All your life, you’re used to dropping in a spoon or two of sugar into your daily cuppa. But did you know that this is a relatively recent habit? Before the mid-19th century, everyone was sweetening their beverages with honey!
Yes, honey has been around for quite a long time, way before cane sugar began to be used by humans.
If cave paintings are anything to go by, honey has been used by humans as far as 8000 years ago.
While honey may have started out as food, early humans soon realized that honey was useful for so much more.
In fact, honey became a major component in traditional medicine like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, and even by the ancient Egyptians.
Studies conducted by modern scientists have only proved the old timers right!
Honey is made by bees, who collect nectar from flowers and mix it with their own enzymes to create honey and store it in honeycombs.
By the end of this process, honey becomes a liquid of about 300 ingredients, including yeast, pollen, wax, Vitamins, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and antioxidants.
These ingredients give honey antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
With so much goodness in it, it’s only natural that honey would make an excellent choice for your everyday skin and hair care!
Here is a look at why honey is your BFF when it comes to natural skin and hair care.
Why Honey Is Perfect For Your Skin
It is a natural moisturiser
Honey is considered a natural humectant and emollient.
This means that honey has the power to soothe and soften skin by nourishing it.
Being a humectant means that it preserves moisture; so once you moisturise your skin, you can lock in that moisture all day long, even after washing it off. The result is soft and dewy looking skin.
To get these benefits, just apply raw honey on your face and leave it for 20 minutes before washing off completely.
The moisturising effects of honey make it an excellent ingredient for DIY cleansers and exfoliators since you don’t have to worry about drying out your skin.
It fights acne
Honey’s antibacterial properties make it an excellent substitute for commercial pimple creams, which can be very drying to skin.
Honey tackles all the problems of acne – it prevents acne, treats acne and also does away with acne scars. It offers relief for skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Applying honey all over the face removes any excess oil that can lead to acne.
Honey also works as spot treatment – just mix a little with tea tree oil and apply with a cotton swab on the affected area.
Cleansing your face with honey gives you the benefits of its natural antioxidant and antiseptic properties, which helps lighten scars.
Go with buckwheat honey that contains propolis for best anti-acne results.
It unclogs pores
The main cause of acne are open pores which get clogged with dead skin cells, oil or dirt.
Honey takes care of this by nipping the problem in the bud – it opens up pores making them easy to unclog.
This clarifying property of honey comes along with moisturising the skin at the same time.
Cleaning out the pores also helps get rid of blackheads while the antiseptic and antibacterial properties keep acne at bay.
To get these benefits, mix a spoon of honey in your regular face mask and leave it on for 30 minutes.
It is a natural exfoliator
Most commercial exfoliators contain particles that aren’t just harsh for skin, but bad for the environment as well.
Honey is an ideal natural exfoliator that offers several benefits in one go – moisturising, exfoliating and scar lightening – so you end up with a clear, glowing complexion.
If you use raw honey, it crystallizes over time, giving you granules that are perfect for gentle exfoliation.
Just rub some crystallized honey between your fingers to warm it up and apply all over the skin, massaging it in with circular motions.
Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing it off.
It fights signs of aging
With all the antioxidants from the enzymes, honey is your one stop shop to fight signs of ageing. Skin damage is the biggest reason skin starts to look dull as we age, and honey’s antiseptic and moisturizing properties help repair this damage.
The plant-based flavonoids in honey fight free radicals, which are a primary cause for premature ageing.
Honey is also known to reduce the appearance of fine lines, and promote the production of collagen. With probiotics and polyphenols, honey works to create a plumper, firmer appearance.
Why Honey Is Perfect For Your Hair
It is a natural conditioner
Honey’s humectant and emollient properties aren’t just for skin, they work just as well for hair too!
Using honey as a natural conditioner, locks the moisture in, giving hair that smooth, nourished look.
It smoothens the cuticles of rough hair strands, giving it a sleeker look.
Mix a ¼ cup of honey with enough water to make a rinse. Apply it all over shampooed hair, leave for a few minutes and wash off thoroughly for soft, manageable hair.
You can also opt for a deep conditioning mask of equal parts of honey and coconut oil mixed with a mashed banana and left in for 30 minutes.
It treats dandruff and scalp conditions
A healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair, and honey ensures this in many ways.
Its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties keep the scalp a clean place with unclogged pores.
Honey is a great cleanser and gets rid of product buildup and dirt effectively. Honey also gets rid of excess oil, which is one of the main reasons for dandruff.
The anti-inflammatory properties of honey soothe the scalp and get rid of any itchiness. Its moisturizing powers prevent dry scalp and fungal infections.
Try a hair mask with a tablespoon of honey, ½ a cup of yogurt and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to fight dandruff.
It strengthens hair
Frequent breakage is a sign that hair is not at its optimum health, and is perhaps lacking in protein.
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, which is why you’ve probably heard of keratin treatments.
Honey helps to provide this treatment naturally, along with vitamins and minerals.
By adding moisture and smoothing the cuticles of hair strands, honey makes hair hold its own without breaking.
You can strengthen hair with a simple protein mask of 2 tablespoons honey and 2 eggs, applied and left on for 30 minutes.
It promotes hair growth
One of the reasons honey was an integral part of ancient medicine systems is because of its ability to encourage cell growth.
This makes honey an excellent choice to promote hair regrowth as well. Honey can nourish the hair follicles from within, and unclog them, making the most of the hair regrowth cycle.
Honey’s other properties of cleansing and moisturizing the scalp also result in healthy follicles, and waking up dormant ones. It also creates more volume and bounce in hair.
A mask of honey, castor oil and aloe vera can go a long way in boosting hair growth.
In order to get all these benefits of honey, it is important to use raw, unpasteurized honey.
Raw honey contains all the natural enzymes bees have put in it, like propolis and pollen.
These are the ingredients with give honey its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties which makes it so good for skin and hair care.
If you’re allergic to pollen, you are likely to be allergic to honey, so always do a patch test on a small area of skin and wait for 24 hours to see if there’s any allergic reaction.
It’s not recommended to leave honey on overnight as it can attract dust and dirt.
Wash out honey completely whether using for skin or hair and reveal your natural beauty underneath!
(Pratibha Pal spent her childhood in idyllic places only fauji kids would have heard of. She grew up reading a variety of books that let her imagination wander and still hopes to come across the Magic Faraway Tree.You can view her blog at www.pratsmusings.com or reach to her on Twitter at @myepica.)