A household commodity who’s very name is used as a universal form of endearment, honey has long been a prized commodity for health and beauty. Cleopatra bathed in it, and Madame du Barry (the infamous last mistress of Louis XV) used it regularly as a face mask. Honey has been a prized nectar across timelines and cultures, and this bespoke amber liquid comes in many tastes and forms.
What is Honey?
Yes, ofcourse you know what honey is. It’s this sticky golden nectar we get from bees. But how is it made, and what is it made of?
“Honey gets its start as flower nectar, which is collected by bees, naturally broken down into simple sugars and stored in honeycombs. The unique design of the honeycomb, coupled with constant fanning by the bees’ wings, causes evaporation to take place, creating the thick, sweet liquid we know as honey.” – National Honey Board website.
- Honey is 80% sugars and 20% water.
- One tablespoon of honey provides 60 calories.
- Honey contains 11 grams of carbohydrates, 1 mg of calcium, 0.2 mg of iron, 0.l mg of vitamin B and 1 mg of vitamin C.
- Honey is the only naturally sourced food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life.
- Honey never spoils. Infact, when the shrines of the Pharaohs were discovered in Egypt, archaeologists were astounded to find how beautifully preserved the Mummies were. They were all basked in honey.
“It takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey.” – Dr. Mercola website.
The Beehive Community
The bee community can be split into 3; The Queen Bee, Drones and the Honey Bees.
The Honey Bees are the real busy bodies (and also the smallest in size). They take on a multitude of tasks, the most important of which is to protect the Queen Bee and produce honey.
Drones are the male bees. They don’t do any work at all, apart from mating. They don’t even have a stinger.
The Queen Bee is absolute royalty. There is only one Queen Bee per hive, and she spends her days being pampered by the Honey Bees, and she lays upto 1,500 eggs on daily basis for the 3 to 4 years of her total existence.
“Your Lord revealed to the bees: “Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures that men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the path of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow.” From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect.” – The Holy Quran, Surah An-Nahl 16:69.
Interestingly, scientists have only recently discovered that honey is made by the female bees, yet the verse above from the Holy Quran refers to the bees in female tense, that too so many centuries ago!
9 Health-Enhancing Benefits of Honey
- A Complete Food Source: Honey contains 11 grams of carbohydrates, 1 mg of calcium, 0.2 mg of iron, 0.l mg of vitamin B and 1 mg of vitamin C, and is the only naturally sourced food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life.
- Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Honey has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties.
- Boosts Energy: Honey is especially great for athletes as it maintains glycogen levels and improves recovery time. It is no wonder that ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance.
- Boosts Cognitive Health: The strong dose of antioxidants in honey helps prevent cellular damage within the brain. Eaten daily, honey can slow down age-related memory loss.
- A Great Cure for Sore Throats: Honey has been used as a natural cure for sore throats for centuries, and even today, it is recommended over counter-bought syrups for little ones. Apart from its anti-inflammatory properties, honey coats the throat providing immediate, soothing relief.
- Works Wonders on Cuts and Wounds: External application of honey to raw wounds has been shown to be very effective, and has even been used on burn victims. This may be credited to the drying effect of honey’s simple sugars and its antibacterial properties.
- Balances the 5 elements: Honey has been used in ayurvedic medicine in India for at least 4000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body’s primitive material imbalances positively. It is also said to be useful useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea. Honey is referred as “Yogavahi” since it has a quality of penetrating the deepest tissues of the body. When honey is used with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues.
- Probiotic: Some varieties of honey possess large amounts of friendly bacteria. This includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria. This may explain many of the “mysterious therapeutic properties of honey.”
- Aids Sleep: Honey can be a health aid for sleepless nights. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin — a neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and the quality of sleep.
Given the endless list of health benefits that honey provides, it is not surprising to see the rise of Apitheraphy, a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products including honey, pollen, bee bread, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom.
What Makes Honey so Prized in the World of Beauty?
- Rich in Antioxidants: This makes honey very nourishing on the skin, and is especially great as a natural means of slowing down the aging process.
- Has Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Bacterial Properties: This makes honey especially great for troubled skin and for banishing acne.
- Raw Organic Beauty: Honey is easily available, absolutely natural and a great way of incorporating natural beauty into your daily regime.
- Moisturizing: Honey is thick and loaded with skin-loving nutrients. It is therefore very moisturizing, and keeps the skin well hydrated, supple and glowing.
- Clarifying: Honey does not clog the pores. Instead, thanks to its anti-bacterial properties, it has a clarifying effect and can deep-cleanse and unclog unsightly blackheads.
3 Famous Beauties Who Used Honey for Beauty
Cleopatra: To maintain beauty as legendary as hers, Cleopatra used to bathe in a luxurious mix of honey and buffalo’s milk. It is also said that she used a mixture of heavy cream with honey as a regular face mask.
Madame Du Barry: The infamous last mistress of King Louis XV caused quite a stir with her dewy, youthful complexion in the palatial courts, and she owes it to her nightly regime of using pure honey as a face mask.
Queen Anne of England: To maintain her thick, luscious locks, Queen Anne regularly used a concoction of honey and oil on her hair.
…and ofcourse there’s Winnie the Pooh!
3 Ways of Incorporating Honey into your Beauty Regime
- As a Face Mask. Honey is deeply nourishing on the skin. Brush on a layer of honey on to the face and decolletage, and rinse off in 15 to 20 minutes for soft, supple skin. You can also add honey to your DIY face masks for added nourishment.
- As a Cleanser. Skip your regular face-wash, and replace it with a pot of honey. You’ll need less than a teaspoon, and it works great as a mild exfoliant without drying out the skin.
- As a Hair Mask. Mix together equal parts of honey with extra virgin coconut oil (click here to read up on why you need coconut oil in your life!), and massage into the scalp and tresses. Wash off in an hour. This mask works wonders on dry, lifeless hair.
Given honey is such a versatile beauty ingredient, it has been used in a countless number of commercial beauty products. However, you really need to check the labels to see just how much honey they are hyping on. And if you are keen on organic skincare like me, you will absolutely love Izil!
The IZIL Honey Range
I am a huge fan of the Izil skincare range. Conceptualized and created by the very talented Mouna Abbassy, the sole purpose of the brand is to reintroduce the naturally-sourced beauty secrets of the Barbar women of Morocco. All their products are made of 100% natural, high-quality ingredients and are paraban free, fragrance free, and contain not artificial preservatives or synthetic colours.
Izil has a very enticing range of honey-based skincare products, and these have been further enhanced with 100% organic Argan Oil. The most prized natural beauty product to come out of Morocco is Argan Oil. You can read up on the health and beauty benefits of this miraculous oil by clicking here.
Izil Golden Glow Face Mask
This face mask smells so divinely delicious that I have to remind myself not to eat it every time I open a jar! It is loaded with skin-loving honey, Argan Oil and a generous amount of saffron.
For a detailed review on the Izil Golden Glow Face Mask, click here.
Verbena Honey Body Mask
Open up this jar, and chances are you’ll spend the first few minutes just sniffing its contents 🙂 I am absolutely obsessed with its citrus aroma! This scent comes with the addition of Lemon Verbena Essential Oil, renowned for its rejuvenating properties.
Key ingredients in this body mask include honey, Argan Oil, sugarcane (proven to help rejuvenate the skin and diminish blemishes) and Shea Butter for intensive skin hydration (click here for more details on the benefits of Shea Butter).
Although a little messy to put on (best to do it in the tub!), this gorgeous body mask is like a DIY spa treat thanks to its addictive scent, and from the first use itself, it has left my skin feeling noticeably supple, smooth and baby soft!
Royal Honey Softening Body Scrub
Enriched with the highly prized Argan Oil for skin hydration, honey for its endless list of antioxidants and antibacterial properties, and premium grounded sugarcane for skin rejuvenation and exfoliation, this body scrub is a delightfully luxe, royal treat.
The exfoliating granules are sand-like in consistency, and are not overly aggressive. Scrubbing this product all over feels like a much-needed massage of sorts. The directions recommend using the scrub in circular motion to enhance blood flow, and doing so leaves the body tingling with a newfound freshness.
Although its meant to be a weekly treat, I tend to cheat and have even used it up to 3 times a week!
Where to Buy Izil Products
The Izil skincare range can be bought from the Izil stores in Festival City (Dubai) and Dalma Mall (Abu Dhabi). Izil also does free delivery across the UAE! Whatsapp them on +971 558 243 993 for order placements.
Look up more of their amazing Argan Oil based beauty products on their website, I bet you’ll be as hooked as I am!