In the world of beauty, “BB” usually refers to multi-tasking “beauty balms” that conceal, brighten, and give your skin a model-esque, longed for evenness. Now tea-makers are jumping on to the trend, hoping that consumers believe in the phrase you are what you eat (or in this case, drink).
Us skincare-obsessed girls are well aware of green tea’s superpowers: a study has shown that the antioxidant power of it has been shown to protect mouse skin (cute!) from sunlight-caused cancer, and researchers are so jived by the the results that they are looking into green tea’s other compounds to pinpoint all of its benefits.
But what else might be in a BB tea that makes it so good for your skin? Let’s take a look under the canister lid of the most popular brands, and separate medical fact from marketing fiction.
With green tea (and thus, caffeine) as the leading ingredient, this BB tea is perfect for afternoon snack time. Other ingredients include mate, another plant high in antioxidants, though some research has shown that too much mate has led to certain cancers, particularly of the neck and throat areas.
The third leaf blended into the Kusmi is rooibos, which is actually not a tea, despite popular belief, but rather a member of the legume family. Rooibos, like green tea, is a more studied supplement and has been proven to hold enormous health benefits. It may have up to 50 percent more antioxidants than green tea, and may also help avert osteoporosis.
Superficial bonus: Kusmi’s bright packaging looks beautiful on any kitchen counter.
Aloha’s Beauty Tea, $7 for 15 teabags
A caffeine-free choice, Aloha has included rosehip, hibiscus, and sea buckthorn to its rooibos blend. Rose has been used medicinally and as a beauty aid for centuries, and research is growing to support the claims that it is a strong antioxidant with overall anti-aging and and anti-inflammatory benefits; rosehip and rose oils contain high levels of vitamin A, which promotes skin cell turnover (sayonara, under-eye fine lines).
The powers of sea buckthorn are just being discovered. Research is being done in its many benefits, and one study shows that it boosts fatty acid in skin, which, in turn, can aid as an anti-inflammatory.
Canadian company Miyu makes a rooibos tea intended to plump up parched skin. It’s naturally caffeine-free, and includes goji berries and rose petals. Like rose oil, goji berries are another Vitamin A booster, though there is limited research to support this claim. Gojis also contain high levels of Vitamin C, which may help prevent damage to the skin caused by ultraviolet light.
If green tea is the most powerful of the tea family, matcha is its super swole cousin. Matcha is green tea in a powder form, so when you drink it, you’re drinking the entirety of the green tea leaf; this is one reason why many believe matcha is the hulk of green teas.
Panatea’s Matcha, starting at $39
The antioxidant compound found in green tea — epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG — has been shown to be up to three times more present in matcha than in regular green tea. Matcha, unlike other teas, requires a bit more of a ceremony: instead of pouring hot water into a mug and walking away, one must whip the liquid into the powder, preferably with a bamboo whisk. This slightly slowed down, less stressed experience might aid your skin in other, less expected ways. Any reason to stop and smell the roses, whether in your tea or not, is a healthful reason.
Some general guidelines for buying and drinking tea: look for loose leaf, as you’ll reap the most benefits from the plants that way. It’s best to brew sugar-free, so you don’t undo the benefits of the antioxidants. If the box or canister doesn’t indicate, ask the seller how long you should brew your tea. Each tea usually has a specific amount of time — somewhere between 3-6 minutes — it takes to be prepared, and if you follow the guidelines it won’t taste watery or overpowering.
It will be, as Goldilocks would say, just right.