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My Experience Using Honey as Face Wash

Lately, I’ve been looking to switch to a gentle face wash for my morning cleansing. It has to pass every test on my little requirements list: ;)honey as face wash

  1. non-comedogenic (duh)
  2. very mild
  3. skin pH friendly
  4. no parabens
  5. no skin irritating chemicals
  6. decent cleansing
  7. no synthetic fragrance or colouring
  8. easily available
  9. inexpensive / moderately priced
  10. non-drying
  11. should not irritate my sensitive eyes
  12. skin should not feel stretchy
  13. no essential oils to irritate the skin

Sounds like a tall order. Doesn’t it?

It so happened that I ran out of my regular face wash. Having heard YouTube beauty gurus rave and rave about using honey as face cleanser, I decided to give it a shot. I was expecting it to be a sticky mess, but once it got on my face, it was remarkably easy to spread and rinse.

I was intrigued.

I decided to give honey a real shot at becoming my morning cleanser since it met all the above criteria. Or so I thought. Read on.

My honey experiment

To see if honey is all that it is kicked up to be, I went into my mad scientist mode. I decided I was going to stop everything and only use honey to wash my face, twice a day. No moisturizer, no acne treatment, no sunscreen nothing.

I used Dabur Honey for the experiment. It claims to be pure honey, guaranteed.

I wanted to check if honey cleans at all. It cleans fine. I was expecting my face to feel stretchy and sticky afterwards, but none of that happened. I experienced no eye irritation, no stickiness or tightness on the skin.

What to expect

The pH of honey is slightly acidic, which is good for your skin. Immediately after washing the face, you may experience a very mild stinging.

You won’t see a glow immediately after washing the face. Or even feel very moisturized, but within 15-20 minutes, the face starts to feel moisturized as the residual honey starts to attract moisture from the environment to your face. You may get a faintly sticky feeling at this time. You start to see a glow around this time.

Honey is best used in the shower or bath instead of at the sink. That’s because you need to wash it off thoroughly. It won’t stick to the face, since honey is water-soluble. Washing it with water will dissolve honey and take it off easily.

The strong sweet smell faints pretty quickly afterwards.

Try not to let it get into the hair. Even then, it is not a big problem as honey washes off easily. Take care to wash it off completely from your eyebrows and eyelashes and for men, sideburns and beard.

First try using honey from your kitchen. If everything goes well, you could order organic honey. If you are really tempted, try getting your hands on manuka honey.

You can mix a bit of honey in your face wash bottle. Honey is self-preserving, so you do not need any preservatives to keep it from rotting.

Honey is antiseptic, so if you have mild acne, you may benefit from its antiseptic properties.

You need to be careful about allergic reactions to honey. Itching, redness, rashes are all signs of an allergic reaction. Wash it off immediately with soap and water if this happens.

Honey or not?

Alas, it was too good to be true, for me at least. Third day into the experiment, I noticed a couple cystic breakouts on the chin, my problem area. I stopped using honey. The skin healed. I repeated the experiment after 15 days. Again, the same thing, new breakouts.

My skin is Acne Prone Skin Type 3 which means more than 90% of the products I try cause breakouts. If your skin is APST 2 or APST 1, you may have success with honey, but there’s no guarantee.

If honey works for you without causing breakouts, well and good. But if you start seeing new pimples with honey, don’t feel bad. Just because it works for some of the YouTube gurus, it doesn’t have to work for you. Don’t beat yourself up about it. I’ve seen YouTube gurus rave about honey, and then a month down the line, they’ve moved on to the latest commercial cleanser in the market.

The Internet is swamped with rave reviews of people using honey as a miracle cure for acne, but it isn’t necessarily true.

Even if it doesn’t break you out, honey alone may not be enough to clear up your pimples. That’s not the real problem though. The real problem is this – if honey is indeed breaking you out, using any extra products to curb those breakouts will be a losing battle since you will keep getting new pimples all the time.

In my case, it is possible that honey wasn’t enough to clean the skin. Or that there was something in the brand of honey I used that was pore-clogging. If honey works, it works, if it doesn’t, just move on. Don’t set your heart on it.

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23 Responses to My Experience Using Honey as Face Wash

  1. Profile photo of ashu6074
    ashu6074 November 19, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    So nice ! I liked this post and big snap of honey bottle :)

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM November 19, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      Thanks Ashu, I really wish it had worked for me. :( Oh well.

  2. Profile photo of ashu6074
    ashu6074 November 19, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Yeah i know how it feels but at least tomorrow you dont need to say “yaar maine yeh try nahi kiya” :)

  3. Profile photo of shafaligarg
    shafaligarg November 19, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Same happened with me as well..i started getting breakouts aftet using honey on my chin & forehead..however my sister still uses it but luckily she is nt having acne prone skin..

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM November 19, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Shafali, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who didn’t see the miracle of honey. It is possible that even though honey is water soluble and most of it gets washed off, any little residue clogs pores due to its stickiness.

  4. Profile photo of Anuja
    Anuja November 19, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Hey Honey!

    Here’s how i have used hone in the past:

    I used to apply honey and powdered cinnamon mixed together on my face like a pack and then scrubbed it a bit before washing it off. Both the ingredients are supposed to be good for acne – but it didn’t do any good for me. Plus – it’s messy!

    I applied honey mixed with lemon juice on the dark spots/scars on the face – that also wasn’t effective.

    I applied honey with crushed asprin on active pimples – again no effect. People claim to have stopped acne with crushed asprin (which is rich in salicylic acid) – but it did not work for me.

    I think, natural remedies don’t work if your skin is stubborn. A friend of mine has beautiful clear glowing skin and she uses besan and haldi for cleansing – DAILY – she doesn’t use any face wash – and she is after my life to try it out too – but i am too scared – as i am absolutely sure that it will hurt my skin even further.

    Natural cures – even if they work – are only for mild cases. Not for us acne veterans! We use industrial strength mild cleansers – high concentration of acids that are gentle on the skin – and chemically loaded treatments that nuke the acne. A drop of honey mixed with haldi doesn’t stand a chance.

    An interesting fact – When they digged up Indus valley ruins, they found a pot intact and guess what was inside and still edible? – You are right honey!

    • Profile photo of keepcalmandcureacne
      keepcalmandcureacne November 21, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      @anuja – It`s always a pleasure to read your opinions. And yes – I agree with every word she said , right from the commas to the fullstops. ^_^

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM November 21, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Hiya Anuja, you’re right. The concentration of the “active ingredients” in natural products like honey may not be enough to tame the beast that is APST 3. I’m happy for all those for whom it works, but it’s not for me.

  5. Profile photo of Sri
    Sri November 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Informative post AM. Some how honey doesnt go well with my skin too. It doesnt break me out but it does nothing good too when used in concoction with other home remedies. I feel my skin looks dull whenever i use honey.

  6. Profile photo of gswey059
    gswey059 November 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Hello AM ,

    Very long back i had used Honey ,any body lotion and lemon after the regular face wash . This ensured your extra dirt , and tann is reduced and your skin glows may be the same can be done , we could use honey after regular clenasing to keep tat glow on the face…

  7. Profile photo of rohini
    rohini November 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    I use honey sometimes when I have run out of other things. I wouldn’t recommend it as a daily thing, but once in a while if you feel filthy during the day and don’t have any makeup on? It’s fine.

    I’ve never used it everyday, mostly because I really am unsure of keeping honey in a bathroom, and it is a product that requires so much care in application!

    I’m somewhere between APST 2 and 3, depending on the stars ;), so I think I’ll keep honey for once fortnightly mask (with cinnamon! so lovely!) and not as a wash. (It tingles and leaves your face a bit flushed, but also, I think, plumps out the skin for a bit. It really is lovely. Some people use it as an acne treatment, but I am now in a monogamous relationship with Triacneal so I wouldn’t know if it works for me that way.)

    But I’ve seen honey for people for whom it works. When it does, it’s like a little miracle. They glow! And it’s not just an issue of looking paler, the skin gets a really healthy lit look. Sighs sighs.

    As an aside, @acnemantra, can you do a post sometime (no hurry!) on good anti-aging products? I was looking at the Ponds Gold Radiance serum, and it has two mildly comedogenic ingredients. I’m hoping to find a safer one that is as effective, if possible. Prevention is better than a cure!

    • Profile photo of AM
      AM November 21, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      Hi Rohini, I’m planning to design a whole Anti-aging Anti-acne Regimen. It has almost become a necessity for people like me, ahem, who are not getting any younger.

      By the way, you may not need to two-time Triacneal since it is a potent anti-aging treatment in itself. It is more than just a way to prevent aging. It is corrective too, so you are set for a good many years to come.

      If I remember correctly, Dr. Oz recommended this as a holy grail anti-aging treatment in one of his shows. Don’t make me find a reference to it though.

    • Profile photo of rohini
      rohini November 22, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      @acnemantra – it’s anti-aging too? My gods. More and more I am pleased with this divine manna.

      I guess if you make a post I’d still note everything down for future reference. I’m not entirely certain when it is safe to stop using Triacneal – I still get a whitehead from time to time. Small tiny ones that go away if I don’t pick them. (I almost always do, because I am a two-year old child.) But one day, maybe?

      Blanket thank you. :)

  8. Profile photo of nimi
    nimi November 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    @anuja…yess plzz dnt try the besan haldi thing…i did that and yess u guessed it correct:(

    • Profile photo of akshaykshardul
      akshaykshardul November 21, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      besan and haldi did helped me a little bit. wait…did it? *confused :neutral:
      But one thing for sure, it didn’t broke me out… :)

  9. Profile photo of shafaligarg
    shafaligarg November 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Yes Anuja dnt go for besan..when i had started following starter regimen, my skin had become super oily in the starting & to have control on oilines i used besan for 2-3 days & as a result i got big sized pimples on my cheeks & chin..

  10. Profile photo of rohit
    rohit November 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Honey on bread is great combination for morning breakfast :-)

    • Profile photo of akshaykshardul
      akshaykshardul November 21, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      LOL!!! :D while applying on bread, spread it on face as well for some benefit! yes, only if you are APST 1/ APST 2!!!

    • Profile photo of keepcalmandcureacne
      keepcalmandcureacne November 21, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      @rohit – hahahhahahaaaa – this guy`s awesome ^^^^ XD

  11. Profile photo of akshaykshardul
    akshaykshardul November 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    need to try honey now! :D

  12. Profile photo of keepcalmandcureacne
    keepcalmandcureacne November 21, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    hehehe I tried it yesterday , with fresh cream , it smelled nice ,tasted nice , but yeah , application was yucky. XD XD Oh and I have to omit fresh cream it`s probably comedogenic. :P

  13. Profile photo of suresh
    suresh November 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Hi AM,
    Nice review. Honey not worked for me as well. :smile:
    Hi Akshay,
    Instead of spreading it on face, spread it on cut fruits along with pepper and salt sprinkled, for good taste. Good for health too. :wink:

  14. Profile photo of Prashanth kumar
    Prashanth kumar December 24, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    Honey didn’t cause acne to me nor cleared it up. But moisturised my face nicely.