Recent research shows that green tea extract is naturally rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radicals – naturally occurring particles in the body associated with accelerated ageing and an increased risk of major diseases. Exposure to pollution, smoking and excess sunlight increases the number of free radicals in the blood, but the potent antioxidants found in green tea add strong weight to the belief that green tea not only promotes good health but also makes you look younger.
Traditionally, many types of make-up, lotions, creams and beauty preparations have used chemical antioxidants, or vitamins A, C and E as preservatives for their products. Now, with research indicating that green tea has even more antioxidant properties than these powerful vitamins, there is a surge in products capitalising on its natural benefits.
You don’t need to rush to the chemist to stock up on goodies. Concentrated green tea extract is simple to make at home and is a flexible addition to both your daily beauty routine and your medicine cabinet.
Simply steep 100g of green tea in half a litre of still mineral water at room temperature for at least one hour. Strain the liquor and it’s ready to use! It’s better to make small quantities and use it fresh but surplus liquid can be poured into clean, sterilised bottles and refrigerated.
The liquid can be used as a spritzer, to freshen up the face, or cotton pads soaked in it can be particularly soothing for tired or strained eyes. It has antiseptic properties, so can be used to treat minor cuts and rashes, and is surprisingly effective when applied to spots and blemishes. It can even be used as a treatment for sunburn – soak a cloth in the liquid and leave on the skin until the area begins to cool.
Green tea eyes compress
Green tea contains vitamin K, which is a proven ingredient in the battle against dark circles and puffy eyes. Chill a cup of green tea in the refrigerator. Dip 2 cotton balls in the cool tea and place them on your closed eyelids. Sit back and relax for 10-15 minutes. As an alternative, you can swap the cotton balls for chilled, used tea bags.
Green tea is also known for its ability to prevent bad breath – and it has the added advantage of tasting good if it’s inadvertently swallowed. Try making your own toothpaste to test it out.
Pour one cup of boiling water over 100g of Green Tea and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Make a paste using this liquid and one teaspoon of baking soda, and use this to brush your teeth as usual. The natural properties in the tea will curb mouth odour and help prevent plaque-forming microbes from attaching to the teeth.
This gentle facemask will help remove toxins from your skin, as well as leaving it silky smooth. Mix three tablespoons of mayonnaise with one heaped teaspoon of organic green tea leaves. Apply evenly to the face, avoiding the delicate eye area, and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse the mask off, then dry and moisturise your face.
Green tea facial scrub
The slightly abrasive texture of dry green tea leaves acts as a great exfoliator to banish dead skin cells and purge pollutants. Mix 1 tablespoon of dry ground green tea leaves with enough honey to make a thick paste. Apply this paste all over your face and leave it on the skin for 10-15 minutes. Then rub it off in circular motions with your fingertips, rinsing away the excess with warm water. It will remove dirt and impurities from your pores.
Strengthening hair rinse
Protects hair from pollution and harsh products, while making it strong and shiny. Not only does green tea help ailments such as dandruff and psoriasis by reducing inflammation, it also stimulates hair growth and softens the strands. This happens due to high levels of panthenol, vitamin E and vitamin C, which are all well established hair conditioners. Steep 3-4 green tea bags in 1 liter of boiling water for about an hour. Let it cool and use the liquid as a final rinse after you’ve shampooed and conditioned.
Toss in five tea bags while filling the bathtub with warm water (don’t use hot water. It strips the skin of moisture). The bath is ready when the water is tinted a greenish hue. The vitamins and minerals released into the water nourish and moisturize the skin, fight aging, and increase elasticity. A tea bath can also soothe sunburns, razor burns, nicks, and cuts.
British supermodel Sophie Dahl’s attributed her weight loss, in part, to drinking regular cups of green tea. Sophie followed Body Doctor David Marshall’s nutritional advice, which advocates drinking as much toxin-flushing green tea as possible.
Claims that it raises the metabolic rate and speeds up fat oxidation are supported by research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Dulloo A, et al 1999). It is also thought to reduce cholesterol levels and increase energy expenditure by inhibiting the digestion of fat in the intestine.
So next time you fancy a cuppa, consider going green. Not only will it provide you with a refreshing drink, it may also boost your health, help slow ageing and even make you slimmer!