Wanting to create a facial mask the consistency of thick honey (need help)

What would I need to do ?
im making a honey mask but it’s too thin .
i want it to be thick enough to not drip off of my face. What do I need to add to it ?
I’ve  tried beeswax and emulsifying wax and it didn’t help 


  • honey is only  water and sugars ,what can it doing to your face?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    To get the most useful help you'll have to list all the ingredients in your formula.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Buy thicker honey :smiley:
  • Honey "liquifies" and becomes very runny when you put it on your skin (even set honey @Pharma! Honey needs to be added to a vehicle before applying to the skin. Historically, cerates were used. Ask me about Thomas Marigold.

    My recommendation is to formulate a mask and add honey to the preparation. 

    @smok, honey is so much more than sugar and water. Honey is an emollient, antibiotic and that has healing properties that are poorly understood.

    Additionally, each honey variety adds different qualities to cosmetics- colour, aroma and even anti-oxidants. Indeed, the antioxidant level in honey correlates with colour. The darker the honey the more the antioxidants. 
    See the source image
  • @Ktlo as @Pharma mentioned, you can get a thicker honey so it doesn't drip at the start. You can even increase honey's viscosity by adding glucose or sucrose (common sugar), to make the solution more "concentrated".

    I used to formulate wound dressings for a biotech group, and I remember that the antimicrobial properties of honey on wound healing were due to its ability to greatly reduce water activity. Nevertheless, since glucose, fructore, sucrose, etc., have low water permeation when they are applied to the skin (they are very water soluble and the lipid layer of the SC is, wel...lipidish), honey would not actually be a good humectant but quite the opposite (and that's why it works for wound healing). Glycerin on the other hand has a different partition coefficient and holds less water, so it can permeate better. 
  • Dr_SaraDr_Sara Member
    edited September 2020
    @Ktlo Even a set honey (Rapeseed) or a thixotropic honey (Heather) will drip with body heat. It might be solid in the jar but it will not be on your face. 

    I met someone who used neat honey on their face daily and she had beautiful skin. I personally cannot get beyond the drippy stickiness. You can still yield the benefits of honey at lower concentrations. 

    @ketchito interesting that you worked on honey wound dressings. I imagine you used manuka honey. 

    All honey has antibiotic activity for a number of reasons. And studies have shown the variety of honey used is not important to wound healing. 

    Honey is a very strange thing. As @ketchito mentioned, it does not make sense that honey is a humectant but it is.  :)
    I am currently formulating honey masks for an apiary. You do not need to have mostly honey in your mask for the mask to be good. Think of honey as an active ingredient. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Dr_Sara - What evidence convinces you that honey is an antibiotic?

    I know that microbes don't grow on honey but I was always under the impression that that was because of a low water activity of the substance. Is there evidence that if you put say 1 - 5% honey in a water solution that it will kill bacteria or microbes?

  • @Perry Honey is only antibiotic at 35% plus. There are a number of mechanisms: low pH, osmolarity, hydrogen peroxide generation and in manuka methylglyoxal add a non-peroxide mediated antibacterial activity.

    If you use a lower concentration of honey in cosmetics, you are not adding it for its antibacterial activity. More for the humectant, moisturizing and emollient properties.

    It is unclear what concentration is needed for wound healing but many studies use around 40% in a cerate type preparation. 

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Dr_Sara said:
    ...a set honey (Rapeseed) or a thixotropic honey (Heather) will drip with body heat. It might be solid in the jar but it will not be on your face. 
    Thanks for the corrections. I didn't thought it through cause I never used honey on my face... Apropos, rapeseed honey might actually be best as cosmetic ingredient, it tastes awful :blush: .
    Never came across a thixotropic honey either... sounds cool!
  • @Pharma one of the reasons I love honey as an ingredient is because there are so many varieties of honey depending on what the bees forage on.

    Rapeseed is a unique tasting honey but not my first choice in cosmetics- it doesn't have much aroma and is low in antioxidants. One of my favourites is buckwheat honey. It has such a rustic smell and taste and to my knowledge has the highest antioxidant level measured in honey varieties. 

    Heather and ivy honey are British honeys that are thixotropic. 

    When you add honey to soap, you never know what colour you will get because it depends on the sugars present in the honey and the Maillard reaction. Additionally, the exothermic nature of saponification leads to a delightful caramel smell. 
  • if we want to ask a scientific question
    it will be, is  sugars and water kills bacteria
    in a petri dish we have thousands of ways to kill bacteria, but it works on the human body

  • Dr_Sara said:
    @smok, honey is so much more than sugar and water. Honey is an emollient, antibiotic and that has healing properties that are poorly understood.

    honey is used on human body.

    honey is poorly understood now but in the future we may get to understand more and have a scientific answer.

    @Ktlo - mix in some clay and you get a lovely paste. 
  • @Pattsi Thanks for providing the references. I have been away for the filming of my National Honey Show Demonstration.

    Also, for any of you who eat or use manuka honey in some way, Peter Molan is the scientist that discovered the secondary anti-bacterial effect of honey. 

    If you eat manuka honey, it is because of the work Peter Molan did.

    Another scientist looking at honey is Rose Cooper in Wales. https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/health/staff/Pages/Prof Rose Cooper.aspx  

  • Honey also has natural PHAs for very mild exfoliation. The ancient Egyptians also used honey as a topical antibiotic. 
    Is this formula using honey as its base though? There are many thickeners you can try. I have a formula for a mask that uses ExpertGel EG412 - a thermo gelling polymer. You have to swell it in water first, then you can add your other ingredients. Basically it becomes a gel when it touches the warmth of your skin. You can PM me if you want the formula
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