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Manuka Honey Is The Ultimate Beauty Find

From a beauty standpoint, manuka honey is definitely one of the best natural beauty products there is.

Beauty & Fashion

In case you ever end up being a contestant on Jeopardy and there's a category that's devoted to nothing but honey, there are some things you should know. Honey has been hailed as being a sweet form of medicine and a powerful energy booster, ever since the beginning of time.

In order to make a pound of honey, bees must get nectar from over two million flowers. Each bee? It only makes one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. It's also reportedly the only kind of food that doesn't come with an expiration date. Not only that but honey is the only food that's produced by insects, and it's the only food that produces pinocembrin (an antibiotic that improves how your brain functions). Some of honey's health benefits include its ability to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and relieve coughing.

Yeah, honey is all kinds of dope. So, the next time you go to the store to pick up a jar of honey, get two. One for eating (local raw honey is best) and another for medicinal and beauty purposes. Which one is best for that? Manuka honey. Due to all of the antibacterial properties that this kind of honey has, it's great at quickly healing wounds, fighting tooth decay and healing a sore throat. Some studies reveal that manuka honey is even great at treating symptoms related to cystic fibrosis.

From a beauty standpoint, I've got 10 solid reasons why—although it's a little bit on the pricey side—manuka honey is definitely one of the best natural beauty products there is. (For the record, raw honey works well too. I'm going with manuka honey because it's the 2.0 of all honey types.)

1.Skin Moisturizer

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Because honey has such a low pH balance to it, it's got the ability to remove all sorts of bacteria from your skin. As far as manuka honey is concerned, the high amount of antioxidants that's in it helps to nourish your skin. Although this kind of honey is powerful, it's also gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. If you use it on your face, after a week's time, your skin's texture will become noticeably smoother, all without clogging your pores in the process.

Some women simply apply a layer of manuka honey onto their clean damp skin, let it sit for five minutes and then rinse it off (then follow that up with adding a little sweet almond oil to their face before turning in every night). Or, if you'd prefer to make some DIY manuka body butter, click here to learn how.

2.Exfoliant

Something else that honey contains are amino acids which is why it's so good for your skin. Manuka honey is especially beneficial because it's a type of honey that contains a powerful antibacterial property known as methylglyoxal. The combination of the acids and methylglyoxal is what makes this honey an effective-yet-gentle type of exfoliant.

One way to get the most out of manuka honey is to make an exfoliating face mask. All you need to do is combine half of a mashed ripe banana with two tablespoons of manuka honey and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon (you can also swap out the cinnamon for a teaspoon of baking soda if you'd like; it's also a really good exfoliant). Mix everything together, apply it to your clean and damp face and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then rinse, first with warm water and then cool in order to seal your pores.

3.Acne Treatment

On average, our body is made up of five million pores with 20,000 of them on our face. Each pore contains a follicle that has a hair and sebum (naturally-produced oil) in it. Too much oil, dead skin and/or bacteria in your pores can lead to an inflamed bump because the inflammation prevents the bacteria from escaping. Manuka honey is able to remove the bacteria and even slow down the pH balance surrounding your zits so that the healing process of your bumps speeds up.

All you need to do is mix a tablespoon of manuka honey with a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice (it is an astringent that can help to prevent acne scars) and five drops of lavender essential oil (it removes bacteria while soothing your skin).

Bonus Tip: Manuka honey is a fabulous eczema remedy too. There are many clinical studies to support the fact that it brings instant relief to dry, cracked and oozing skin. If you want to DIY some eczema cream, Dr. Axe has a cool recipe that's easy to make.

4.Acne Scar Fader

Technically, pimples are inflamed lesions that turn into wounds once you pop them (which is why putting stuff like toothpaste on them really isn't the best idea). Wounds are torn skin tissue that eventually turns into a scab and, usually a scar after that. An acne scar specifically happens when our body produces too much collagen in the effort to heal the wound; this leads to raised skin and discoloration.

If you apply a dab of manuka honey and sweet almond oil directly onto your acne scars, the properties in the honey will soften the scar tissue and even out your skin tone. The key is to apply the solution daily in order to get maximum results.

5.Dark Eye Circle Lightener

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There are alot of things that can lead to dark circles underneath your eyes—heredity, stress, allergies, sleep deprivation, too much sodium in your diet, excessive sun exposure and aging. Thanks to both the anti-inflammatory and bleaching properties in manuka honey, by applying a thin layer of it underneath your eyes (and letting it sit for 10 minutes or so before gently rinsing it off), it will increase blood circulation and boost collagen levels in that area. With this, you should start to see noticeable results in around 72 hours.

6.Hair Conditioner

Another awesome thing about honey is that it is a humectant (it pulls humidity from the air). This is a good thing to know if your hair is naturally dry. The high amounts of antioxidants and nutrients in manuka honey makes it the kind of ingredient that not only softens your hair but strengthens your hair follicles too.

If you'd like to give your locks a bit of a protein treatment while also keeping your tresses soft, combine three tablespoons of manuka honey with two tablespoons of avocado oil and one tablespoon of olive oil. Put everything into a microwave-safe bowl, use a whisk to make sure all of the ingredients are well-blended. Then zap the mixture in the microwave for 10 seconds and apply it to your hair, right after you've shampooed it. Let the mixture sit for 25 minutes with a plastic cap on your head, then rinse thoroughly and style as usual.

7.Lip Soother

There are all sorts of things that cause chapped lips. Although dehydration is probably the most obvious, humidity, sun rays and licking your lips too much (partly due to the bacteria that's in your saliva) can do it too. Since manuka honey is scientifically-proven to speed up the wound healing process (so much in fact that it's FDA-approved to do so) and tissue regeneration, that's why it does such a wonderful job at soothing and healing your lips.

If you want to make your own lip balm (complete with lavender and coconut oil), click here for the instructions. (You can also click here to buy some empty lip balm containers and here to purchase some small tin jars, if you'd prefer.)

8.Razor Bump Remover

Have you ever wondered what exactly causes a razor bump, it's this—whenever we cut our body hair, sometimes it tries to curl back and enter into the same pore; this is what results in an ingrown hair. This, combined with the dead skill cells that we're constantly shedding, can create quite the nuisance. The antibacterial properties in manuka honey is able to reduce the inflammation that razor bumps cause and remove the dead skin cells that are clogging up your pores.

The best way to use manuka honey to treat your razor bumps is to apply a thin coat of the honey directly on the bumps. Let the honey sit for 10 minutes and then rinse the oil while lightly massaging the bumps in an upward, circular motion. You should notice results within a day or so.

9.Nail Strengthener

Something that a lot of people are not aware of is how good honey is for your nails. Again, since it's got so many antibacterial properties in it, honey can help to heal toe fungus. Plus, it's awesome when it comes to restoring cracked cuticles and, it can strengthen your nails over time too.

Mixing a teaspoon of manuka honey, olive oil and apple cider vinegar is all you need to do. Apply the combo to your nails and cuticles, let it remain them for 15 minutes and rinse. If you do this twice a week, your nails will start to heal and your hands will become super soft as well.

10.Sleep Agent

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Did you know that, according to a UCLA study on sleep deprivation, if you miss just one night of sound rest that it can age you? (Hey, that don't call it "beauty sleep" for nothin'!) That's why getting no less than seven hours of sleep is so important.

If you need a little help with, not only falling but staying asleep, don't turn in before swallowing one-half to one full teaspoon of honey (you can also put it into some caffeine-free herbal tea, if you'd prefer). What honey does is provide your liver with enough glycogen so that your brain is not "triggered" awake. In other words, honey literally gives you enough energy to stay sleeping. Plus, honey contains tryptophan; most of us know that it is an amino acid that is a powerful sleep aid too.

Yep, this is just one more reason to treat yourself and your beauty regimen to some manuka honey, just as soon as possible. I'm pretty sure you will absolutely love it—from head to toe.

Featured image by Getty Images

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Originally published June 25, 2019

Mental health awareness is at an all-time high with many of us seeking self-improvement and healing with the support of therapists. Tucked away in cozy offices, or in the comfort of our own homes, millions of women receive the tools needed to navigate our emotions, relate to those around us, or simply exist in a judgment-free space.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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