You’ve seen jars of this unreasonably-priced honey scattered across the aisles of Whole Foods, and now it’s being plopped into your cleansers and moisturizers. This is no mere honey for amateurs—this is manuka honey, the boujee condiment imported from New Zealand that every Gwyneth-abiding Upper West Sider is slathering on their multigrain toast, and their faces.
Yes, manuka honey sounds much more sophisticated than your average, budget-friendly golden bear option, but is it really as great for you (and your complexion) as our favorite influencers claim it to be? Yes, it absolutely is.
According to Barbara Close, herbalist, esthetician and Founder of Naturopathica, manuka honey is praised for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and moisture-retaining properties, making it perfect for maintaining a dewy glow. “It has a long history of use by the Maori people of New Zealand for its wound-healing abilities and is able to reinforce the skin’s lipids, providing hydrating properties while also clarifying to prevent breakouts,” Close says.
This is honey is no mere match to it’s cheaper counterparts: according to Close, the power from this holistic ingredient comes from the power of Manuka bushes—also known as another skincare favorite, tea tree. “The nectar from the flower of these bushes creates an extraordinary enzyme called methylglyoxal (MG) during the honey-making process, which gives Manuka Honey more antimicrobial properties than any other variety of honey,” she says. “While most honey helps to bind water to the skin, Manuka honey’s MG content gives it increased healing, soothing and antibacterial properties, making it ideal for use in skincare.”
If you want to give manuka honey a try, you’re in luck: Close has the perfect DIY mask recipe to whip up a hefty skin-clarifying concoction in the comfort of your own home. Below, Close’s Purifying Green Tea Mask recipe from her book, The Naturopathica Effect.
- 1 tablespoon freshly brewed loose-leaf green tea (strained)
- 2 teaspoons aloe vera gel
- 1 teaspoon manuka honey
- 2 tablespoons kaolin clay
- 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
- 2 drops rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oil
- 2 drops lavender (Lavandula vera) essential oil
Step 1: Combine the green tea, aloe vera gel, and manuka honey in a bowl and stir well. Slowly sprinkle in kaolin and bentonite clays while stirring.
Step 2: Add the essential oils and stir to combine well.
Step 3: Apply to your clean face immediately and leave on for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse off with warm water.
Et voilà! A manuka honey-infused mask that will leave our skin with a radiant glow. But, we get it—a jar of manuka honey can cost just as much as a jar of product that’s already infused with the golden elixir. So, check out some of our favorite manuka honey skincare products, below:
Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing Balm
Recognized as a “Best of Beauty” buy from Glamour, Self, and O, The Oprah Magazine, this cult-favorite cleansing balm truly does it all. It melts away any sign of stubborn makeup, dirt, and impurities from your skin while adding a boost of hydration. The result: a radiant finish that would put a KiraKira filter to shame.
Girl Undiscovered Stumbled Across Paradise Face Mask
This exfoliating mask contains all of the mighty benefits from manuka honey, plus an exfoliating boost to give your skin an even, velvety-smooth feel. If you’re in a time pinch, simply use it as a quick scrub for a fast-acting pore refiner.
Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask
The star of this sleeping mask may be avocado, but it’s also infused with our favorite expensive honey, without the ultra-hefty price tag. Just slather it on, and catch some zzz’s while you give your thirsty skin a quenching treatment.
Eighth Day Regenerating Serum
For a powerful dose of anti-aging properties, grab this serum, stat. This 5-star serum may have a hefty price tag, but you really get a bang for your buck: it contains all of the benefits of manuka honey with a plethora of other skincare goodies to nourish and heal damaged skin.
DEARPACKER Plum Seed Sleeping Lip Mask
Lips feeling a little chapped? Then smooth out the kinks and flakes with this soothing overnight mask, which contains manuka honey and plum seed extract to banish dryness, chapping, and cracking before you can hit snooze in the morning.
Savor Beauty Detox Manuka Honey Mask
This mask contains a whole trifecta of ingredients to bring your complexion back to life. Clarifying manuka honey, exfoliating rice bran, and anti-inflammatory papaya extract work hand-in-hand to give you the softest, smoothest skin of your life.
SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hand & Body Scrub
If your skin is feeling a bit flaky, then grab this gentle body scrub to slough those unwanted flakes away. Just lightly scrub, and feel the power of skin savors like manuka honey and shea butter transform your skin’s rough texture into a rich, velvety finish.