Raw honey can do so much more than just sweeten your breakfast. For thousands of years, people have been finding new, ingenious ways to use honey, and it wasn’t long before they realized that honey could protect skin and provide a youthful glow.

Dealing with dry skin, acne, breakouts, oily skin and the like is always a hassle. And more often than not, the products made to treat them take it a step too far, drying out your skin by removing its protective sebum: the oil naturally produced by your sebaceous glands. Plus, one trip down the beauty aisle and it’s clear: these products aren’t cheap. A pure, all-natural, homemade skincare routine can actually save you money.

Raw honey, meanwhile, is just acidic enough to cleanse your skin, with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are a natural fit for faces of all kinds. Sticky yet gentle, raw honey grabs the dirt right off your skin without soaking up all of its natural oils. And perhaps the best news of all, you just need a bit – less than a teaspoon – for a face wash or face mask, leaving plenty left over for all your sweet snacks.

Honey has a few features that make raw and unfiltered local honey an ideal skin cleanser:

  • It’s antibacterial. Honey has been used medicinally for millenia, and we’ve written previously about its effectiveness for treating wounds, due to the trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide in every drop. Honey can also heal acne and also prevent it from ever occurring.
  • It’s a preservative. Honey’s low pH, generally between 3 and 4.5, is too harsh for bacteria to grow in. No bacteria means there’s nothing to cause decomposition. It’s the real deal, and it keeps your skin really smooth, too. In the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, one study concludes that honey “keeps the skin juvenile” and slows “wrinkle formation.”
  • It regulates your skin’s pH. Your skin has what’s known as an “acid mantle,” formed when sebum mixes with sweat. This protective layer prevents viruses, bacteria and other contaminants from entering your skin. While most alkaline soaps dissolve this layer, honey doesn’t.
  • It’s hydrating. Because honey is a supersaturated solution – bees essentially dissolve sugar in water at over 90 ̊ F and then cool it into the viscous goo – it grabs moisture from the air and hydrates dry skin, even with rosacea and eczema.

Here are a few steps to help you get started washing your face with honey:

  1. Use raw, unfiltered, unheated and 100% pure honey.
  2. Remove your makeup first. There are all-natural ways to remove makeup too, like with sweet almond or jojoba oil.
  3. Wet your hands thoroughly.
  4. Scoop out about ½ teaspoon of honey and warm it up on your fingertips, then add plenty of water to help spread it around.
  5. Cover your whole face in honey. Ideally, leave it on your face for at least 10 minutes.
  6. Wash away thoroughly with warm water and pat dry so you don’t stay sticky.