I am not particularly low key when it comes to my skincare routine. Makeup, sure. I’m pretty much a bare-minimum girl most days – BB cream, mascara, brow pencil – but the idea of going back to basics with my skincare kind of freaks me out. If it ain’t packed with potent vitamins, peptides and stem cells, I ain’t buying (literally and figuratively).
So you can imagine my horror when I was asked to give up my luxe cleanser for the week and wash my face with honey twice daily. Yes, honey. Sticky honey all over my face and probably in my hair. Would I break out? Would my skin become an oil slick? Would my complexion turn dull and lifeless?
Pondering all of life’s hard hitting questions, I decided to stop being a sook and give the sweet stuff a go. But why?
Well, for starters, honey’s natural, non-stripping and chemical-free, and is known for its antibacterial, probiotic and healing properties. It’s nourishing and hydrating, and the theory goes it’s a suitable cleanser for all skins, and even beneficial for acne and dry skin conditions like eczema.
Of course, not all honeys are created equal, and Manuka is considered the bee’s knees (#sorrynotsorry) when it comes to cosmetic and medicinal use. Failing that, it’s recommended you use raw, unfiltered honey (and don’t get blindsided by ‘all-natural’ and organic claims, as these honeys may be highly processed and, therefore, low in nutrients).The first pharmacy I visited was out of Manuka, the second had one jar approximately the size of a thimble and the price of a golden egg. I opted for the only other jar in sight (raw and organic but I have no idea if it’s unfiltered), figuring if it’s sold in a pharmacy for $20 and not in Coles for a fiver, it must be ok to smother on my mug.
Later that night, I cautiously began the experiment, first donning a daggy singlet top and making sure my bob was out of harm’s way. After dampening my face (I’d read it can get a bit hard to massage honey onto dry skin), I scooped my fingers into the honey jar and encountered my first issue. The honey had crystallised, so it looked like I’d be getting a twice-daily, unwanted manual exfoliation. (I am purely a chemical exfoliation kinda gal as my skin is super delicate and prone to redness and broken capillaries). Bummer.
I pressed on and rubbed the honey onto my face. To be honest, it wasn’t all that unpleasant. It just felt like I was scrubbing my face with an old-school exfoliator (entirely my fault as I stupidly didn’t think of running the jar under hot water to soften). Aside from a few gloopy bits falling down between my boobs (saving some for later?), it was a surprisingly easy process. It washed off really easily and smelt like heaven. And I challenge you not to take a sneaky sip or two of honey water.
What I didn’t love, though, was the filmy sensation I was left with. Sure, my skin felt soft and nourished, but it didn’t quite feel clean enough for me. This non-squeaky sensation continued after every wash, and I was paranoid my skin was getting congested, despite the unplanned exfoliation.
(You should also note it’s not a great makeup remover, so you’ll need to do an oil-cleanse first. So if you’re not already down with double-cleansing, it might not be for you.)
After five days, I was getting a bit over this guinea pig business. Firstly, I couldn’t just leave my jar of ‘cleanser’ in the shower, or my housemate would have thought I was mad. Secondly, I couldn’t properly wash my neck and décolletage as it would have been way too messy. Thirdly, maybe it was psychosomatic, but I felt like my skin was getting a little oilier during the day than normal.
*In the spirit of full disclosure, now’s the time to mention I only lasted five days. I definitely would have gone the full week, but I had a long-scheduled facial booked in. Afterwards, with my skin looking so ridiculously clean, plump and dewy, I didn’t want to risk getting a post-pampering zit!
Honey cleansing definitely isn’t an awful process – in fact it was much easier than I expected – and I have read lots of glowing (geddit?) reviews from converts. Overall, my skin looked fine and felt soft and hydrated. I just didn’t see enough of a difference to make me consider changing up my regime for good.