Behind The Mask: The Right Mask For The Task

Skin In The Game

Seeking Sanctuary T

By Gina Way

Unless you’ve been off the grid for the last decade, you already know that Tea’s antioxidant power is off the charts. Turns out, the super-charged, complexion-boosting benefits of Tea aren’t only for sipping. They can be applied directly onto your skin, too.

“Different teas can energize, detoxify, soothe or promote healing,” says tea-ologist Benjamin Paré, General Manager & Beverage Director of NYC’s Sanctuary T, a hot SoHo spot that specializes in tea-infused cocktails (Green Tea margarita anyone?). “You can get similar results topically, which is why Tea Extracts are often infused into skincare products.” Check out Ben’s low-down on how to transform your fave Teas from treats to treatments:

Tea’s antioxidant benefits are off the charts.

The trendiest of tea, this antioxidant superhero fights free radicals that damage collagen in skin cells & reduces inflammation. That’s because it’s loaded with something called EGCG (that’s Epigallocatechin Gallate in science-speak), a particularly potent type of antioxidant.

Matcha, the Tea du jour, is a kind of Green Tea with a bright green color & high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is a natural detoxifier & anti-inflammatory that’s known to help calm rosacea & acne. “It’s like a wheat grass shot for your skin,” says Ben. So go ahead and paint on a Matcha-infused face mask the next time you ‘gram your homemade Matcha latte art. 

Rooibos (say it with us: “roy-buss”) Tea comes from South Africa & is known for its healing properties. It contains a particularly fierce free-radical fighting antioxidant enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase. More skin bonus points: Rooibos is hypoallergenic, antibacterial & anti-inflammatory, plus it contains Zinc & natural Alpha-Hydroxy Acid, which help keep your complexion clear.

Different teas can energize, detoxify, soothe or promote healing.

Yerba Maté
Yerba Maté (pronounced “yerba mah-tay”) is legendary in its South American homeland. Locals in Brazil & Argentina traditionally sip the smoky, earthy-tasting brew from dawn to dusk. It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s packed with Caffeine, in addition to Amino Acids, Vitamins B & C and minerals like Iron, which is good for blood circulation. “It’s got even more antioxidants than Green Tea,” raves Ben. These good-for-you properties have an invigorating effect on your skin too, especially when paired with energizing citrus ingredients.

Black Teas, like Oolong, pack a punch in the Caffeine department. Besides giving you a stimulating buzz when you drink it, Caffeine has antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties when applied to skin.  Try spicing up your skin’s life with an Oolong face or body mask this autumn. Bonus points for masks that include fall fragrance faves Cinnamon & Cardamom, both of which are naturally anti-microbial, not to mention smell delicious.

If you’re feeling crafty, try Ben’s craft-your-own Earl Grey & Lavender Foot Soak. The Epsom Salt is great for aches and pains, Lavender has calming properties & (bonus!) Black Tea instantly neutralizes odor.

What You Need:
1-2 c Epsom Salt
1/2 c dried Lavender Flowers
1/2 c Earl Grey tea
10 drops Lavender essential oil
1-2 gallons hot water

How To Make It:
Place all ingredients in a shallow container or in the tub. Add hot water to dissolve ingredients & soak feet until water cools.