It’s winter, the party season is upon us and our skin is looking more grey than a dreary afternoon in London. It’s the season of giving, so if you need to bypass your facial this month to buy gifts for your nearest and dearest, here’s a quick, cheap and natural solution to your dull skin woes. Man’s oldest sweetener has been revered for its medicinal and nutritional qualities for centuries, used by the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, to cure almost anything from burns to allergies. It is often applauded for it’s nutritional content but you don’t have to eat it to benefit from its superfood status, honey can work wonders from the outside in.

Honey is packed full of Vitamin B, iron, copper, potassium, calcium, is full of anti-ageing properties and anti-oxidants. It contains mild alpha hydroxy acid and gluconic acid to brighten the complexion and plump out weary skin, perfect as a pick-me-up for the late nights of the party season. As a humectant, honey is one of nature’s greatest moisturisers drawing and retaining moisture into the skin. With a pH level of 4.5 it’s ideal to use on sensitive skin and can soften skin, especially when mixed with milk, Cleopatra was certainly onto something with her milk and honey baths.

You may have heard a lot on the grape vine at the moment about different types of honey, especially manuka. So what is so special about this honey produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush?  Methylglyoxal is a compound found in most types of honey but usually only in small quantities. Manuka honey has a high quantity of it from the conversion of another compound dihydroxyacetone – found in the nectar of manuka flowers. The higher the concentration of methylglyoxal, the stronger the antibacterial effect, making it the ideal solution for banishing blemishes. Manuka honey will pack a 100% natural and organic punch against any post- or pre-Christmas party breakouts, will give your skin a glowing appearance and can even soothe skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

Raw, unprocessed honey, manuka or otherwise, can be applied directly to the skin, but if you don’t fancy getting into a sticky situation there are some wonderful products on the market blended with other natural ingredients your skin will love you for:

Dr Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream, £8.69
Dr Organic have an entire range of Manuka honey packed products, including a magnificently rich and hypoallergenic rescue cream perfect for use on dry chapped skin and a softening hair conditioner containing organic Manuka Honey, Aloe Vera, Shea butter, Hydrolyzed milk protein, Panthenol, Sunflower oil and Vitamin E.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Body Lotion, £21.00
Delightfully scented and bee-utifully softening, this luxurious natural body lotion is infused with moisturising organic honey and fragrant, uplifting organic essential oils of orange and mandarin, to subtly scent while softening the skin.

Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Gentle Facial Cleanser £1o.75
Providing a deep cleansing treatment this light emulsion effectively removes impurities and make up from within the pores without eradicating the skin of its natural oils.

words by Lily Gregory