For many reasons there's a blush creeping up my cheeks while writing this post. You see, a few months ago I decided I would share all the knowledge I had gathered during the time in my life when I was desperately searching for information on the various (and sometimes downright hazardous) effects of cosmetic ingredients and also supplement my own personal experiences on each subject.
My first, and so far only post, was about the effects of honey (and in some part that of chamomile) on our hair, skin and general health. After that, I was greatly distracted by other, seemingly more important, and let's face it, definitely more exciting matters such as the prospect of ordering more makeup from Everyday Minerals and then later with the Hungary Month Series.
A few days ago, however, a lady from the US sent me a lovely e-mail inquiring about when I am planning to continue above mentioned post because she was curious about the hair lightening properties of honey. I was ashamed of myself for abandoning this topic and the series for so long, even though when I started I felt it my duty to share all I know with my precious readers.
Therefore, I'm hereby giving you part two of my experiences with honey. Enjoy!
Important notice: caution should be excercised when using honey on your skin. Those of us who are allergic to pollens or those who experience allergic reactions after eating honey might find that their skin cannot tolerate it either and breaks out in hives and rashes!
In Part One, I told you about honey's many properties (and the scinece behind them), which were:
- hair and skin lightener (when it comes in contact with water a small amount of hydrogen-peroxide is produced)
- moisturizer (only in diluted form!)
My reader was especially curious about how honey affects our hair and that's exactly what I wanted to know last spring when I decided that lighter locks would suit me better during the summer. I started researching and found a great article in which someone wrote about her experiences with honey as a natural hair lightener. It was where I first read about the previously mentioned chemical reaction and could even view some very convincing pictures taken before and after the procedure. Now, after almost a year, I cannot find the site anymore, but here's the original recipe that I tried and used successfully several times.
- 1 part honey
- 2 parts conditioner
- some clingfilm to wrap your head in with
Mix your honey with the conditioner, apply the mixture onto your freshly washed (and still damp) hair and wrap it up into some kind of plastic which will NOT let your scalp and hair dry for a good while. Leave this mixture on for as long as you can: the lady who wrote the article accidentally left it on for 8 hours (and there was a definite change in the shade of her hair afterwards) but you are allowed to wash it off sooner and repeat the process later. Actually, one treatment will probably not be enough: I certainly needed more than one as the process described above will not miraculously turn your hair many shades lighter.
You shouldn't expect instant change though: the best you can hope for is perhaps a shade lighter hair after one treatment. I could best compare the result to when you first spend some time under the sun in the spring after months of confinement and in the afternoon (or evening) you look into the mirror and happily discover that your hair has become lighter and shinier. Minus the shiny part, of course, as this is still hydrogen-peroxide, just is smaller quantities and this is why you should take extra care to deep condition your hair afterwards. See my post on a particularly good home made olive oil conditioner.
After several applications, my hair did actually become lighter: when I met my best friend after many weeks of being away from each other she remarked at how my hair was much lighter than she had remembered. There is, however, a price to pay for everything in life and I too had to admit to myself that no matter how much I had tried to moisturize my hair it was still frizzier and coarser than before. All through spring I was sporting my several shades lighter hair and then I had it cut short (because I didn't want to suffer from my insane amount of hair in 42 °C degrees): the difference was noticeable to the touch.
So much about honey's hair lightening properties then. Other things you could use are:
- lemon (Put lemon juice on your hair for an hour or so and enhance its effects by sitting out into the sun.)
- the sun (Bathing your hair in the sun will lighten it, especially if you wash your hair before it and dry it like that. It will regain its natural shape and color which is why I can usually be found on the terrace of our summer cottage in the spring. :-)
- cinnamon (I haven't tried this method yet but it should be interesting, especially if you want to acquire a slight copper tint. I would advise you to add some honey to the mix just to be sure.)
Honey can also be used to lighten our complexion, especially when we wish to make freckles, age spots (a.k.a. liver spots or sun spots) or scars less noticeable. I would recommend using it in conjunction with lactic acid which is also a great weapon when battling above mentioned beauty enemies. Lactic acid can be bought in drugstores in its purest form or can be found in our kitchens in the form of milk, yoghurt, cream, sour cream and kefir. You can easily whip up a complexion lightening mask of any of these dairy products by adding honey and some thickening agent like flour or oat bran (another wonderful stuff for your skin). After several uses of this mask you should see freckles, spots and scars fading and your skin being moisturized and radiant.
Honey's disinfectant qualities are put to use by people all the time: because of the hydrogen-peroxide that forms when honey comes in contact with water, using honey to disinfect small cuts and wounds is the next best thing in cases when you don't have any proper disinfectant nearby. You just need to apply honey onto the cut in a thin layer without even adding water as the moisture content of your skin (or blood in worse cases) will be enough to start the chemical reaction.
If you have a sore throat, why not just drink a cup of tea with honey and lemon? That should get rid of the bacteria in your throat in no time which is why I'm assidiously drinking barrels of the stuff as I was struck down by some evil combination of the common cold and my usual allergy a few days ago.
It even occurred to me that you could use undiluted (!) honey as a dressing over particularly stubborn cases of acne. Its antibacterial qualities will help disinfect the area over the offending zit and because it's undiluted it will also dry the area like nobody's business and draw out the acne. (See Part One to find out why!)
Whew! That's about all I wanted to tell you I guess, and now it's your turn to call our attention to any methods or uses of honey I did not mention here. What do you use honey for? Let us know!