Listen, Honey: The Bee Byproduct in Beauty

Honey-based products

Honey has earned a kind of mythological status in our pantries for so many reasons: it actually tastes as good as it is for you; it's the only food that never spoils (if Snapple caps have taught us anything…); it combats the havoc the holidays wreak on our liversmodels eat it; and insects make it, for crying out loud. Here's another reason: Top Shelf-ers like Liz Goldwyn, Jerry Hall, and Anya Ziourova told us they slather the bee byproduct on their faces and bodies to get glowy skin. (And we saw it, and believed it.)

It makes sense that honey’s throat-soothing, allergy-calming, antibacterial and antiviral properties would translate to a topical goldmine. In fact, raw honey is recommended for everything from an at-home wax alternative (use at your own risk) to a hair lightener, skin-tone evener, and acne treatment. And now makeup counters across the country, stacked with honey-infused products, have proven that the sticky substance is a highly coveted and wholly trusted anti-aging and moisturizing agent. Here, a glimpse at what the bees and the beauty chemists have been up to:

Face Masks: If Fresh’s Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask and Manuka Doctor’s ApiNourish Rejuvenating Face Mask are any indication, honey is especially adept at sealing in moisture. Both face masks provide a noticeably plumper, firmer, and rejuvenated skin-feel, but Fresh’s gooey French-honey-and-echinacea mix also soothes transitional-season skin stresses, while also smelling, feeling, and, yes, tasting like honey. On the other hand, Manuka Doctor’s waxier mask employs both purified bee venom—exalted as the holistic answer to Botox—to encourage collagen growth and cell regeneration as well as Manuka honey to hydrate your mug.

For Your Kitchen and Body: With dry/sore/scratchy throat season approaching, we'd recommend keeping a bottle of local honey at the ready, and Burt’s Bees Natural Throat Drops on your person at all times. The menthol will cool your pipes so you can breath a little deeper, and the antibacterial honey will help fight infection. They’re also appetizing enough to eat as a snack—no harm, no foul. And when you’re not stirring raw honey into your hot water with lemon, try smoothing a thin layer onto your face for twenty minutes to an hour for a tone-evening, pH-balancing, acne-fighting DIY facial. Or, mix equal parts protein-rich Greek yogurt and honey for an anti-aging, ultra-hydrating mask, à la Liz Goldwyn.

For Your Face: Honey’s anti-aging and hydrating properties really shine above the neck. With your radiator at full blast and winter’s dry winds rolling in, your skin is going to need all the TLC it can get. Start with Manuka Doctor’s relieving cream wash, ApiNourish Hydrating Facial Cleanser, to appease dry skin with rose hip and black currant oil, vitamin E, and Monoi butter. Sounds exotic, right? Then, protect your face from further damage with Rodial's Bee Venom Super Serum and Bee Venom Moisturizer. The anti-aging bee venom ward off sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles...and, while we haven't been using them long enough to confirm said benefits, we can say that the serum and moisturizer almost instantly plump, smooth, and hydrate your skin for a silky-smooth surface. Or, opt for the much less expensive but equally hydrating Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer (not for the peanut-averse!), for a surprisingly thin lotion with a waxy finish that insures moisture retention, and absorbs completely into the skin after an hour. Its light, citrus-and-honey fragrance also makes it one of the best-smelling creams we’ve come across.

For Your Lips: Nivea’s lip balm stalwart is moisturizing in a smoothing, non-greasy, one-swipe-a-day kind of way. A Kiss of Milk & Honey Soothing Lip Care is not for the moments when your lips are so dry they’re on fire, but it's a good everyday balm and imparts a faint sheen.

For the Bath: Nothing beats quality time in your tub. (Just ask Liv Tyler.) Unless you're after an Epsom-salt cleanse, allow us to direct you to Laura Mercier's Fresh Fig Honey Bubble Bath. The floral-and-fig scent lightens up after being served into running water with the included wooden honey dipper, and leaves an even more delicate veil of fragrance on your skin. After soaking, you'll smell like fresh laundry, and your skin will be almost soft enough to skip the body lotion. For a moisturizing exfoliant, The Body Shop's new Honeymania collection includes a Body Scrub, which will clear away dead skin cells, stimulate circulation, and impart a sophisticated floral scent.

For Your Body: Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion is an ideal mid-weight moisturizer to ease the transition from your summer favorites. The rich but not oily lotion dries to a slightly chalky finish a few minutes after application, and absorbs into the skin completely within a few hours, for a full day of slightly sweet suppleness. (Also: 'suppleness'? Sorry.)

For Fragrance: CB I Hate Perfume’s Wildflower Honey smells remarkably like the real thing. It's closer to a hunk of raw honeycomb in a field of wildflowers than a sickly sweet, synthetic interpretation of the condiment. You go, CB I Hate Perfume.

For Your Hands: It’s cold season, which means you should probably wash your hands whenever the opportunity presents itself. To avoid cracked, chapped, or, god forbid, bleeding digits, invest in both L’Occitane’s Crème Lavante Mains Miel Bonne Mère and Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Hand Wash. The first is the liquid form of the milky Provence-derived hard soap we've already big-upped, while the latter is a a refreshing citrus-heavy organic honey soap, thats moisturizes while it cleans your germ-carrying hands.

For Your Feet: Upon first unscrewing the mason jar of Farmhouse Fresh’s Honey Heel Glaze, you’re confronted by a Yankee Candle Fall Collection cornucopia of scents, replete with cinnamon and cloves. But one night's sleep with your feet slathered in the stuff—underneath a pair of throw-away socks, of course—will significantly decrease the appearance of chalky, dry skin and leave your heels and toes feeling so smooth you’ll want to do the same thing to your hands (we recommend it). Added bonus: your feet will smell like baked goods, which, we can all agree, is better than any alternative.

Photos by Mathea Millman.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Annie Lindsay

    LOVE honey. I use it to make an at-home aspirin facial and it works like a charm. Feels a bit weird to rub honey on your face though.....

    • Duff

      The aspirin and honey home facial is (heh heh) the bee's knees. Best zit zapper, instant brightener, practically free.

  • 39nineteen

    I know a few of these brands but need to try a number of ones you mention. They just look so yummy!

  • Sarita

    Adding to the list: For Your Hair. I used honey (and olive oil, warmed for about 30 seconds) as a conditioner for my hair when I removed the my individual braids a couple weeks back. My hair was so soft afterward!

    • Poires Poires

      Agreed. I scrolled through the article looking for hair recommendations and was so disappointed to see none! The best shampoo I ever bought was an etsy seller's honey hair was so shiny and soft. Sigh. The seller's since closed and I've been looking for an effective replacement ever since.

  • Nina

    I'd love to try honey as a facial mask, but how do you get it off? Simply with warm water and maybe a cloth?

    • ITGLacey

      Hi Nina! When I remove a honey face mask (raw honey & cinnamon is my personal favorite combo), I like to use either a creamy cleanser or an oil-based cleanser, since they make removing it easy & mess free, but warm water will also work!

      • Nina

        thanks a lot! will try this ASAP

      • kathS

        I am curious, what does the cinnamon do? Thanks.

        • Claire

          I think it stimulates blood circulation as well as cleanses the skin. Someone feel free to add to this if I'm incorrect, please!

  • nicolecontrol

    For honey products, the East Village's own Live Live cannot be beat! The Bee Yummy Skinfood is amazing, and the mask is something I totally rely on. Also, edible?

    • Jane T.

      Obsessd with the mask! Sometimes I layer it under moisturizer at night and it makes my skin feel lovely when I wash it off in the morning.

    • Chesley

      Bee Yummy Skinfood has changed the game for me.

    • Samantha Miller

      Agreed! I started having bad reactions to my other products and got the Bee Yummy skin food and its amazing!

  • Lilly

    I am a honey addict. Seriously, I may run out of coconut oil or olive oil (rare), but there is always honey in my pantry. A product that you did not list here that I recommend trying is Waxelene, which is made with beeswax and it's a lovely multi-purpose balm. It's great for this season when hands and lips can get dry and uncomfortable.

    • jackie cohen

      thanks for the tip ... I'm going to check out Waxalene.

      • Lilly

        I am glad you found it helpful!

    • bluesky557

      I looooove Waxelene. It's a great alternative to Aquaphor/Vaseline, if you're squeamish about petroleum-based products.

      • Lilly

        Exactly! Did you know that they are selling it in a small tube as well? Love it.

        • bluesky557

          I didn't know that! I just have the jar, which is fab, but not practical to carry in my purse. I'll have to check out the tube. Thanks for the tip!

          • Lilly

            You're welcome!

  • Amanda Raponi
  • VanessaV

    A favorite honey fragrance is L'Occitane eau de miel (honey gentle water). It's so subtle and perfect to spritz in your hair (alcohol free) throughout the day. It's discontinued but I bet it can still be found online.

  • blueeyes60610

    The best bee product I have used is Savannah Bee Company's Royal Jelly Body Balm. It cleared up all my various dry patches/eczema. While I don't love/love/love the fragrance (it smells a bit like berries), my skin has never been softer (I am 50).

    • katiedid

      Good news, we are working on a sensitive skin formula for Royal Jelly Body Butter at Sav Bee Co with a much softer scent. You will bee happy!

  • PeonyandPeach

    Great round up of honey products!

  • jess

    i use the burt's bees 'replenishing lip balm with pomegranate oil' every day and its the best!

  • Margaret

    Oh, come on! We're talking about honey, which is a raw form of perfect beauty product. And then you start listing masks and srubs that have no honey in them at all. Not to say anything bad about those products, but it's a simple fact, that those things have less than a percent of honey in them. At the same time raw honey really is the best facial and hair mask, body srub and sore throat magic. Seriously, this is a disgrace to honey.

  • prairie_dogs

    The body shop honeymania lip balm made my lips crack and dry like crazy-- I'm not sure what the allergen was for me, but sensitive lip people beware.

  • softy

    is it okay to use fat free greek yogurt with honey as a mask?

    • ITGLacey

      It completely depends on the lipid content you want, but any fat percentage is a-ok.

  • jackie

    FYI re: Waxelene
    They sell it at CVS

    • bluesky557

      What section do they sell it in? With the lip stuff, or with the baby stuff?

      • jackie

        I think it was with the Vaseline!

  • Kleidermaedchen

    Great selection! Love the Burt's Bees products!

    Fashionblog Kleidermaedchen


Fresh Creme Ancienne Honey Mask
Manuka Doctor
Manuka Doctor Apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask
Burt's Bees
Burt's Bees Natural Throat Drops Honey
Manuka Doctor
Manuka Doctor Apinourish Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Rodial Bee Venom Super Serum
Rodial Bee Venom Moisturizer
Mario Badescu
Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer
Nivea A Kiss Of Milk & Honey Soothing Lip Care
Laura Mercier
Laura Mercier Fresh Fig Honey Bath Honey Bath
The Body Shop
The Body Shop Honeymania Body Scrub
Burt's Bees
Burt's Bees Fragrance-Free Body Lotion
CB I Hate Perfume
CB I Hate Perfume Wildflower Honey
Honey Stinger
Honey Stinger Organic Honey from Wildflowers
Bonne Mere Creamy Hand Wash – Honey
Neal's Yard Remedies
Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Farmhouse Fresh
Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze