Once you start using honey on your skin, you’ll never go back. Yes, it’s gooey and burns like heck if you get it in your eyes, but it also does fabulous things for your skin. If you have sensitive, normal, combination, dry, or oily skin (which is pretty much every type of skin!), a raw honey face wash just might be your perfect facial cleanser.
Can you wash your face with honey? Yes!
This sticky golden goodness has been used to promote healing and fight infection for thousands of years. And modern science is beginning to confirm what we have always known—that honey is nature’s powerhouse. It’s loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals, and it has a host of antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is interesting to note that honey is acidic, which keeps bacteria from growing, and it releases hydrogen peroxide that kills bacteria on the skin—so those little guys don’t stand a chance [source].
- Raw honey
- Distilled water, rose water, or coconut water
- Liquid Castile soap
- Essential oil of your choice
- Avocado oil
- 8-ounce glass jar or bottle — One of my favorite natural living books recommended recycling honey bear containers to create a simple face wash—genius!
Combine all ingredients and pour the mixture into a recycled honey bear container (or an 8-ounce pump bottle). Don’t shake the bottle, or you’ll start to foam the soap.
Raw, unpasteurized honey has been shown to [source]:
- Encourage wound healing
- Draw moisture to the skin—they call that a humectant
- Help zap zits—thanks to its antibacterial properties
- Tame redness and inflammation
- Reduce the damaging effects of free radicals—due to its plethora of antioxidants
When ready to use, shake to mix the ingredients well. Then pour a small amount of the honey mixture into the palm of your hand, and massage it into your face and neck. Avoid the eyes—trust me.
Add a pinch of baking soda a couple of times a week to gently exfoliate. Rinse with warm water, and follow with your regular skincare regimen.
Hint: Raw honey is a great spot treatment for breakouts. Dab on a bit of honey before going to bed, and wash your face to remove it in the morning.
- Distilled water — You can also use rose water, lavender hydrosol, or another type of floral water. Coconut water or cooled green tea can also be used but will need to be refrigerated and used within 7 to 10 days.
- Avocado oil — Feel free to use a different carrier oil, like jojoba, grapeseed, or sweet almond oil.
- Raw honey — Always use raw, unfiltered honey. If it’s not, then it has been pasteurized. And because of the heat involved in that process, some of its antibacterial and probiotic properties will have been lost. We don’t want that! We want to make sure to get all of the natural enzymes and bacteria-fighting benefits of honey when using it on our skin.
Variation: 1-Ingredient Honey Face Wash
If you would like to try an even simpler honey cleanser, you’ll need just one ingredient. You guessed it—raw honey!
Fair warning, this method is a little stickier and can take a bit longer to remove, but you’ll still enjoy all of the benefits of a real honey cleanser.
1. Apply a thin layer of thick honey all over a damp face, just like you would a regular honey face mask. Leave it on for 5–10 minutes.
2. With four fingers together, press them onto the skin and then pull them off by lifting from the index to the little finger. Continue to do these quick movements as an all-over-the-face massage while keeping the mask in place. Use a stronger lifting technique around the T-zone, and be gentler over the rest of the face where the skin is more fragile.
3. If it gets too sticky and starts to hurt while lifting, wet a finger to add a little bit of water. Work your way around your whole face.
4. When the skin feels alive and stimulated, the mask can be removed by placing a damp, hot washcloth over the face to create a little steam that will remove the honey and also any dead skin cells.
5. The skin should feel squeaky clean, but if you want to go one step further, now is the perfect time for a deep pore cleanse. Massage a bit of cleansing balm onto the skin, and remove it with another damp, hot washcloth.
6. Repeat this treatment weekly if your skin is dry or flaky and once every 2 weeks for normal skin types.
If you use distilled water or hydrosol, the honey face wash should last 1 to 2 months. Coconut water (or any other type of tea or water) will only last about 1 to 2 weeks before starting to grow mold.
Be watchful when preparing the mixture so that you don’t accidentally inoculate it with bacteria from your hands, the bottle, or utensils because that can cause it to spoil.
This honey face wash combines the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and natural humectant power of honey with the gentle cleansing action of Castile soap. It’s a great follow-up to an oil cleansing balm as part of a 2-step cleansing regimen to reach even deeper into your pores and make sure all of the oil is removed—without chemicals.
Nope! Any kind will do. If you have sensitive skin, I would look for something on the gentler side, such as Dr. Bronner’s lavender or baby unscented liquid Castile soap, because something like peppermint may be too strong for some people. Otherwise, use whatever’s easiest to get your hands on.
Go right ahead! Just make sure it’s raw and unpasteurized.
Yes, honey is gentle enough to use every day. But, like with most beauty products, keep a close eye on things to make sure you don’t start to see any redness or irritation. If you do, first stop for a week, and then cut back to using it 1–2 times a week.
While honey has been shown to help with wound healing [source], there’s no scientific evidence that it fades or removes scars. But you’re free to give it a try and see what happens.
Also, take a look at this article on home remedies for acne scars. There are lots of things you can try, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
No, applying honey to skin should not clog your pores. In fact, honey is known to reduce bacteria on the skin, which may help clear pores and decrease breakouts [source].
Raw Honey Face Wash Recipe
- 8-ounce glass jar or bottle
- In a container add water, soap, honey, then avocado oil, and gently stir to combine.
- If you’d like to treat a particular skin issue like abnormal pigmentation or oil control, then add 3–6 drops of the best essential oil for treating that issue. Stir again.
- Moussa A, et al. Antibacterial activity of various honey types of Algeria against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012.
- Mandal MD, et al. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011.
- Jull AB, et al. Honey as a topical treatment for wounds. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015.
- Julianti E, et al. Antibacterial activity of ethanolic extract of cinnamon bark, honey, and their combination effects against acne-causing bacteria. Sci Pharm. 2017.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.818