Honey, the universal breakfast accompaniment that we’ve drizzled over yoghurt, spread onto toast and added to iced tea, also happens to be the numero uno food cupboard staple sparking domestic rows in Organic Foods & Café – mainly over the Dhs295 price tag. These types of convos are usually followed by the statement: “But it’s Manuka!” Oh, well. Gwyneth Paltrow understands. She calls it her “liquid gold”, while Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, reportedly has a spoonful every morning topped with bee pollen. A whole host of beautiful people rave about the health benefits of the amber nectar. It’s also being included in some of the most natural and scientific beauty ranges on the planet.
Researchers from major medical schools, including scientists at United Arab Emirates University, have performed clinical studies proving that honey is a powerful antiseptic (apparently thanks to the bee’s saliva). And even more exciting is that it’s equally as effective when put to good use topically in skincare. It’s something that has been harnessed historically in wound-healing recipes that date back to 2000bce; and called upon in both traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda, for fighting infections, nausea and silencing a dry cough. However, it’s not just the anti-bacterial qualities brands have fallen for, but also the anti-inflammatory, hydrating and skin-smoothing and soothing aspects too.
Dutch-Persian blogger and owner of Gisou (a honey-centric hair care range), Negin Mirsalehi, is in no doubt about the power of bees, belonging as she does to a six-generation beekeeping family. She’s been using homemade honey recipes on her hair that have been passed down by her mother, and if her locks are anything to go by, we ought to be stockpiling the stuff. She has a head of bouncy, down-to-there waves that are the envy of her 5.4 million Instagram followers and everyone else she encounters.
She launched the brand in 2015 with her iconic Honey Infused Hair Oil and has just launched the fifth and sixth products in the range, the Honey Infused Hair Wash, and Honey Infused Conditioner, which cleanses and conditions without stripping the hair of natural oils. The key ingredient is honey derived from the Mirsalehi Bee Garden, which contains minerals, vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants. Honey is also known as nature’s humectant due to its moisture-retaining properties, making it the perfect ingredient to help hair maintain its natural moisture balance, creating a halo of luminous shine.
Honey is also the hero ingredient for Leonor Greyl Gentle Volumizing Shampoo, Apivita Holistic Hair Care Mini Gentle Daily Shampoo German Chamomile & Honey, and Julien Farel Hydrate Conditioner.
The sweet solution could also help treat acne and skin conditions, as some studies have found it to be equal in effectiveness to over-the-counter hydrocortisone. The Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine-published ‘Honey: its medicinal properties and antibacterial activity’ discusses how it can be beneficial in reducing blemishes as it contains hydrogen peroxide that dries up excess oil, along with enzymes that destroy bacteria. Plus it’s incredibly soothing. Dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla suggests, “It can make acne look less angry because it has an osmotic effect on the skin and helps reduce inflammation and redness.”
It’s the main ingredient in Shiseido WASO Quick Cleansing Gel, an alcohol- and oil-free, honey-gel cleanser that lathers without water, but rinses off leaving skin feeling fresh, clean and supple; and in Tata Harper Clarifying Mask, which both clears the dermis debris while soothing as it goes. Each is great for skin that tends to suffer break-outs easily.
For mature skin, try UMA Oils’ Absolute Anti-Aging Rose Honey Cleanser, as it employs the elixir, along with rose, to gently lift surface dirt and excess oil while calming inflammation, completely cocooning the face with its unctuous deliciousness. Finish off with the beautifully bottled, crystal-, honey- and aloe-infused Girl Undiscovered Under the Waterfall Water to help to keep skin’s pH balance in check – it’s the most hydrating toner we’ve found.
More skin nourishers and balancers can be found in masks and moisturisers. Brand new is Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream, where 91 per cent of testers agreed that skin looked moisturised, replenished and nourished after using the concoction for eight weeks. Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask and Bee Yü Firming + Regenerating Masque are brilliantly hydrating. (The latter also donates Dhs25 of each sale to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, so your karma, along with your face, gets a boost.) Meanwhile, the rather homespun-looking Earth Tu Face Organic Honey & Coconut Mask is infused with lavender that quietens redness – even if you suffer from skin complaints such as rosacea.
Guerlain Abeille Royale Black Bee Honey Balm, is a highly concentrated balm that promises to rebalance the skin after cosmetic procedures or when you’ve been sandblasted at the beach. Another favourite is an all-in-one handbag essential, Farmacy Honey Saviour – dab it onto dry spots or abrasions and watch as your skin drinks up the salve.
Stay tuned: these bees-knees products are only the start of what’s to come. And at least with this beauty harvest, it’s much less sticky than spreading straight from the jar to face… besides, we need to leave something for our toast.
Photos: Supplied, Instagram and Shutterstock