Heavenly honey: why the golden stuff is good news for your skin25/09/2014 07:32
A natural moisturiser packed with antioxidants, honey is a sweet treat that can make a big difference to your dermis
Honey is much more than a delicious topping for your toast. It’s a superfood that can help tackle health problems such as sore throats and colds, and it’s a great alternative to refined sugars. But you don’t have to eat it to benefit from its plethora of nutrients; thanks to its antibacterial, antioxidant and hygroscopic (water retaining) qualities, it’s fast becoming a beauty industry staple.
Organic French beauty specialist, Melvita, is the latest brand to recognise the benefits of honey with the launch of the Apicosma range, which employs a ‘3-Honey Complex’ based on thyme, orange blossom and acacia honey. According to Dr Elizabeth Devilard, a molecular biologist who helped develop the range, honey can make a big difference to dry, delicate skin. ‘The results show that the 3-Honey Complex instantly replenishes lost nutrients,’ she says. ‘It actually thickens the dermal and epidermal layers.’ And she’s not the only one to sing honey’s praises. Camilla Goddard, the brains behind urban beekeepers, Capital Bee, says it can also help tackle problems such as hay fever. ‘Honey definitely helps with hay fever,’ she says. ‘It’s a traditional remedy but I’ve found that raw [unpasteurised] honey with pollen really helps.’
Honey’s hygroscopic properties make it especially useful as a moisturiser, and not just as part of a cream. Honey baths can do wonders for dry skin, while a sticky mixture of honey and olive oil can give hair a softening boost. Because honey is a powerful antiseptic, it also works brilliantly in homemade scrubs. Mix it with ground almonds and oatmeal for a gentle, low cost exfoliator. But even if you don’t have time to whip up your own products, you can still get stuck in. We put five fabulous honey products to the test.
Dr Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream, £8.69
While all honey has healing benefits, Manuka honey has all the useful enzymes found in regular honey, plus a couple of extras. Number one among them is glucose oxidase, an acidic anti-bacterial responsible for Manuka’s enhanced powers of healing. All of this is why Dr Organic’s Manuka Honey Rescue Cream really lives up to its name. Great for dry and older skin, the high Manuka content means that it’s also brilliant at banishing skin conditions such as eczema. Better still, it smells wonderful and contains only the sort of ingredients you want on your skin – and none that you don’t.
Find out more: www.drorganic.co.uk
Organic Surge Lemon and Honey Happy Soap, £2.54
Made by a Fairtrade co-operative in the foothills of Mount Kenya, all the profits from Organic Surge’s Lemon and Honey Happy Soap go straight back to the community that made it. Formulated using a mixture of essential oils, honey and calendula petals, its uplifting fragrance and skin-smoothing results will leave you in an excellent mood. Better still, it’s ultra-affordable and gentle enough for everyone.
Find out more: www.bathandunwind.co.uk
Balance Me Shiny Clean Shampoo, £10.25
Honey’s moisturising properties come into their own with Balance Me’s shampoo and conditioner. Along with honey, the shampoo is packed with soothing (and gorgeous smelling) jasmine, cleansing grapefruit and scalp-boosting black pepper. What’s more, unlike with conventional shampoos, there’s no surfactants or chemical cleaning agents, and it’s also 100 per cent sulphate and paraben free. Best of all, it left our tester’s locks glossy, clean and smelling wonderful.
Find out more: www.balanceme.co.uk
Melvita Apicosma Ultra Nourishing Body Balm, £20
The winning combination of royal jelly, cocoa butter and the unique ‘3-Honey’ complex has made Melvita’s Nourishing Body Balm one of the best body creams around. Part of the new Apicosma range, our testers reported instant results with skin left soft, smooth and sweet-smelling, with even cracked heels and dry elbows showing improvement. While it doesn’t contain honey from Melvita’s London bees, it does make use of honey produced close to the company’s Ardèche base, all of which is organic and ethically harvested.
Find out more: www.melvita.com
Neal’s Yard Honey and Orange Facial Scrub, 14.80
Along with Melvita, Neal’s Yard Remedies is a company that has form when it comes to bee-saving campaigns and honey-based products. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, they’ve turned honey-based beauty into a fine art and the Honey and Orange Facial Scrub is no exception. Not your average scratchy scrub, Neal’s Yard’s effort uses gentle rice powder to tackle impurities, while honey and orange flower essential oil soothe and soften. Our tester reported brighter, smoother skin after one use.
Find out more: www.nealsyardremedies.com