What Is It?

Honey is a viscous liquid derived from the nectar of flowers and secreted by honey bees.

In cosmetics and personal care products, honey is used in the formulation of a wide range of products including baby and bath products, eye and facial makeup, fragrances, coloring and noncoloring hair products, personal cleanliness products, and suntan and sunscreen products.

Honey is a food and it has long been used to sweeten and flavor other foods and beverages.

Why Is It Used?

Honey is added to cosmetics and personal care products as a humectant, a flavoring agent and as a skin conditioning agent.

Scientific Facts

Honey is a naturally occurring sweetener that is produced by bees of the genus Apis. Honey is a mixture of glucose, fructose, sucrose and other naturally occurring sugars. It generally has a moisture content of 14-18%.

Safety Information

Honey has long been consumed in foods and as an ingredient of food and beverages. The primary sugars of honey are also found as components of food and are considered to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In addition to water and naturally occurring sugars, Honey contains varying levels of Beeswax. The safety of Beeswax and other waxes has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.

The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data concluded that Beeswax, Candelilla Wax, Carnauba Wax, and Japan Wax were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. In 2003, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on Beeswax and plant waxes and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review: Honey has not been specifcially reviewed by the CIR Expert Panel. However, the CIR Expert Panel has reviewed the safety of Beeswax, a material found in Honey at various levels.

More information about the Beeswax review by CIR can be found under Beeswax.

Honey may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

In Europe, Honey may be called Mel.


More Scientific Information

Honey does not spoil because of its’ high sugar content. Honey typically consists of 38% fructose, 31% glucose and 1% sucrose. It has a density of approximately 50% greater than water. The antibacterial properties of Honey are attributed to an osmotic effect, the presence of hydrogen peroxide in Honey, and acidic pH.

Honey has been used for dressing wounds, skin ulcers, burns and skin ulcers. Infants should not be given Honey to eat because it frequently contains dormant endospores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

In the immature intestinal tract of infants, these endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria resulting in illness.