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Honey is one of the oldest skin remedies, but unlike milk baths, it has endured and has even been backed up by science. This deliciously sweet material offers a ton of benefits for the skin in a way that truly helps all skin types. However, it’s not the only substance that bees produce that has a worthy place in your skin care routine! These days we also see royal jelly and propolis extract show up in formulas, especially from Korean beauty brands.
With so many products out there that contain honey and propolis for skin, I want to help you find the ones that’ll work for you. This is why I’ve selected the 23 best honey and propolis-infused skin care products you can buy online.
To understand exactly what makes honey so great for the skin, I explain its benefits. Then I move on to propolis extract, with an explanation of what it actually is and how it helps the skin.
If you have any concerns don’t worry – I talk about potential side effects as well. To finish things off, I explain how to use honey in skin care, including some amazing DIY mask recipes.
Honey & Propolis Extract in Skin Care: Contents
- 23 Best Honey-Infused Skin Care Products to Try
- Benefits of Honey for Skin
- What Is Propolis Extract?
- Benefits of Propolis for Skin
- Are There Any Side Effects to Using Honey on the Face?
- How to Use Honey in Skin Care for Glowing Face
Honey for skin sounds delicious, but it’s also one of the best skincare ingredients to add to your routine. Here you can find the best propolis extract and honey skin care products for different skin types and needs.
1. Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum with Hydrating Honey + Gentle Flower Acids
My love for gentle acids knows no bounds, but pairing it with honey, propolis extract, and royal jelly extract makes me want to do a little dance. It is a lightly exfoliating serum that helps slough away dead skin and improve skin texture with long-term use. In the short term it is exceedingly hydrating with a range of humectants including the aforementioned honey. It also contains soothing willow bark extract and a whole range of antioxidant-rich plant oils and extracts. It could work for all skin types, to make the skin soft, luminous, and clear. Buy it from Sephora!
2. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream
This new moisturizer from Kiehl’s is light yet non-greasy. It has a unique gel-cream texture that sinks into the skin in seconds, which is great for oily skin or layering if you have dry skin. It contains manuka honey for its hydrating and antibacterial properties, as well as antioxidant-rich shea butter, acne-fighting salicylic acid, and energizing ginseng. It comes with a unique press and slide dispenser that keeps the product fresh. Get it at Nordstrom!
3. CosRx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream
This is a richer moisturizer that is perfect for those with normal and dry skin. This creamy formula has a honey extract base for intense hydration, but it also contains barrier-improving ceramide 3, vitamin E-rich sunflower oil, and a ton of great humectants. It’s a fragrance-free formula that will also suit sensitive skin. Order it from Revolve!
4. Hey Honey Don’t Miss A Spot Propolis Cleansing Foam
When a brand is dedicated to crafting products with honey-derived ingredients you know the offerings will be pretty good. This gentle, sulfate-free cleansing foam will work for all skin types to remove impurities and excess oils while keeping the skin feeling fresh and soft. It contains propolis extract as well as some gorgeous plant extracts to nourish the skin. It is sold at Ulta.
5. Lancôme Tonique Confort Re-Hydrating Comforting Toner with Acacia Honey
This is a super hydrating toner you can use before serums or moisturizers to get your skin feeling extra supple. It contains a whole range of humectants including honey to give the skin that soothing touch. The formula also contains sweet almond protein for additional fortification. It will work for all skin types. You can purchase it from Sephora.
6. Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum
Because honey is mild it pairs well with powerful skin actives, including retinoids. This formula includes a few different retinoids that work together to retexturize the skin and fix problems associated with acne and extrinsic aging without irritating it. It also contains the aforementioned honey to soothe and hydrate the skin, as well as super antioxidant CoQ10. You can use it no matter your skin type. Find it at Nordstrom!
7. Feeling Beautiful Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Foaming Clay
This powerful mask is made for those with oily and acne-prone skin. It contains bentonite and kaolin clay to deeply purify and cleanse the pores. It has a foaming effect that tingles a bit, so don’t leave it on for too long. The honey helps to counter the drying effects of the clay, while tea tree oil helps target the acne bacteria. Pick it up from Ulta!
8. Pevonia Botanica Soothing Propolis Concentrate
This super gentle concentrate is made with propolis extract as its main ingredient to quickly calm the skin. It is a simple formula that also includes a bit of hydrating glycerin and soothing lavender essential oil. You can use it only when necessary or make it part of your daily skin care, no matter your skin type. It is sold through Dermstore.
9. Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask
This golden mask is as luxurious as can be. It is extremely moisturizing, especially when used in the shower, because it is loaded with glycerin, panthenol, and honey for skin. It also contains soothing propolis extract and royal jelly. It has a slight warming effect that might not work for those with sensitive skin. Pick it up from Sephora!
10. Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask
Yet another mask that combines the hydrating effects of honey for skin with the purifying effects of clay. It also contains charcoal to really pull impurities from deep within the pore. Honey works in tandem with butylene glycol to keep the skin hydrated and prevent irritation, while caffeine has a firming effect. Grab it from Nordstrom!
11. Eve Lom Rescue Mask
If you have oily or congested skin, this honey mask is for you. It is made with kaolin clay and almond meal to exfoliate the skin and unclog the pores. While they work at resurfacing the skin, honey pulls moisture into it and soothes any redness associated with acne or sensitivity. You can use this mask once or twice a week for brighter, clearer skin. You can order it from Net-a-Porter.
12. Pulse+GLO Honey Sheet Masks 10 Pack
Honey and sheet masks are a match made in heaven. The skin-restoring and antioxidant effects of propolis are combined here with centella asiatica extract and vitamin C to make a mask that is hydrating, brightening, and soothing. These masks can be used alone to rejuvenate any skin type, but they are actually made to go with Pulse+Glo’s electric device. Get it through Revolve!
13. BECCA Skin Love Glow Elixir
This super light serum will work all day to pull moisture into the skin. It contains vitamin C to give antioxidant protection all day long, and a very high amount of healing and hydrating honey for skin. There is a whole range of natural extracts in the blend that offer more soothing and anti-aging effects. It is made specifically to go under makeup, but we’d like it any time of day. Buy it at Sephora!
14. Skinfood Royal Honey Essential Emulsion
Made with a ton of honey for skin, this non-greasy moisturizer gives thorough hydration without looking heavy or feeling oily. It contains honey, propolis extract, and royal jelly to keep the skin in excellent shape. There is also ceramide Np to reinforce the skin barrier and vitamins C and E to add antioxidant protection. It is a great option for all skin types. Note that it has two openings, and that the lower one at the neck of the bottle is the one you should use. It is available at Ulta.
15. Bliss In The Honey Mask
Made for sensitive skin, this mask is soothing and moisturizing. It contains witch hazel along with propolis extract, which work together to help fade redness and decrease irritation. Honey and glycerin load the skin up with water, while squalane softens the skin and strengthens it. This mask is a great choice no matter the cause of your facial redness. Purchase it from Ulta!
16. Pixi by Petra Glow Mist
Few things feel as lovely as misting on a nourishing toner on a hot day. This formula is made with a variety of botanical oils to moisturize the skin, as well as soothing propolis extract and brightening niacinamide. It looks just as good under makeup as over it! It is sold online through Dermstore.
17. Guerlain Abeille Royale Repairing Honey Gel Mask
This soothing and nourishing mask will plump up your skin with moisture, helping to alleviate fine lines and eliminate redness. It contains both honey and royal jelly, along with oat extract, which has its own skin-calming effect. Pick it up at Sephora!
18. Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer
If you have sensitive skin, then this honey moisturizer is a great choice. It has a very simple formula that is low on irritants, with nourishing peanut oil, soothing honey extract, and a variety of humectants. The texture is light, so it doesn’t leave a residue on the skin. It’s ideal for those with normal and combination skin. Find it at Nordstrom!
19. Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask
Honey makes up 40% of this mask, to really load the skin up with its healing effects. It also contains fortifying echinacea extract and restoring sea buckthorn oil. It’s a formula that will relieve dehydration and plump up the skin to reduce the look of fine lines. Despite the oils, it is light enough to work for any skin type. You can get it from Sephora.
20. Sanitas Skincare Milk and Honey Cleanser
A cream cleanser is the best choice when you have dry or sensitive skin. This lotiony, sulfate-free formula removes every speck of makeup and dirt without stripping the skin. It is made with Colorado honey, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and jojoba oil. It does lather a little bit and can be rinsed away with water. Pick it up from Dermstore!
21. Dr. Brandt Skincare Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask
A sleeping mask is basically a lighter version of a night cream that helps draw moisture into the skin all night long. Honey, since it is a humectant, is a great addition to sleeping masks since it also helps to repair the skin while drawing in hydration. This mask also includes a probiotic blend that restores the skin’s microbiome and fortifies it. It’ll help strengthen and nourish sensitive skin. Buy it from Sephora!
22. Epicuren Discovery X-Treme Cream Propolis Sunscreen SPF 45+
If you really can’t get enough out of propolis for skin, then you should definitely pick up this sunscreen. This moisturizing sunscreen protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun with a high SPF, but it also nourishes it with soothing propolis and emollient moriche palm oil. It’d be best for those with dry skin. It is sold at Dermstore.
23. L’Oréal Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Paraben Free Honey Eye Gel
This eye gel even looks a little bit like honey! It contains manuka honey and glycerin to give deep moisture to the eyes, while caffeine helps decrease puffiness and other signs of fatigue. The texture is super light, so you can use it alone or under a heavier cream. Get it at Ulta!
Whether dry or oily, sensitive or acne-prone, or just plain old concerned about the early signs of aging, honey for skin will absolutely help you. As you can see from this list, honey’s benefits are truly diverse. It can reduce redness, dehydration, treat breakouts, and just overall make the skin feel softer and healthier.
It is very common for sweet things to have humectant properties. Much like glycerin and xylitol, which also happen to be sweet, honey is a humectant that is able to absorb water and bring it to the skin. This makes honey a wonderful moisturizing ingredient that helps to soften and plump up the skin, thereby increasing its strength and barrier capabilities while also decreasing the prominence of fine lines.
Since honey moisturizes by increasing hydration, it is an appropriate addition to skin care products for all skin types. It won’t make oily skin greasy, just soft and supple.
According to Michelle of LabMuffin, honey has a few different mechanisms that make it antibacterial, including a low pH (which you know I’m slightly obsessed with), an ability to slowly release hydrogen peroxide, and its humectant properties, which allow it to draw out water from bacterial cells and thereby destroy them.
It also might have some different antibacterial compounds in it, depending on the type of honey. Honey is not as strong an antibacterial agent as benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics, but it certainly can’t hurt in your fight against acne. Anecdotally, those with acne-prone skin seem to mostly benefit from adding honey-laden skin care products to their routine.
The blend of antioxidant and humectant abilities that honey has leads to it being wonderfully soothing. People who suffer from rosacea and chronic skin redness find that honey (especially manuka honey) can be effective at reducing the redness and leaving their skin feeling much calmer.
• Promotes Healing
There have been multiple studies that showed that honey is able to help with wound healing, likely due to its humectant and antibacterial properties. I don’t recommend throwing out your band-aids and using honey instead, but if your skin is compromised for any reason, including sensitivity or acne, honey can be a great ingredient in a comprehensive routine meant to repair the skin.
• Rich in Antioxidants
Honey contains a variety of compounds that offer antioxidant protection, to ward off premature aging. These include multiple flavonoids and phenolic acids, including ferulic acid, which is known for its ability to boost and support vitamin C.
If you’re dealing with seborrheic dermatitis or fungal acne (maybe in addition to other skin issues), you’ll be happy to know that honey can help. Studies have shown its ability to inhibit certain fungal strains that are associated specifically with seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, but people have also seen the positive effects of honey masks on other fungal skin issues.
Propolis extract is a newer additive in skin care, even though it also has an ancient medicinal history. Like honey, propolis also comes from bees. It is a resinous sealant that bees produce in order to seal openings in their hive.
Propolis is made of a combination of beeswax, sap or resin from plants, and bee saliva. It is rich in essential oils that come from the plant sap, and has a naturally lovely scent. Its composition varies greatly from region to region and beehive to beehive, but it consistently has a variety of health benefits thanks to a diverse collection of beneficial compounds that are in it.
There are a few theories as to why bees produce and use propolis, most of which focus on its ability to reinforce the hive and insulate it. The most intriguing theory, however, is the suggestion that propolis is able to keep the hive protected against bacterial and fungal contamination.
Like honey, propolis extract also has a number of benefits for skin.
Like honey, propolis extract has also shown the ability to heal the skin and reduce irritation. In a study in the Journal of Diabetes, propolis was applied to diabetic foot ulcers and seemed to improve their healing by promoting wound closure. This was likely thanks to its ability to inhibit free radical damage as well as thanks to its antibacterial effects. If your skin is easily irritated or sensitive, you might benefit from the healing effects of propolis.
Propolis extract seems to be even more antimicrobial than honey, due to its high content of terpenes. So far there has only been one study, but it has shown that propolis extract was effective at reducing active acne breakouts! Propolis for skin could be great addition to an acne-fighting routine.
Like honey, propolis has also shown an inhibiting effect on certain fungi that cause common skin issues like fungal acne and seborrheic dermatitis. The combination of soothing, anti-microbial and antifungal effects is great for those suffering from a combination of skin ailments.
Propolis is comprised of a variety of compounds that offer antioxidant protection, including flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and terpenes. It aids in keeping the skin looking youthful by preventing the destructive chain reaction caused by free radicals from the sun and pollution, which leads to premature aging.
Its antioxidant effects are fairly well documented, but not necessarily comparable to other antioxidants like CoQ10, vitamin C or resveratrol. Propolis extract is best in a routine that includes other antioxidants as well.
As with any natural skin care ingredient, you run into the risk of allergies with honey and propolis extract as well. Chance are you already know if you’re allergic to honey, but be aware that sometimes people with pollen or bee venom allergies might also react to honey-based skin care.
It seems that propolis extract, due to its high content of terpenoids, is likelier to cause irritation than honey. If your skin is sensitive to essential oils and fragrances, then your chances of being sensitive to propolis as well are a little higher.
Always perform a patch test by applying new skin care products to a small part of your face for a few days in a row, just to make sure that you don’t have an adverse reaction to them. This is a safety practice I always recommend, however.
You can find honey in a wide range of skin care products, including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and everything in between. There is no special way to use products with honey or propolis for the skin. You would apply a moisturizer as you would any other moisturizer, while a cleanser or a mask would be best used according to the directions on the package.
It gets interesting when we talk about run-of-the-mill, food-grade honey. When it comes to using honey for skin, you can absolutely play around with some DIY mask recipes using whatever you have in your kitchen cabinet. Honey is probably my favorite ingredient for DIY recipes because it has nearly no downsides, it works for all skin types, and it can be mixed with so many different things.
Of course, it is better to choose raw honey, as it will contain more beneficial substances straight from the plants. Manuka and kanuka honey, in particular, have become very popular because of touted (albeit unverified) anti-inflammatory benefits. However, the truth is that even mass-produced honey holds some skin benefits.
You can also just use it on its own, as you would any other rinse-off skin care mask. I recommend using honey masks while in the shower because that’s when you can benefit from its full potential as a humectant.
Honey can pull all of the moisture from the steam directly into your skin, so after your shower your skin will be extra soft and plump. Using it in the shower also makes clean-up easy – you don’t need to worry about sticky honey dripping anywhere!
Here are some of my favorite honey mask recipes! Keep in mind that they are all single-use recipes. Mix up a small amount right before you would like to use them, since they spoil fairly quickly.
Honey Mask for Oily Skin
Apply the mixture to cleansed skin and leave on for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off and follow up with the rest of your skincare routine.
Honey Mask for Dehydrated and Sensitive Skin
Mix the ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated, and then apply to clean skin. Rinse it away completely after 10 minutes or so and follow up with the rest of your skincare regimen.
Honey Mask for Dry Skin
When you have dry skin, the best combination is honey and a bit of whatever skincare oil you have on hand. Put the honey into a bowl, and then mix it while adding a bit of oil. Keep adding oil until you achieve a texture that will go on the skin easily.
Apply it to your skin while it is clean, and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Once the time has passed, rinse it off and follow up with the rest of your beauty routine.
You can also turn any of these honey masks into exfoliants! If your skin is a little heartier, you can add brown sugar while if it is more sensitive, you can add ground oatmeal to them. After applying the masks to your skin, massage them in a bit to exfoliate and then leave them on to do their magic.
Photos via @mydesertglow, @chandlerrenee_, @adpbeauty, @nikki_makeup