- non-comedogenic (duh)
- very mild
- skin pH friendly
- no parabens
- no skin irritating chemicals
- decent cleansing
- no synthetic fragrance or colouring
- easily available
- inexpensive / moderately priced
- should not irritate my sensitive eyes
- skin should not feel stretchy
- 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.