One of history’s best kept skincare secrets is the beautifying effects of natural honey. From ancient Egypt and Greece to Tudor England, honey has been used in skincare throughout the ages by some of history’s most renowned women - in its raw state and as an ingredient in cosmetics - to slow the signs of ageing and keep skin looking clear, nourished and youthful.
As far back as the ancient Egyptian era, the skin-enhancing properties of honey had been well documented and utilised. Cleopatra ruled Egypt with an iron fist and is renowned for being one of the beautiful women in history. The infamous Egyptian Pharaoh regularly bathed in honey and milk, which helped to maintain her legendary smooth and youthful looking skin.
Helen of Troy
According to Greek mythology, Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus and Leda; she was the most beautiful woman in the world. As a lighter complexion was seen as extremely desirable in ancient Greece, women often wore very little makeup and used honey and olive oil as ingredients in their cosmetics to keep their faces looking radiant and youthful.
At the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Qin Liangyu's father began teaching his children martial arts, military strategy and Chinese classical literature to prepare them for the chaos that he sensed would be coming soon. Qin Llangyu’s father said "It is a pity that you are a girl, or you would be given a royal title someday for your military contributions."
Little did her father realize that his daughter would someday become the only woman General to be listed in the official history of a Chinese dynasty. For decades, Qin led her army and was given the royal title of 'loyal marquis' for her contributions.
It was during this period in Chinese history that women in the Emperor’s Court regularly used a blend of honey and ground orange seeds to keep their skin fresh and blemish-free.
Queen Elizabeth was the icon of beauty and style for women in Elizabethan England. English women went to great lengths to emulate their monarch’s signature pale, porcelain complexion. Such heavy and often poisonous make-up caused serious skin damage. There were many remedies for spots, blemishes, acne and freckles in this era - some were effective, including the application of honey, lemon-juice and rosewater. Other ‘remedies’ were a little more dubious, and often dangerous, including concoctions of mercury and eggshells.
Manuka Honey promotes skin regeneration, repairs cellular damage and lessens scarring. When applied to your skin, manuka will absorb and hold in moisture from the air for a dewy, glowing complexion.
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