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Slathering honey onto your skin may seem like a messy way to achieve the ultimate glow-up, but manuka honey has a well-deserved reputation as a triple-threat skin care ingredient.
While manuka honey isn’t exactly the same as the stuff in your cupboard, all honey does share some similarities, like the ability to fight infections.
However, unlike regular honey, manuka contains methylglyoxal (MG), which is both an antimicrobial and antiviral. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to balance pH in your skin. Sounds pretty sweet, right?
We put together this list of some of the best manuka honey skin care products to make it easy for you to find the perf option for your glowy skin needs.
8 best manuka honey products for skin
- Best raw manuka honey: Manukora UMF 20+ Raw Manuka Honey
- Best for eczema and psoriasis: Clearbody Organics Manuka Honey Relief
- Best face moisturizer: Honeyskin Face Moisturizer
- Best for wound healing: First Honey Sterile Manuka Honey Ointment
- Best for anti-wrinkle benefits: Manuka Lane Anti-Wrinkle Manuka Honey Cream Serum
- Best hand cream: Mr Bees Manuka Honey Hand Cream
- Best for sensitive skin: Plantonin New Zealand Bee Cream Plus
- Best face wash: Era Organics Moisturizing Face Wash
We chatted with Kristyn Smith, beauty expert, esthetician, and founder of Practise NYC about what makes manuka honey a great skin product and how to identify the best of the bunch.
Here’s what we focused on to make our selections:
- Customer reviews. We only chose products with rave reviews from customers.
- Variety of uses. Our list includes products formulated for various uses, including moisturizers, serums, and more.
- Ingredients. We’ve included products with added ingredients, but you can totally use manuka honey alone. Always check ingredient labels for any components that you know might irritate your skin.
- Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). UMF is the rating system developed by manuka honey producers to determine the product’s ability to take on bacteria and other unfriendly microorganisms. “Products with a minimum rating of 10 will have the best antimicrobial ability,” says Smith.
- $ = under $30
- $$ = $30–$60
- $$$ = over $60
Let’s take a closer look at the products.
Best raw manuka honey
- Price: $$$
- Ingredients: pure manuka honey
- Pros: raw, legit NZ manuka honey, UMF rating of 20+
- Cons: sticky consistency, pricey
Smith, who prefers to use a pure manuka honey product for skin care purposes, shares that this brand is a fave. In addition to its high UMF rating of 20, it’s also non-GMO and processed in a high quality certified facility in New Zealand.
Each bottle comes with a QR code that you can scan to find out the product’s authenticity (bye, fakers), the best before date, and more.
Reviewers say they love the excellent customer service and that the honey works on all sorts of skin concerns. We should point out that a few folks complain of issues when ingesting the honey. And one person says they received a product that was thick and crystallized, making it tough to apply to the skin.
Best manuka honey for eczema and psoriasis
- Price: $
- Ingredients: manuka honey, colloidal oatmeal, arnica extract
- Pros: helps calm itchy, red skin
- Cons: doesn’t work for everyone
If itchy, dry skin makes you want to scream into the void, this creamy oatmeal and manuka honey product may help soothe your angry skin. The anti-itch cream helps fight inflammation and contains few ingredients making it safe for sensitive skin.
It’s free of synthetic fragrances and gentle enough to use on a baby’s skin. In addition to UMF 10+ manuka honey, the product also contains oats to help moisturize and calm the skin.
One reviewer with plaque psoriasis says the cream helped reduce redness and stop itching in its tracks. A few customers did complain that the formula wasn’t effective for their skin woes, and some say it doesn’t moisturize enough for their liking.
Best manuka honey face moisturizer
- Price: $
- Ingredients: manuka honey UMF 12+, coconut oil, aloe vera, cacao seed butter, shea butter
- Pros: soothing, moisturizing ingredients, cruelty-free
- Cons: might irritate some skin types
Honeyskin’s facial moisturizer is gentle enough to use on your face but still delivers a blast of hydration.
The lotion contains manuka honey (UMF 12+), rich coconut oil, and aloe vera. The company also claims to use organic ingredients. Plus, the formula is cruelty-free and free of red-flag ingredients like sulfates and parabens.
Customers consistently give top marks to this face cream and say it helps soothe eczema and acne-prone skin. Reviewers also appreciate that the formula doesn’t have a strong scent. One person did complain that the cream burned their skin, however.
Just because a product works for one person doesn’t mean it’s gonna be your new skin BFF. Do a patch test before applying it all over your face to check for signs of irritation.
Best manuka honey for wound healing
- Price: $
- Ingredients: medical-grade manuka honey
- Pros: medical-grade formula, comes from a family-owned farm in NZ
- Cons: sticky (even by honey’s standards)
Dab a little bit of this ointment of your latest ouchie to help protect your skin from infection. Medical-grade manuka honey helps keep microbes from multiplying. The formula contains zero antibiotics and contains 12+ manuka honey sourced from a family-owned bee farm. 🐝
Oh, and it has a shelf life of up to 4 years, so it can work its magic now or down the line.
Reviewers gush about the ointment’s healing abilities and say it even helps lighten up scars. People warn about the consistency, though, but obvi honey is gonna be sticky AF.
Best manuka honey for anti-wrinkle benefits
- Price: $
- Ingredients: hyaluronic acid, manuka honey, peptides
- Pros: contains multiple skin smoothing ingredients
- Cons: doesn’t work for everyone, no UMF rating listed
What do you get when you combine anti-inflammatory manuka honey and hyaluronic acid? A rad serum that soothes the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Manuka Lane’s formula also contains peptides that lend an extra helping hand in handling wrinkles. Hydrolyzed collagen helps boost the skin’s elasticity and smooths things out.
Customers say the creamy serum delivers results and makes the skin look and feel great. But a few peeps are adamant that it just doesn’t really work.
Best manuka honey hand cream
- Price: $
- Ingredients: jojoba oil, manuka beeswax, manuka honey, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, shea butter, and more
- Pros: helps with dry, itchy skin, container lasts a long time
- Cons: can get greasy if you use too much
This moisturizing combo of ingredients is formulated to target uber dry skin. And, because you only need to use a small amount (pea-sized), it should last you a while.
Use it to heal dry, cracked skin or soothe uncomfortable itching due to skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. The soft wax consistency glides on easily, but customers note that it’s a bit greasy, especially if you go overboard and use too much.
Reviewers love that it helps heal dry and irritated skin and leaves skin feeling soft.
Best manuka honey for sensitive skin
- Price: $
- Ingredients: manuka honey, jojoba oil
- Pros: works for sensitive skin, cool feel, QR code for verification
- Cons: some say it has a greasy feel
This creamy formula is made for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin. It’s also unscented, which works well for those with scent sensitivities. The pH-balanced cream is manufactured right in New Zealand and isn’t tested on animals.
Each container also features a QR code so you can verify whether it’s legit or not.
Reviewers love the creamy, lightweight consistency of this product. Those with sensitive skin say it works well, doesn’t irritate, and has a soothing, cool feel. A couple of reviewers note that it has a bit of a greasy feel, though.
Best manuka honey face wash
- Price: $
- Ingredients: manuka honey, aloe vera
- Pros: contains organic ingredients, suitable for all skin types
- Cons: some say it’s not hydrating enough
Washing your face with pure honey is sure to be a messy task. Instead, try this face wash that contains manuka honey to hydrate your bee-youtiful skin. The formula contains manuka honey and aloe vera.
It’s fine for all skin types — yes, even sensitive skin! And it’s not tested on animals (phew!). The company also says they use UMF 10 and UMF 16 Manuka honey, which is powerful enough to fight off bacteria, making it a great facewash choice for acne-prone skin.
Reviewers with acne agree and say it’s not only moisturizing but helps clear up skin. Customers like that it’s gentle, but a handful of reviewers say it’s not hydrating enough.
The main thing to keep in mind when using manuka honey is to store it at room temp to make it easy to apply on your skin. At room temp, the product will be spreadable. Cooled honey will solidify and become impossible to spread on the skin.
Smith recommends using manuka honey products daily as a pimple spot treatment, adding that you may want to cover the skin to prevent the sticky stuff from glooping all over your pillow and hair.
“I think one of the best usages of honey for skin conditioning is to slather it over the body before a bath, let it sit and work its magic, then slide into warm water with a buffing cloth and buff the honey off the skin,” says Smith. “This should leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. Just make sure to rinse out any sticky residue from your tub after the fact,” she adds.
Always patch test before applying any product to your skin. And stay away from products containing honey if you’re allergic to bees or propolis (this is a material made by bees to build hives).
Stop using manuka honey products if you experience:
It’s never a bad idea to consult a health pro about any concerns you might have before using manuka honey or after, if you start to see some side effects.
Still have some questions about the whole manuka honey thing? Well, we’ve got answers! Here are 5 of the most common queries that pop up about this skin product:
What makes manuka honey so effective on skin?
This New Zealand honey is produced by bees that pollinate a specific flower from a plant called the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium). The honey has an ingredient not found in regular honey called methylglyoxal, which is responsible for its antibacterial properties.
Who shouldn’t use manuka honey?
If you’re allergic to bee stings, you should avoid raw honey and products containing honey, including manuka. If you have a skin condition, talk with your dermatologist before trying new products to treat your skin probs.
Should you put manuka honey products in the fridge?
No. Cool temps can solidify and crystalize the honey, making it hard to spread onto your skin.
Is it safe to use manuka honey that darkens?
Over time, raw Manuka honey will naturally darken, but it’s still safe to eat and use on skin as long as you’ve stored it properly.
How can you tell manuka honey is legit?
Some companies have QR codes you can scan to verify the product’s legitimacy. Otherwise, look for companies that clearly mention a UMF rating.
There’s lots of buzz about manuka honey because of its mighty antimicrobial properties. With the versatility of these products, you’re sure to find one that will meet your skin care needs. Try one or more of our recs above to see if you can work it into your regular routine.
Just make sure to patch test before using it on a whole area of your body. And if you have a medical skin condition, ask your derm for advice before experimenting.