When you think of honey in beauty products, you probably get a few nostalgic flashbacks to DIY hair and face masks mixed with the ancient beauty ingredient. Or maybe you used it on a zit or two (it’s great for treating acne). Either way, honey’s been around for centuries and has only become more sophisticated as beauty brands continue to innovate and create products infused with it. The newest and buzziest honey variety to hit the market? Manuka. A honey that can make your beauty products exponentially more badass. To get the scoop on all things manuka, we chatted with Dr. Vipul Dev, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who regularly incorporates manuka into his patient’s treatment regimens. According to Dr. Dev, the key difference between manuka honey and the standard honey you’d buy in the grocery store is methylglyoxyl, a chemical compound found in manuka. This compound (known commonly as MGO), is credited with manuka’s healing properties, which can be used to treat everything from burns to wounds.
Manuka is natively found in New Zealand where the manuka flower grows, and it can be easily added into your beauty routine. You can mix it into an existing face scrub, apply it directly to a breakout, or even eat it to nourish your skin from the inside out. Ready to add it to your routine? Make sure you’re using products like FirstHoney, where manuka is one of the first (if not the first) ingredients and that it’s not mixed with other honeys. The most effective manuka products will have high levels of MGO, and while they will likely be pricier, it’s worth it.
We’ve rounded up our favorite manuka products ahead — from a manuka-only ointment you can use for everything to a lip plumping gloss that will give you an extra luscious pout.