Although green tea has long been hailed for its anti-oxidant benefits, one particular variety is generating buzz in the health and wellness arena. Matcha, a powdered form of green tea, is considered a more potent version of the antioxidant-rich ingredient.
“Matcha is particularly beneficial as a skincare ingredient, as it contains the unique polyphenol epigallo-catechin gallate (EGCG), one of the most powerful antioxidants available,” says Rhonda Allison, founder and CEO of Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals. “It’s also loaded with myriad other health-promoting nutrients, including vitamins C and E, carotenoids, minerals, and oils.” Not surprisingly, it’s now being embraced by skincare manufacturers, indie brands in particular, for its many skin-saving benefits.
“Matcha is a form of green tea that contains chlorophyll, a powerful detoxifier that is known to remove harmful toxins while fighting the free radicals that damage cells needed to keep our skin looking and feeling its best,” says Annie Tevelin, founder of SkinOwl. It also appeals to spa-goers as a healthy beverage. “Whether it is creating an authentic tea ceremony for guests to enjoy or using it in spa treatments, it’s an excellent ingredient for promoting wellness and healthier skin,” says Jillian Wright, founder of Jillian Wright Skincare and cofounder of Indie Beauty Expo. “There is history, ceremony, and tradition behind matcha tea.” Here, we reveal why it is making headlines today.
When it comes to antioxidants, matcha is in a class all its own. According to Joshua Morgan, cofounder of Little Barn Apothecary, matcha is 20 times stronger than tocopherol, an inexpensive antioxidant commonly used in cosmetics, and more than 65 times stronger in terms of antioxidant properties than the average fruit or vegetable. Lydia Sarfati, founder of Repêchage, attributes its high concentration of antioxidants to the fact that matcha is ground into a fine powder containing the entire camellia sinensis leaf. “It’s loaded with antioxidants, which help fight free-radicals known to damage skin, and tea has natural anti-inflammatory properties, as well, making it useful for not only everyday puffiness but also inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and acne,” says Holly McWhorter, cofounder of Plant Apothecary.
Looking for a matcha match? Industry insiders share their favorite pairings:
“Matcha pairs well with many ingredients, including clay. By adding white clay, green clay, or pink clay, you can create more of a traditional face mask with matcha.”
—Jana Blankenship, founder, Captain Blankenship
"I love pairing it with other teas, such as organic rooibos, white tea, and other anti-inflammatories, such as calendula, chamomile, and blue lavender. They work off each other, and the synergy is beautiful.”
—Annie Tevelin, founder, SkinOwl
“We love pairing it with chamomile, and I think it’s great in combination with aloe vera, as well.”
—Holly McWhorter, cofounder, Plant Apothecary
“In our butter balms, we blend it with sweet almond oil, an age-old ingredient that moisturizes, fights aging, and soothes and firms the skin.”
—Joshua Morgan, cofounder, Little Barn Apothecary
“Turmeric, clay, kale, spirulina, colloidal oatmeal, hemp, coconut, charcoal, pearl, and resveratrol.”
—Jillian Wright, founder, Jillian Wright Skincare, and cofounder, Indie Beauty Expo
Wellness In A Cup
One of the easiest ways to introduce matcha tea into your spa is by serving spa-goers a cup of the healthy green beverage. Beyond the skin benefits, matcha tea also provides the following healthy perks:
- It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins.
- It contains catechins, which provide cancer-fighting properties. ECG, in particular, helps fight cancer.
- It helps calm and relax the body, thanks to theanine, an amino acid known to promote relaxation. Matcha leaves are grown in the shade, which increases the production of theanine.
- It improves memory and concentration.
- It helps detoxify the body on account of its high levels of chlorophyll.
- It helps boost the metabolism and burn calories.