by | May 25, 2021 | For Mom, Z

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2021 @ 1:33 pm.

What's the best Manuka honey cream for your skin or face? And what is Manuka honey anyway? Join us as we take a deep dive into the world of this funky New Zealand honey. We tried out a half dozen skin creams with Manuka honey to find the best bets. Here are the ones we recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


Best Manuka Honey Cream: Tips & Advice

Yes, there is an ongoing Manuka honey craze, with folks using it for all sorts of things, from culinary treats to beauty to skin care.

But what exactly is manuka honey? And why is it so pricey?

Manuka honey is made from bees who pollinate a specific tree (yes, it is called the Manuka tree) only found in New Zealand and Australia. The honey is very thick, with a distinct, fragrant flavor and aroma.

Here’s what Manuka honey looks like before it is turned into skin cream:

Best Manuka Honey Cream manuka honey up close

Due to its popularity and relatively small supply (Manuka trees only flower for two to six weeks a year), Manuka honey sells at a premium.

When shopping for Manuka honey products, there are two acronyms to consider: MGO and UMF.

Like all honey, Manuka honey has antibacterial properties. Without getting too deep into the weeds of honey chemistry, one measure of this honey’s antibiotic concentrations is called MGO (methylglyoxal). Manuka honey ranges from 10 MGO (for culinary use) to 800 MGO, which some folks use for skin care and other purposes.

What is UMF? The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) is a lab-tested rating system New Zealand manufacturers use certify the potency of Manuka honey. Low grade honey has a UMF of 5 to 9. Medium grade is 10 to 15, while superior is 16+. (FYI: UMF is the brainchild of a marketing association of Manuka honey makers in New Zealand who sought a way to consistently grade honey).

You’ll note that some of creams in this article specifically note the UMF factor (example: 12+). We prefer face creams that specify the UMF or MGO ratings. 

FYI: Australia also produces Manuka honey—and there is debate among manuka honey enthusiasts as to which is better. All of the face creams in this article use Manuka honey sourced in New Zealand.

We sampled several Manuka honey creams to see which ones were the best at moisturizing. We also judged the creams on their scent and overall weight (lighter, the better!).

Here are the ones we think are best:

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Best Scent-Free

Made in the USA
Loved this lightweight cream that is a great moisturizer—and not greasy. Absorbs into the skin well. No GMO's. Allergy alert: contains lavender and other flower oils.
$29.95 ($14.98 / Ounce)

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Best Budget-Friendly

Great as a face cream
This cream absorbs nicely and has a creamy, rich texture. Excellent gift idea. Sulfate-and paraben-free. While this version is scent-free, other versions are scented (jasmine vanilla is a stand out).
$19.09 ($4.77 / Ounce)

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Best For Dry Skin

30% Manuka honey
A little goes a long way with this honey cream—we found it soothing, and a great moisturizer. Has UMF 12+ New Zealand monofloral Manuka honey. Caveat: not everyone is a fan of the scent.
$10.19 ($5.82 / Ounce)

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Best For Feet/Elbows

Nice moisturizer
Great for dry skin (especially on the feet or joints), this cream has no parabens, mineral oil or fragrance. Pricey but a little goes a long way. A few dissenters think it is too thick.
$24.95 ($6.24 / Ounce)

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Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money. 

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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