Tea—green, black, white, and red—is making its way from the cup into beauty products. Rich in antioxidants with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, green tea is the most popular tea in skincare, but interest in other varieties is brewing.
Time to Talk Teas
Green, black, and white teas come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. What makes them different is the processing of the leaves. Fresh-plucked green tea leaves are withered and steamed, not fermented. Black tea leaves are crushed and fermented, and according to recent studies, black tea has a similar amount of polyphenol antioxidants as green tea. Because white tea is the least processed of all varieties, it has the most antioxidants. It is made from leaves and buds that are plucked the day before they open, and then sun-dried.
Rooibos is a red herbal tea from the shrub Aspalathus linearis, usually grown on the western coast of South Africa. It turns red during fermentation and is not related to “true” tea. Rooibos means “red bush” in Afrikaans and references the deep crimson hue of rooibos tea.
Did You Know?
Rooibos isn’t technically tea, but a brew made from the South African Aspalathus linearis plant. True tea comes only from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Beauty Benefits by Brew
Green tea is loaded with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and other polyphenol antioxidants that shield the skin from sun damage, wrinkles, and signs of aging. Green tea polyphenols also protect against skin cancer, both when sipped and applied topically. Although anyone can benefit from this ingredient, it’s especially ideal for sensitive skin exposed to pollutants.
While matcha is technically a green tea, it’s a more potent version. Matcha works similarly to green tea to help reduce redness, soothe the skin, and protect the skin from UV rays and pollutants. It’s ideal for normal skin.
Black tea has been used in skincare formulas since China’s Ming Dynasty. Black tea’s tannins are antioxidants that can shield the skin from environmental damage, fight bacteria, hydrate, and nourish. It’s also very high in caffeine, which plumps, de-puffs, and firms skin. Its ability to absorb excess sebum makes it effective for oily skin.
Since white tea is not processed, it has a higher polyphenol content than green and black tea. White tea is antibacterial and helps prevent dullness, spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin caused by toxins and free radicals. Its antioxidants benefit all skin types.
Rooibos has wrinkle-fighting powers. It contains the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is responsible for disarming the most dangerous free radicals, increasing cell turnover, and slowing down the development of wrinkles. Rooibos is recommended for dry skin or premature aging.
Tea-Infused Beauty Finds
Alaffia Baobab Rooibos The Dry Skin Day Cream
Protect and improve your skin’s texture with this silky crème, designed for extra dry skin types. It neutralizes free radicals and promotes a healthy, smooth complexion. The star ingredients are rooibos, cactus, and holy basil, which help hydrate, fortify, and balance skin.
Live Clean White Tea & Cherry Foaming Hand Wash
Pamper your hands while you later with this luxurious hand soap. White tea defends skin and supports its natural renewal cycle. Vitamin E, aloe vera, chamomile, and cherry extract leave hands clean, moisturized, and soft. The creamy lather rinses easily, leaving the scent of white tea and cherries.
Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea Sunscreen SPF 45
Green tea, aloe vera, and palm kernel oil absorb quickly and effectively to hydrate sun-exposed skin. Coral reef-safe ingredients provide broad-spectrum protection that is water-resistant for 80 minutes. The lotion absorbs quickly and is ideal for daily wear.
Mad Hippie Advanced Skin Care 2 Minute Polishing Mask
Scrub and purify your skin with this revitalizing mask. Organic matcha tea, adzuki bean powder, organic rice bran, and organic oat flower gently buff and smooth skin. Detoxing green and white clays pull out impurities, leaving skin soft and glowing.
Reviva Labs Antioxidant Skin Smoothing Advanced Day Créme
Defend your skin against free-radical damage with this anti-aging créme. Black and green teas, vitamins C and E, and alpha-lipoic acid help diminish fine lines and wrinkles while defending against future damage. Borage, rosehip, flaxseed, and lavender oils soften normal to dry skin.