Global beauty industry embraces tea’s rejuvenating power
“We’ve benefited from rising awareness about the detoxing power of puer tea and the virtues of drinking this unique tea.”
A few years ago, “polyphenols” and “flavonoids” weren’t considered sexy beauty product ingredients. Now, thanks largely to the use of multiple kinds of tea as a core ingredient, savvy consumers have learned their benefits for skin and hair care.
Australian line Edible Beauty is truly on-trend. “Consumers’ awareness of tea as a beauty ingredient is definitely increasing,” said Edible Beauty Founder Anna Mitsios. “[They] are seeking affordable, safe ways to enhance their personal wellness and self-care regimens.” And here comes that “poly” word again: “Polyphenols, in particular those found in green tea and white tea…have been reported to possess antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory activities; modulate detoxification enzymes; stimulate immune function and decrease platelet aggregation,” she said.
In beauty parlance, this means: These products make your skin and hair healthier and look better. Edible Beauty uses a variety of tea types, including organic green, white and puer, in its popular skincare line. “[The use of tea as an ingredient provides] therapeutic effects designed to be metabolically stimulating, immune-enhancing, energy lifting, detoxifying, skin healing, and anti-aging,” said Mitsios.
White tea takes the spotlight
“White tea is a potent antioxidant that protects against free radical damage.”
One example from the Edible Beauty line is its “Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum,” which features white tea. “White tea is a potent antioxidant that protects against free radical damage,” said Mitsios. “It’s rich in polyphenols, and it supports healthy tissue by reducing inflammation and promoting optimum hydration and repair. Researchers also believe that the antioxidants in white tea reduce oxidative stress associated with sun damage.”
Estee Lauder subdivision Origins, founded by Lauder’s son Leonard Lauder in 1990, has featured white tea products from its inception and continues to add to its line. A bestseller is “A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defiance Moisturizer with White Tea,” which is often paired with the Perfect World “Antioxidant Cleanser with White Tea.”
The trend to white tea beauty products has reached lower-cost lines as well, including Kiss My Face, which scored a hit with its Balancing Antioxidant Toner. The vegan, cruelty-free line is available everywhere, and its affordability gives access to the benefits of tea-based products to a wider consumer base.
It’s beautiful being green
“Green tea contains an abundance of potent antioxidants called catechin polyphenols and in particular epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which help to slow aging, fight free radicals, inhibits the growth of cancer cells,” Edible Beauty’s Mitsios said. “The antioxidants have been shown to reduce DNA damage from UV exposure and are
photoprotective, which means they protect the skin from the damages caused by light, whether natural or artificial. The EGCG in green tea has even been found to be helpful in treating acne and pimples due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. It can reduce the redness, swelling, and pain caused by breakouts.”
“Green tea, also known as unoxidized tea, is made solely from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are plucked, slightly withered, then immediately cooked to preserve the green quality and prevent oxidation. As a result of these methods, green teas have a much higher concentration of chlorophyll, polyphenols, and antioxidants than other tea types,” says Matt Malek, director of research and development for 21st Century Research Laboratories.
There’s no doubt that green tea is the tea choice most widely used in beauty products and can be seen as an important component in multiple lines, from luxury to easily affordable. Examples include ILIA’s “Vivid Concealer” line ($30), which uses green tea extract, Mario Badescu’s “Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea,” ($12), and cruelty-free online retailer artnaturals’ “Face & Neck Cream,” ($13), also using green tea extract to firm and tone.
Make mine matcha
Swedish-born natural beauty expert Lina Hanson is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after makeup artists, having worked with celebrities including Naomi Watts, Natalie Portman, Brooke Shields, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Mandy Moore, Javier Bardem, Orlando Bloom, and Ewan McGregor. Author of the book Eco-Beautiful – The Ultimate Guide to Natural Beauty & Wellness, Hanson is a firm believer that beautiful skin means less covering up with make-up is needed. Her “Global Treasures” includes several products that use matcha tea as a key ingredient, including her “Eye /Neck + Treatment Balm,” targeting skin elasticity and rejuvenation.
As company materials state: “Matcha green tea has been used by Japanese and Korean women for centuries, due to its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory benefits. It stimulates and rejuvenates skin cells, and helps protect your skin against free-radical sun damage. It soothes sunburns and puffy eyes while battling against dark circles.”
Matcha is also making its mark in hair care products because of its scalp-reviving properties. One outstanding example is Briogeo’s “Be Gentle, Be Kind Matcha + Apple Replenishing Superfood Shampoo,” which really does sound good enough to eat.
Back in black
Ready for some more new “good for you” words? Black tea contains “theaflavins” and “thearubigins.” Seriously, it does. Like polyphenols, these are also antioxidants, and, in skincare, can provide many of the same anti-aging benefits.
The high-end Fresh skincare line, based in Boston, has been a proponent of both black tea, and sweet fermented black tea (kombucha) for years. The line now offers 10 black tea-based skin care items, including “Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence,” and “Black Tea Age-Defying Firming Serum.”
Fresh founders Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg state on their website: “We first turned to black tea because of its high levels of antioxidants. But our true obsession began when we started researching kombucha, a fermented sweet black tea often referred to as an ‘Immortal Health Elixir.’ Inspired by kombucha, Fresh created a powerful complex that delivers the best of what the black tea tradition has to offer.”
Indonesia-inspired Juara has been generating positive beauty magazine ink for its “Sweet Black Tea & Rice Facial Moisturizer.” Founded by four young women from varied backgrounds, including Indonesia, the cruelty-free company took its inspiration from Indonesia’s Jamu healing traditions, which include prevention, balance, and self-care. The 1,000-year practice has always used plants, including tea, to treat skin and hair, as well as other health issues. The Juara line features multiple products using both black tea and kombucha as star components.
See: The Beauty in Tea