I Replaced My Face Wash With Honey—And Here’s What Happened

by Well & Good

Honey is one of nature’s true MVPs. It’s a great natural sweetener, it’s incredibly healing on a sore throat, and it makes for a powerful—and cheap!—facial cleanser.

So good, according to the reports—my friends gush about DIY honey masks, and wellness gurus say its holistic remedy for pretty much everything—that I put aside my face wash for a week to use honey as a cleanser instead.

What convinced me and what happened? Read on.

Honey has all kinds of facial cleansing powers

Sweet news, it’s not some crazy new beauty craze: “Honey is the oldest skin-care ingredient and has been used extensively for both medical and skin-care purposes,” confirms Neil Sadick, MD, the very skin-serious founder of Sadick Dermatology in New York.

If you’ve got skin issues, honey’s a great go-to because it tackles many of the major ones: “It has antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and it nurtures the skin. Honey’s particularly suitable for sensitive skin,” Dr. Sadick says.

You might not think of the thick, sweet stuff as a salve for breakouts, but honey’s antibacterial powers are so strong that it can help acne. “Honey has a very low pH, so a lot of bacterias cannot survive in honey,” says Carla Marina Marchese, the founder and beekeeper behind Red Bee Honey. “It’s about a 3.5 on average on the pH scale, and a lot of bacteria needs to thrive in closer to a 7 on the scale.”

It has magical calming and moisturizing powers as well. “Honey is moisture-grabbing because it’s a super-saturated solution, meaning the bees mix a lot of sugars into a little bit of water,” says Marchese. “So it’s always trying to grab water from the air to balance out the sugar. This is why people use it for baked goods—it keeps them moist for longer.” On your face the humectant is gentle enough to use on tender chapped noses from allergies to super red dry, flaky patches.

But before you run to the grocery store to pick up a jar, you shouldn’t just grab any old teddy bear squeeze bottle, I learned. “You need to use the best quality honey that you can get,” says Marchese, who recommends one that’s raw or from your local farmer’s market. Manuka’s another type of honey you hear about as down-right medicinal. And though there’s a lot of buzz (and studies) behind it, it frankly costs more. So I set out to see what a $14 bottle of raw honey could do for my face.

To hear what happened to my skin on honey, check out the full article here.