Green tea is not just for drinking. It's a highly prized skincare ingredient, too. Abundant in antioxidants, those hero molecules that fight skin-damaging free radicals, it's a popular addition to antiaging creams, serums and lotions (usually as green tea extract), and the science says it can improve skin elasticity, boost moisture levels and defend against harmful UV rays.1
Topical green tea also appears to help with oily skin and acne,2 possibly because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
If you want to try green tea skincare for yourself, look for "Camellia sinensis" on the label. But watch out for artificial nasties like parabens and "fragrance." To save you the detective work, here are five of our favorite green tea-containing skincare products—all made with 100 percent natural ingredients.
PHB Ethical Beauty
Superfood 2-in-1 Face & Eye Brightening Serum $45.05 (1 fl oz/ 30 mL)
This concentrated serum—designed to help plump, firm and brighten the skin and protect it from environmental stresses—packs in a generous dose of green tea extract along with a host of other antioxidant-rich ingredients, including vitamin C, licorice extract and turmeric root oil. It's also super hydrating thanks to hyaluronic acid and oils of pomegranate, avocado, safflower and rosehip, and is 100 percent vegan.
The Konjac Sponge Company
Konjac Facial Sponge with Green Tea, $12
Made out of a vegetable fiber from the root of the Amorphophallus konjac plant, konjac sponges are a natural, gentle way to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. This one has added green tea extract to purify and rejuvenate—you simply moisten the sponge with water, then massage over the face. The sponge is free of dyes and any other additional ingredients and comes in plastic-free packaging.
Matcha Antioxidant Face Mask, $24 (2 fl oz/ 60 mL)
There are just three ingredients in this pore-refining face mask, and they all pack a punch. There's kaolin white clay to draw impurities from the skin, organic chamomile oil to soothe it and organic fair trade matcha (powdered green) tea, which is extra high in antioxidants. Mix a teaspoon of the face mask powder with a few drops of water to make a paste and apply to the skin; rinse once it's dry.
Mint + Green Tea Hydra-Purifying Treatment Mist, $42 (1.69 fl oz/50 mL)
www.odacite.com; tel: 800-809-8714
Ideal for oily and acne-prone skin, this facial mist includes organic green tea extract for its antioxidant and oil-controlling properties, plus pimple-fighting willow bark extract, refreshing peppermint oil and soothing aloe vera juice. Spritz on the face before applying serum or moisturizer and throughout the day as needed. It can even be used over makeup.
Green Tea Lip Balm, $4 (0.15 oz/4.3 g)
www.hurrawbalm.com; tel: 406-730-2571
This moisturizing, sweet-smelling lip balm contains green tea seed oil as well as ceremonial-grade matcha tea for a double dose of the green stuff. Oils of safflower, coconut, sweet almond, jojoba and olive are also in the 79 percent organic formula, making it incredibly high in beneficial fatty acids. Unlike many natural lip balms containing beeswax, this one is totally vegan; a wax from the candelilla plant is used instead.