Fad or Fixture - Honey: Nectar of the Gods or Sweet Propaganda

This is the first installation of the Fad or Fixture series which will explore whether trending skin and hair care ingredients or products are industry mainstays of temporary fads.

From the cosmetics aisle of your local drug store to SEPHORA and high-end department stores you will find products with honey symbols or bees ascribed to them professing honey as the key ingredient for whatever transformative effect that product claims to achieve.

Sumerians, Egyptians, and the ancient Greeks believed in its medicinal properties and even worshipped the honey bee.

It is not just the established cosmetic brands that have joined the honey bandwagon. Traditional honey purveyors like Chyuan Fa Honey of Taiwan and Bohol Bee Farm of the Philippines have developed entire product lines for hair and skin based on the honey that their companies have produced for many years.

WHY HONEY? Yes it is a tasty treat but what can it do for your hair and skin? Well, honey is a natural antibacterial (fights bacteria) and humectant (locks in moisture). It is an ancient nutritional and medicinal remedy; with the first recorded history of its use dating back to 2100-2000 BC Sumeria.[1] Sumerians, Egyptians, and the ancient Greeks believed in its medicinal properties and even worshiped the honey bee. It is a powerful figure in Egyptian hieroglyphics of royalty. It has religious significance in Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam.[2]

Manuka honey gives you all the antibacterial benefits of hydrogen peroxide without the drawbacks associated with the cosmetic application of hydrogen peroxide products.

Throughout history it has been used on wounds and to cure bacterial infection. It’s antimicrobial properties are thought to be due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide but even the non-peroxide honey’s (i.e. Manuka honey) show a high level of antimicrobial activity. [3] The mechanism by which honey prevents and heals bacterial infections is not well understood. Nevertheless, Manuka honey gives you all the antibacterial benefits without the drawbacks associated with the cosmetic application of hydrogen peroxide products. It also happens to be the main ingredient in the Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil line of naturally derived haircare products.

Honey is one of the few food products with an indefinite shelf life! Archeologist excavating ancient Egyptian tombs found perfectly preserved pots of honey that were thousands of years old.

Honey is one of the few food products with an indefinite shelf life! Archeologist excavating ancient Egyptian tombs found perfectly preserved pots of honey that were thousands of years old.[1] In its natural state honey has a very low water content and as such is an inhospitable environment for bacterial contaminants. Although it contains very little water, if left open, it can pull in moisture from the environment or act as a humectant. Honey based skin and haircare products capitalize on that property by not only pulling in moisture but locking it in so that your skin or hair retain moisture.

Honey and Beeswax are also used in the cosmetics industry as a skin moisturizer, softener and to heal the skin tissue.[4] Check out our In the Kitchen post on some DIY applications of honey that will leave your skin saying thank you for days. While we only list our top 10 uses, there are many iterations of DIY skin care and hair care treatments with a honey base.

Some of our favorite honey-based products include:

Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Conditioning Mask

I’m From Honey Facial Mask

I’m From Honey Night Cream

Bohol Bee Farm X and X Conditioner

The Saem Honey and Sugar Lip Balm

If you prefer products with little to no scent, most honey products tend to have mild scents that do not overpower you. With so many amazing options at every price point, we think you will fall for honey too.

We don’t know about you but we think honey is definitely here to stay!

 

 

[1] Mandal, Manisha Deb, and Shyamapada Mandal. “Honey: Its Medicinal Property and Antibacterial Activity.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine 1.2 (2011): 154–160. PMC. Web. 12 June 2016.

[2] Ediriweera, E. R. H. S. S., and N. Y. S. Premarathna. “Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses of Bee’s Honey – A Review.” Ayu 33.2 (2012): 178–182. PMC. Web. 12 June 2016.

[3] Kwakman PHS, te Velde AA, de Boer L, Vandenbroucke-Grauls CMJE, Zaat SAJ (2011) Two Major Medicinal Honeys Have Different Mechanisms of Bactericidal Activity. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17709. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017709

[1] Geiling, Natasha. The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life. Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-science-behind-honeys-eternal-shelf-life-1218690/#OADqYizxfmBSo850.99

[4] Ediriweera, E. R. H. S. S., and N. Y. S. Premarathna. “Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses of Bee’s Honey – A Review.” Ayu 33.2 (2012): 178–182. PMC. Web. 12 June 2016.