It's basically common knowledge at this point that green tea is good for your health. But you can experience the benefits of green tea even if you're not drinking it—if you're willing to put it on your face, that is. And who better to explain the skincare benefits of green tea than Marie Rayma, the founder of the DIY skincare and cosmetics blog Humblebee & Me. Part of what makes green tea so healthy is the fact that it's rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants are great for skin because they "tackle free radicals caused by UV exposure, helping reduce and even prevent damage," Rayma explained in an email. But that's not all. "Green tea is also anti-inflammatory, so it can help with redness in the complexion," she continued." Antibacterial catechins in green tea can help prevent acne, and the vitamin C & E content can help brighten your complexion and encourage healing."
The best news is that you don't need to go out and get a fancy version of green tea to make the most of these DIY projects. Whatever you have in your tea cupboard is totally fine. You can even use flavored green tea if you want to impart other skincare benefits. "I have a beautiful lemongrass green tea that I love in toners and face masks for the added citrusy scent," explained Rayma. "If you’re a matcha fan, it’s also wonderful in face masks; I love the vibrant green hue that it adds! I’d keep matcha for face masks rather than toners, though," she warned. "Leaving that much botanical matter in a toner makes it very difficult to safely preserve."
In her first book Make It Up: The Essential Guide to DIY Makeup and Skin Care, Rayma has a couple of DIY projects that highlight the brightening and cleansing power of green tea in skincare. So if you're looking for an easy—and all-natural—way to pamper yourself, take a page out of Rayma's book and try these two green tea-centric projects.
Green Tea Clay Mask
Rayma describes this clay face mask as a "pore vacuum that cleans your skin, stimulates circulation, boosts healing, and lightly exfoliates your face when you wash it off." And though you can make it with hot water, using green tea only boosts these benefits.
- Yields: 2 masks
Measure the water or green tea and honey out into a small bowl and whisk them together until the honey has dissolved.
Slowly sprinkle in the clay, a teaspoon at a time, whisking between additions with a tiny wire whisk or small fork. Adding the clay to the water instead of the other way around guarantees a lovely, smooth mask. The amount of clay you need to add will vary from clay to clay, so simply go slowly and see where you end up—you’ll get a feel for it over time.
Once you’ve added enough clay to have a thick, creamy paste, whisk in the essential oils (if you’re using any) and the carrier oil. Avoid the temptation to add extra oil, as too much will give you a face mask with the consistency of oily putty! It’ll have no interest in staying on your face and will slough off in greasy clods.
To use, spread the mask over all your face, avoiding your eyes, mouth, and nose. Be sure to cover any problem areas.
Let the mask dry for about 15 minutes before washing it off—it should feel tight and look mostly dry. I find starting by soaking a washcloth in warm water and holding it to your face for a few moments to hydrate the mask a bit helps with the washing off process. Or, you could simply do a mask before taking a shower.
Simple Green Tea Toner
"Toner is, generally speaking, an astringent liquid designed to gently clean the skin and reduce the appearance of pores," writes Rayma in Make It Up, and since green tea already helps to prevent acne, it's a super ingredient to pair with the witch hazel for maximum cleansing.
- Yields: 2 fluid ounces
Measure the green tea into a tea strainer and place it into a heat-resistant measuring cup. Cover the tea leaves with the hot water and let it steep for 5 minutes.
While the tea steeps, prepare a clean 2-ounce glass or plastic bottle with a sealing cap. Measure the witch hazel into the bottle and set it aside. (You’ll likely want to use a funnel to make filling easier.)
Once the tea has steeped, discard the tea leaves and measure out 1 fluid ounce of the steeped tea.
Add the tea and your preservative to the bottle with the witch hazel, cap tightly, and shake again for about 10 seconds to combine.
To use, wet a cotton ball or reusable cotton pad with some of the toner and wipe it over your face, repeating as necessary until the pad comes away clean. That’s it! If you notice any changes in color or scent to your toner, it’s time to chuck it out and make a fresh batch. If you find you’re throwing out more than you’re using, consider halving the recipe in the future.
Reprinted with permission from Make It Up: The Essential Guide to DIY Makeup and Skin Care © 2016 by Marie Rayma, Running Press