In the Asian spa tradition, tea and relaxation go hand in hand. But many of those wonderful teas known for their ability to calm the mind and relax the body are also extremely beneficial when applied topically. After enjoying a cup, I like to reuse the bags and loose tea leaves in homemade skincare recipes. I make face toner, masks, tincture, and infused oils with something that most people throw away. I love the idea of using something that would normally go to waste to make something fresh and new. Here are some of my favourites:
Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita)
Chamomile has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin while preventing pigmentation. It is commonly found in sunscreen products because it is known to prevent skin irritation. Some studies even claim that chamomile tea contains SPF 15. In Europe, chamomile tea is used to treat skin problems. Chamomile is used to soften and soothe the skin in many soaps, creams and lotions.
Liquorice is a traditional herbal remedy in East Asia. The root extract is valued for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, depigmenting, and skin-lightening properties. Liquorice is commonly applied once or twice a day for 3–4 weeks before sun exposure to help with hyperpigmentation and reduce sun damage. Licochalcone A, which is extracted from liquorice root, is the component know to ward off UV damage.
Pu’reh is a tea grown mostly in China that is known for its antioxidant properties. These anti-oxidants prevent free radicals, therefore making it an anti-aging component of your natural skincare. Aside from anti-aging, Pu’erh contains caffeine and has an antioxidant property which invigorates the central nervous system and muscles.
The leaves, which are full of tannins, can be used as an astringent when made into a tincture. Raspberry is also beneficial for treating infection when bathing wounds. The leaves can also be made into a soothing eyewash.
Also known as Hibiscus, this beautiful shrub is native to Southeast. In Europe, the roselle flower has been used to boost blood circulation. In the United States, the flower’s calyces are dried and used in herbal tea recipes. It has also been used topically to enhance skin health.
It is the minimally processed buds and leaves of green tea. Some research shows that white tea has the highest concentration of antioxidant properties of any tea. These antioxidants make white tea an excellent choice for homemade anti-aging skincare. White tea also strengthens the skin’s immune system by preventing damage due to oxidation stress.