Manuka Honey: Why It's So Big Right Now

Honey has doubled as a tea-time condiment and powder-room staple since Cleopatra’s rumored milk-and-honey baths. But, active Manuka honey, collected from the manuka bush in New Zealand and Australia, one-ups regular nectar with higher pollen counts, live enzymes, and antibacterial properties.
“All raw honey has some antibacterial properties based on hydrogen peroxide,” says Dr. Jeannette Graf, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and author of Stop Aging, Start Living. Thanks to methylglyoxal, a substance in the manuka bush, manuka honey packs a more potent punch than other honeys. "It can make for anti-irritating and soothing, antibacterial, and in general, quite nutrient-rich products,” Graf says.
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The result? A multifaceted substance that can moisturize, fight acne, and soothe — a true superfood for the face. Read on to see some of our favorite picks.
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Wedderspoon Gold Organic Raw Manuka 16+ Honey

Fight the urge to gulp a spoonful and slather it on your face instead. According to Graf, the straight honey, like this one from Wedderspoon, can be soothing as a cleanser. And, because Manuka honey is light- and heat-stable, the see-through jar can be safely kept in the shower. We also love that this honey also comes packaged in snap-open capsules for TSA-friendly treks.

Wedderspoon Gold Organic Raw Manuka 16+ Honey, $34.30, available at Wedderspoon.
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Om Aroma & Co. Detox Manuka Honey Mask

With its sticky, molasses-like texture, this mask looks like pure manuka honey (though a bevy of organic fruit and herb extracts are added to help brighten and smooth the skin). We particularly dig the spa-like ritual this mask requires — a warm, damp towel to the face after application forces us to breathe in the sinus-clearing aroma of sage and, more importantly, relax without visual distraction, for 10 whole minutes. Ahh...

Om Aroma & Co. Detox Manuka Honey Face Mask, $56, available at Om Aroma & Co.
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La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask

We love that raw manuka honey is the first ingredient in this vitamin-packed mask. But, it’s the aronia berries (rich in antioxidants, like resveratrol) that really make this mask do double duty. “Manuka honey can be quite moisturizing...especially when combined with other moisturizing ingredients like antioxidants and humectants,” Graf says. Check and check!

La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask, $60, available at La Bella Figura.
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Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask

This New Zealand-based brand captures the sweet stuff of its homeland in a healing mask that doubles as an acne spot treatment. “Its antibacterial properties make it helpful for acne,” Graf notes.

Antipodes Natural Aura Manuka Honey Treatment Mask, $39, available at Antipodes.
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Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel

Manuka honey, kombucha, cherries, pomegranate, and papaya: The ingredient list for this peel reads like a tropical, Tracy Anderson-approved breakfast. But, the lot of these ingredients designed to smooth, reduce pigmentation, neutralize free radicals, and slough off dead skin cells, make for a gentle, yet powerful peel — and instantly revived skin.

Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel, $66, available at Elemental Herbology.
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