This week’s offering is not QUITE as cheap per use as last week’s oatmeal mask. (But unless you’re spreading, like, literal dirt on your face I don’t think it could get much cheaper than powdered oatmeal.) Still, this facial is inexpensive, perfect for all skin types, and BASICALLY magic. (If we’re going the Marvel Universe route and pretending that magic = science.)
What is this magical facial of which I speak?
I know, I know: spreading honey on your face is not exactly a groundbreaking tip. Heck, it was reviewed on XOVain at LEAST once (because that’s what induced me to try it). Unfortunately, their website is a hot mess right now and I’m SUPER evangelical about honey, so here’s another review. You’re welcome.
In case you weren’t aware, honey is the BOMB. It’s moisturizing (a fantastic humectant!). It’s also anti-inflammatory, so it can help with redness and irritation if you’re sensitive to most face masks or have just done something silly to your face. (I totally did not try a new BHA while on Accutane. I don’t know what you’re talking about.) It’s got awesome antioxidants and enzymes in it, too. (Do you know why it has enzymes in it? Because honey is basically bee vomit. Delicious, delicious bee vomit.)
But the coolest thing about honey (imo) is that it’s naturally antibacterial — and thus it’s AWESOME for acne-prone skin. Don’t worry about contributing to antibiotic resistance or anything — honey kills microbes by dehydrating them. There’s so little water in honey that all the little sugar molecules hog what’s available and then pull out water via osmosis from microbes. It’s … cruel, when you stop and think about it, but effective. (That also means that it’s not antibacterial if you dilute it too much. FYI.) Its osmotic properties also mean it’s good at draining fluid from wounds, while its acidity — about pH 4 — and inclusion of natural hydrogen peroxide* contribute to its antibacterial excellence. (Honey has been used for wound care for thousands of years, and for good reason!) If you’re one of those people who worries about the zombie apocalypse, congratulations! You know a fact that might keep you alive! (If wounded –> cleanse + apply honey.) (Also, spiderwebs can stop bleeding!) (Make sure there are no spiders on ’em, though.)
TL;DR: Honey moisturizes and calms your skin, while killing P acnes bacteria and accelerating healing.
Do you need a specific type of honey to reap the benefits? Eh, probably not, though some super-filtered or pasteurized honeys may not contain as much of the good stuff found in raw honey. It’s not a huge deal, but I bought raw unfiltered honey because :
(1) I’ve heard a rumor that grocery store honey is sometimes blended with corn syrup or otherwise watered down (I can’t find any reliable sources about that online, just a rumor — but I have found that raw honey tastes WAY more honey-y than the stuff in the bear-shaped squeeze bottle)
(2) Even the ~fancy~ honey is significantly cheaper per ounce than the lowest-cost face mask at Sephora. (Can you get 16oz of ANY mask at Sephora for $8?)
(3) Solid raw honey is less likely to slip off my face, plus has teeny tiny granules that act as a gentle exfoliant when I rinse off
I would STRONGLY recommend going with a crystallized variety, since it sticks to the face and doesn’t budge. (The face pics look like it should be runny, but it’s really not — in the half-hour-ish I left this on my face, there were a handful of drips that only made it about an inch down my face. Kind of looked like a melting candle.) Runny honey WILL drip, and it’s a big ol’ mess. I prepared AND ate lunch in this mask; good luck doing that with liquid honey. ;)
Anyway, my jar is the crystallized kind, so I have to exert a decent amount of pressure to scoop out a chunk of the thick, sticky paste. Turns out it’s pretty hard to spread thick honey paste all over your face; I prefer to dampen my face with water or serum, then apply the honey. (Your face shouldn’t be REALLY wet, though, or the honey might slip around while you’re wearing it. Also, remember how honey is antibacterial because of its low water content? Dilute it too much and it stops being antibacterial.) If you have a favorite face mist, you could always spray that first and then apply the honey!
I let it sit on my face as long as I’m in the tub (which can be anywhere from ten minutes to two hours. It gets cold where I live, okay?). Then I just take my washcloth or a handful of water and rinse it off — no need to use a cleanser, as it rinses cleanly. (Fun fact: you can even use honey as a daily facewash, though I don’t find that it removes makeup well.) Your face should feel softer and more hydrated. It may even glow a little.
Thanks, bee vomit!
* Manuka honey doesn’t have hydrogen peroxide (though it has some weird properties that other honeys don’t). Still, you don’t need to splurge for a tiny pot of manuka (no matter what the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture says) — regular raw honey is great!
[Ed. : However, you do need to splurge for a tiny pot of manuka honey, because it’s frakking amazing on buttered whole wheat toast with sliced strawberries.]