistic career. But there comes a time — especially when you have very sensitive skin like mine — where a girl has to stop, take a step back, and really reevaluate some of the products she’s choosing to put on her face. Everyone seems to be obsessed with skincare these days and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, overloading on products you might not need with retinol and acids your skin might not respond well to, isn’t always the best idea. Trust me, I know. I’ve had to learn the hard way. In the last few years, I’ve had two bad facials (which is not bad considering I’ve been getting them seasonally since my early 20s) and two bad reactions to skincare products with strong ingredients. This past NYE’s, I had guests over for dinner and was not about to ring in the new year feeling like shit so I did the only thing I knew would bring my skin relief — I brought honey back into my beauty routine.
A few days before NYE, I had tried not just one — but two new skincare products with glycolic acid in desperation to fade away the two dark spots I still have from an aggressive facial I had two months ago. I don’t know if I’m necessarily sensitive to glycolic acid per se or if I just overdid it using both a cleanser and toner with this strong ingredient. Probably the latter. But either way, I woke up the next morning with red bumps all over my face. My skin was basically reacting and purging from the ingredients in these products. Let me tell you, it was rough to say the least. If I hadn’t experienced this before I would have cried.
One of my good friends reminded me of the miracle results I experienced when I used honey last time I had a skin reaction and I immediately got on it. But this time I took a more intense approach than I have previously. Instead of just wearing honey on my face like a mask, I also ditched my traditional cleansers and washed my face with raw honey only. It’s actually a thing too and they call it honey cleansing.
This DIY method not only works to detox the skin from harsh chemicals but its anti-microbial qualities targets bacteria in the skin that can lead to breakouts and acne. It also works as a natural anti-inflammatory, bringing down any inflammation or redness my skin was experiencing. How do you honey cleanse you ask? It’s actually really simple. I apply the honey to my face like I would with any traditional cleanser. Massage into my skin in circular motions for a few seconds and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. The days I’m wearing makeup, I remove my makeup first with micellar water makeup remover (because honey can’t remove makeup) and then follow with the honey. Did I mention honey is loaded with healing and hydrating properties too? Within a few days, the red bumps were completely gone and my skin was actually a lot more moisturized and softer than usual — free of synthetic chemicals and all!
The type of honey you chose though does make a major difference. Numerous sources pointed out that regular all-natural honey could actually clog pores since they’re loaded with sugar and other chemicals. So I opted for organic raw honey instead. Organic Manuka honey seems to be a popular choice too. I spent only $3.99 for a tub I found at Target. So not only did this save my skin but it cost me WAY less than I’d normally spend on a facial cleanser.
My skin loved the honey so much that I even started using it as a hydrating and calming face mask treatment a few times a week. Because it’s chemical-free, my face can handle keeping it on for over an hour. The other day I left it on for three hours without realizing it and my skin looked glowy AF after rinsing it off.
I’m not the only one singing honey’s skincare praises. This girl washed her face for two weeks with only honey after a bad skin reaction and noticed a drastic difference. This woman on Reddit shared before and after pictures of how raw honey instantly healed her skin from facial seborrheic — also known as dermatitis — and the results were mind-blowing. Honey’s anti-bacterial properties are no joke. In fact, one study in the journal of Antibacterial Chemotherapy found that honey (in concentrations between 2.5 percent and 5 percent) is effective against harmful bacterias like staphylococci, that can often cause skin reactions like dermatitis or irritation.
It’s definitely inspired me to take a more natural approach to my skincare routine. I’m not going to say that I’m going to be swapping out all my skincare products for organic ingredients. I won’t and I haven’t. But I have simplified my routine to just a cleanser (right now honey), a chemical exfoliate just 1-2 a month, a witch hazel rose water mist toner for after cleansing, a moisturizer with SPF for during the day, and a water-based night cream with eye cream at night. This might seem like a lot but I was using SO many more skincare products before this. Will honey become my permanent cleanser? I’m not sure yet but it will always be a part of my skincare routine in some shape or form — that’s for sure.