Our guest writer Charlotte Wang @charlottewangwang discusses the health and beauty benefits of versatile super ingredient tea, and shares tips on how to create a calming tea regime to start your day right!
I may wax lyrical about coffee on Instagram, but there is something just so refreshing and soothing about tea that you can't quite get anywhere else. Those crisp flavours in an iced tea, mellow moodiness in a hot tea... it's always a drink I would welcome.
I’m sure anyone can relate when I say these past few months have been anxiety inducing, and personally I’ve realised that one way I can be more ok with all the changes happening is to just… let go. This is a strange time for the entire world and I highly recommend taking some time to be extra compassionate to yourself, and do small things to make you happy. For myself, finding a simple ritual has helped elevate my everyday, giving me a sense of control and calm.
Why tea has been my beverage of choice is also because of its health benefits - it is scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, boost heart health, is a good source of antioxidants and may even help with improving your gut health. With its milder levels of caffeine, tea can also help you focus better at work without affecting your sleep at night. And of course, for those of us who aren’t a fan of drinking water, having some fresh iced tea (no sugar for a healthier option!) is a great way to increase your hydration levels whilst giving your taste buds a treat.
Tea is also a bit of an overachiever, with plenty of beauty benefits! It contains molecules called catechins which have antioxidant properties to help to protect skin against free radicals like radiation and pollution which accelerate ageing, reduce inflammation, and balance sebum levels.
With the weather being extra hot and humid lately, I've been reaching for the 23.5°N Oriental Beauty Tea Balancing Gel Mask to beat the heat and hydrate my skin. Sourced from Taiwan using indigenous Taiwanese tea, this multi-purpose product can be applied generously and left on for 20 minutes as a mask, applied as a thin layer as a day moisturiser, or you can even use it as the last step in your beauty routine as a night mask to lock in the ingredients from your skincare routine.
It has a delightful jelly texture, cool on the skin and absorbs beautifully, leaving skin feeling plump and moisturised. The mask also contains niacinamide which improves skin elasticity and helps to shrink pores. While it is marketed for oilier skin textures, my dry skin really laps this up as well, especially when it needs some light hydration on hot days where I just want to have nothing on my skin.
And did I mention... it also has a very mild scent of tea? Nothing artificial or sweet, just a really light tea scent which I enjoy a lot. Which got me thinking... how else can I incorporate tea into my routine?
Nothing hits the spot on a sweltering hot day quite like a nice, cold glass of iced tea. And while I've been spending a lot of time at home lately, I also have been experimenting with the joys of cold brewing. In fact, this might be one of my favourite ways to enjoy tea!
Sometimes when you drink hot tea it has this bitterness, or even some acidity, and it doesn't go away even if you cool it with ice. Well, cold brew is a slow (but super rewarding!) process, where you let the dried tea slowly meld with cold water, producing a flavourful tea without any bitterness or sourness. It's also really simple and works with almost any tea bag; it just takes a bit of patience.
Hot Tip 1: What I normally do is to take a tea bag (recently I really like this Brown Rice Green Tea one), snip off the label, put it in a container, fill it with water and pop it in the fridge. That's it! And because I don't like having to wait around for hours before I drink it, I just do this the night before and voila, delicious cold brew tea ready to be drunk when I wake up. My favourite way to enjoy it is in a fancy wine glass over ice, just to feel extra decadent.
Hot Tip 2: Another refreshing and tea related beauty treat is to use your tea bags to de-puff any eye bags! This one is also really quick and easy. You can use the still cold tea bag you previously used to make cold brew tea, or just grab some new tea bags and pop it in iced water to make them cold. Now just dab it around your face, holding it to the eye bags for a little while longer to help ease any puffiness. The astringent in tea, coupled with the cooling effect, really helps to wake skin up and tighten up the area around your eyes.
What's great about tea is that it's just such an accessible product, and something almost everyone already has in their pantry. This little tea regime is my way of making my daytime skincare routine (which I'll be honest, I tend to rush through!) feel a little more bougie and if you have a little more time, it's a perfect wake-me-up before you get ready to jump into another day of work. Pinkies up!