Friday, May 25, 2007

ELISE MINTON & PAIGE HERMAN: Boost your beauty with honey

Honey has become a staple ingredient in some of today's most sought-after beauty products -- and for good reason. Besides its deliciously sweet scent, this natural moisturizer is hailed for its wide variety of therapeutic properties, such as the ability to keep skin hydrated and moist, as well as the power to fight against the signs of aging. Plus, honey is an anti-irritant, so it is safe to use on even the most sensitive skin.

Benefits of honey

Derived from the hives of honeybees, honey is a natural humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture. Honey contains essential vitamins such as B5 and panothenic acid. It's also full of minerals like zinc and magnesium, which increase the skin's moisture retention. And it improves cell production and scalp circulation. Honey also contains loads of enzymes and amino acids, making it a powerful antibacterial ingredient that is excellent for treating acne, as well as reducing redness and inflammation. Rich in antioxidants, honey also helps regenerate damaged tissue, deflect free radicals and improve skin tone and elasticity. To reap the full benefits, look for dark-colored honey, which contains more antioxidants than light-colored versions.

History of honey for cosmetic purposes

Using honey in beauty rituals dates back to ancient Egypt, when Cleopatra would bathe in a mixture of honey and milk to keep her skin feeling soft and looking young. Roman emperor Nero's wife, Poppea, was also a devotee of honey and milk, although she preferred to mix the ingredients together into a paste for a facial mask. Renowned Greek physician Hippocrates used honey to cure skin infections, infected wounds and ulcers on the lips, while Queen Anne of England would blend honey and oil together to form a hair serum that helped keep her locks thick, shiny and lustrous.

Can honey help prevent sun damage?

We all know that it's crucial to use sunscreen on a daily basis, but many chemical and physical barrier sunscreens contain ingredients that can cause skin irritation and reactions. Since honey is suitable for sensitive skin and is a natural moisturizer, it is currently being considered as a substitute ingredient for some of the harsh chemicals found in most sun blocks. Thanks to its natural antioxidant properties, honey also helps the skin to protect itself from the sun's damaging UV rays and also aids in skin cell rejuvenation.

Product picks

Facial cleanser: Soothe and soften skin with L'Occitane Comfort Cleansing Fluid, which features a blend of compounds from Provengal honey hives, protein-rich royal jelly and bisabolol extract. $20;

Facial scrub: Regular exfoliation is a must for a clean, clear complexion. In addition to honey (its thick consistency makes for the perfect base), Collective Wellbeing Honey Buff is jam-packed with natural ingredients like vitamin C to fight the signs of fine lines and wrinkles; rose hip seeds and lemon peel to exfoliate and echinacea to keep pore-clogging dirt at bay. $13;

Face mask: Great for avid travelers who experience dry skin from constantly being on the go, Apitiva Skin Food Mask with Honey leaves skin soft, refreshed and hydrated, thanks to a blend of honey and cereal proteins. The individually packaged masks also boast vitamins C, E and F for cell regeneration. $24 for a box of 6;

Facial moisturizer: Suitable for all skin types, Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer neutralizes damaging free radicals that destroy collagen and elastin. Subtly scented and greaseless, this extremely absorbent moisturizer contains honey and orange extract to hydrate and nourish skin, leaving it velvety smooth. $25;

Shampoo: Formulated to calm itchy, dry, irritated scalps, Frederic Fekkai Sensitive Scalp Shampoo features a mixture of lavender and manuka honey to heal while moisturizing. A melange of botanicals gently removes excess sebum without drying or stripping the hair and scalp. $20;


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