If you were to look through my vanity, you would find activated charcoal, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, ethically-sourced beeswax lip balm, organic makeup, as well as body, hair, and face oils of the coconut, jojoba, rosehip, and tamanu variety. I’m Australian and a wellness writer, so my obsession with natural beauty runs deep.
The latest natural skincare ingredient I can’t stop talking about is manuka honey—a product native to South East Australia and New Zealand that not only increases collagen production and reduces pigmentation, but kills acne-causing bacteria deep in your pores. As a 26-year-old who still gets pimples and is already starting to see some fine lines appearing, this is appealing.
Nio Poniatowski, the founder of Mrs Manuka, a new Australia-based skin care brand offering products derived from—you guessed it—manuka honey—created her own brand after the golden elixir made her sensitive, dry skin blemish- and inflammation-free. “My mother always suggested honey every time I got a cold because of its healing and bacteria killing properties. My skin was so inflamed and itchy so I remember my mothers words about honey and I poured honey all over my face. My skin started to heal, I knew I was onto something and I had to explore the possibilities,” she told us.
Pontiatwoski’s not the first person to notice such results: Manuka Honey has been used since ancient times as an antiseptic to clean wounds and prevent infections on both the inside (like a sore throat) and outside (like a scrape or cut). Perhaps you’ve read about tea tree commonly being used as a natural antiseptic or spot treatment—well, manuka is just another word for tea tree. It has higher levels of antibacterial component methylglyoxal than other honeys, so will literally kill germs, including the pore-dwelling kind that cause acne, when you apply topically.
There’s more: Manuka Honey is here to solve all of your skin issues, and is rich in the amino acids your body needs to build collagen, strengthen the connective tissue in the skin and increase elasticity needed to keep skin looking youthful. Specifically, it’s rich in an amino acid called proline. Some fans even swear that this honey will reduce the appearance of acne scars and pigmentation, and help craft that clear, even skin tone you’ve been chasing.
Plenty of beauty brands use manuka honey (De Maniel makes a particularly lovely lip balm with the stuff, and celebs like Kourtney Kardashian love the Manuka Doctor line), but Mrs Manuka’s one of the few affordable options also made only from natural products. My favorite product is the detox mask ($45) which arrives as loose powder in a jar and requires mixing with water.
There are specific benefits to the extra step—so if you’re looking to buy a manuka mask, try and stick to a dry product. When clay and other dry extracts come in contact with liquids the product becomes “active” (yep, like activated charcoal and activated almonds). “When a liquid/wet mask formula is stored in a jar it becomes less and less active over time, meaning the mask will loose its efficiency over time,” Pontiatwoski explained. Also, clay, a common ingredient in masks, is a sensitive ingredient, and even more so when it is wet—this means it could become contaminated by fingers or surrounding air. To avoid cross-contamination and even the growth of mould, lots of clay-based wet masks include preservatives. By sticking to a dry mask, you’re avoiding these extra chemicals absorbing into your skin.
Right now you can shop Mrs Manuka online right here—and yes, they ship internationally!