Tea, Vicar? Why spa brands are brewing this beauty elixir
Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been using tea in health and beauty treatments for millennia. Now modern brands, including Thémaé and Camellia’s Tea House, have discovered the wonders of tea for skincare. What is it about our favourite beverage that is so good for us?
Tea is loaded with antioxidants and has antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties. The tannins in tea can help reduce puffiness; try resting warm – not hot! – teabags on your eyes instead of cucumber. Soak your feet in a tea bath for 20 minutes for a thorough cleanse, and to reduce tiredness and swelling.
Polyphenols are “the intelligent part of tea” – powerful antioxidants that help combat the ageing process caused by free radicals. They are produced by the tea plant as part of its complex defence strategies to fight its own biological enemies.
There are plenty of companies using tea in their ingredients, but we were interested to check out a French brand that makes tea their USP.
Thémaé has developed a Complexe de 4 Thés® (4 Tea Complex) which is obtained from a mix of green, black, white and blue tea, the synergy producing intense antioxidant effects.
Green Tea is produced in Asian countries using a method that prevents natural oxidation shortly after picking, in vats or with steam.
Black Tea has a longer fermentation process.
White Tea has no fermentation process and with Green Tea has the highest concentration of catechins (flavonoids that protect skin from environmental toxins and have powerful antioxidant effects).
Blue Tea aka Oolong, semi-oxidized with less tannins and caffeine.
They say: Gives skin better elasticity, smooths wrinkles, offers comfort and radiance.
We say: We like the chic French pharmacy design. It comes in a neat pump action bottle: lift the lid and the scent is floral (it contains parfum: a bit disappointing that it didn’t smell tea-like). The cream is pearly (it contains pearl particles) and the pump delivers the perfect amount. On the skin, it feels instantly refreshing – comfort, radiance, smoothing wrinkles, tick, tick and tick.
They say: Boosts hyaluronic acid in your cells for plumped and hydrated skin, smooths lines, brings radiance.
We say: The cream is buttery and feels beautifully cool and luxurious on the skin. Our skin reacted with the same aaah you get after drinking your morning brew. A plump and glowing complexion is almost instant and porcelain smoothness remains. It also seemed super hydrating – that’s the squalene, apparently.
They say: A detox face mask that promotes oxygenation, protects from environmental damage and reduces irregularities thanks to white clay and moringa extract. It is good for all skin types, great after parties (and pre-zoom calls) to reduce redness, tiredness and produce radiance. It can also be applied locally to spots or redness.
We say: The mask (below) is a white clay that comes in a neat jar. Apply a golf ball size to your face, it smooths on evenly for a Pierrot effect. Leave for ten minutes – it already feels cooling and refreshing – then rinse. The texture of the mask remains creamy and doesn’t harden, so it’s easy to remove. The only downside was having to take it off, it felt so good! Our skin felt like we’d had a spa facial.
Beauty on the inside
Thémaé treatment ceremonies at their spa in Paris promote beauty from inside and out with In and Out Tea Therapy – you can purchase their tea here.
Drinking tea has so many health benefits, depending on the kind of tea you choose: your basic cuppa can reduce inflammation and helps prevent water retention. While not a replacement for fruit and veg, drinking four cups of tea a day has the same antioxidant potency at eating six apples. The most common vitamins and minerals in tea are vitamin C,B,E, calcium, zinc and potassium.
We have also been exploring teas at Camellia’s Tea House which has an online store as well as a tea sommelier courses. There are wellness herbal health infusions, black, green, white, oolong teas, fruit infusions, flowering teas, handmade fusion and wellness teas, and pyramid pouches, tea jams – plus tea infusers, pots and storage jars.
We tried Beautiful Skin Tea (from £5.95) which comes in a bag that looks and smells like dried meadow flowers, and contains camomile, elderflower, chickweed, red clover, nettle and dandelion. We stewed a spoonful in an infuser for five minutes and watched as the water turned sunshine yellow, inhaling the delicious fresh fragrance, meanwhile applying our Thémaé tea-infused face mask (see above). The combination or refreshing elderflower and soothing camomile were dominant flavours: the flavour was far stronger, more vibrant and fresher than tea bags with each note more discernible. We also enjoyed their delicious concoctions designed to help sleep and relieve stress, both much needed in these difficult times.
Verdict: It seems crazy that we don’t pay more attention to this ubiquitous wellness drink and ingredient that feels and tastes so pleasurable and has powerful antioxidant properties. Tea is definitely the new smoothie. Get pouring, people.
*Main photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash, Tea in bed by Carli Jeen on Unsplash