WTF is… Green Tea?!

Unlike it’s good buddy Sugar, Green Tea is pretty much universally loved and hailed as the best thing since sliced bread. It’s even older than the concept of sliced bread, making it a serious contender in the global commodities market. Considering that entire countries have waged wars all over the world to get this simple herb, we thought we’d take a second to steep in what makes Green Tea such a hot topic.

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Who knew that so much green could come from so much green? Image via wikimedia.org

So green tea, and in fact every type of tea outside of herbal tea, comes from a plant called Camellia Sinensis or “tea plant”. That’s right, matcha tea, oolong tea, lapsong tea, suchong tea, white tea, green tea, black tea, all come from this plant! In fact, the main difference between all the varieties of tea are based on how mature the leaves are before they are picked and what methods are used to ferment or oxidize them.

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The Camellia sinensis is a beauty in it’s own right, even if we usually only see it in a tea cup! image via wikipedia.com

Now there are plenty of studies to show how and why green tea is good for you inside, but we’re going to go over it’s benefits to your outside! The main constituents of green tea that are of particular note include:

  • A type of polyphenol called Catechins. Catechins are astringent, which help to tone the skin and also gently balance the oil your skin produces.
  • Caffeine, as we all know, invigorates and stimulates the skin to keep it healthy and lend it a rosy glow.
  • Theanine is an amino acid that has anti-aging properties and helps skin to stay hydrated and happy.
  • Vitamin C is a potent anti-oxidant that helps to rejuvenate and revitalize the skin so it feels smoother and softer.
  • Vitamin B helps to support healthy collagen production in the skin, and also supports the skin benefits of vitamin C.
  • Folate is another potent anti-oxidant that helps to rejuvenate and revitalize stressed skin, so it glows with happiness.
  • It’s antioxidants in general help to revitalize and rejuvenate the skin and to protect it from environmental damage like sun exposure, wind burn and toxins in the air, like car exhaust.
  • Of course we can’t forget Chlorophyll, a phytochemical that is loaded with antioxidants and not only revitalizes, but also deeply nourishes the skin to keep it extra healthy.

Pretty good stuff right? Well when it comes to green tea, we here at the Raw Spa pair it with nourishing rice bran oil, sumptuous mango butter, and an exotic blend of jasmine and vetiver for all of our Selene products. Much like the queen that is it’s namesake, Selene is specially formulated for skin that has seen it’s share of trials, but can still glow like the moon.

Selene Clay Bar

The Selene Clay Bar combines Matcha with moringa and French Green Clay for a nourishing face mask that smells like bubble tea!

We also make use of Matcha Green Tea (a special powdered tea from Japan used in the eponymous Japanese Tea Ceremon) for it’s verdant color in the Selene Bath Truffles, Bath Cupcakes, Bath Salts, Clay Bars and Exfoliant Bars.

We use extracts and infusions of Sencha green tea and moringa in our special Selene infused Rice bran oil, which can be found in all of our Selene shower treats including the Selene Salt Bars and Selene Gelly Baby, as well as the Selene Skin Tonics and Selene Skin Parfaits!

Be sure to check back later this week for a criminally simple green tea face mask, that will leaving your skin feeling fan-f***ing-tastic!!

How do you take your tea?

 

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The Kitchen Sink Spa Files: A Turmeric Chai + DIY Turmeric Chair Cleanser

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The mug really is as big as it looks… my mugs are bowl sized!

So let me explain the black stuff all over my face. Some of us are blessed with the ability to attract biting insects. Some people attract mosquitoes, so while every one is swatting occasionally at a buzzing bastard, they are smacking themselves like crazy, screaming “I AM BEING EATEN ALIVE!!!!!” Other people attract gnats, and a few unfortunate souls attract flies. I attract spiders. I HATE spiders.

I didn’t always hate them- I grew up with “Charlotte’s Web”, and as a small child, I thought EVERY spider was Charlotte, and wouldn’t let my mom kill them. And then I got my first spider bit. I hated spiders ever since. I understand that they are beneficial for keeping pests out of gardens, but they need to stay the F*** out of my home. Yesterday, I woke up with two spider bites above my eye. Great, big, red, swollen itchy bumps of archid hatred.

My normal course of action is to smear black salve all over them until the swelling goes down. Normally these bites are on my foot, or my arm, so it’s not particularly noticeable. But the S.O.B.’s bit my FACE. And let me just say, I PITY the next spider I see, because I am going reap a retribution upon the likes of which the world has never seen.

There is one up side to these bites- it’s the perfect excuse to drink Turmeric Chai by the gallon. If you haven’t had a chance to read our WTF spotlight on it yet, you can give it a quick skim HERE.

Clearly my camera skills could use some work…

One of my favorite drinks is a big soup-sized mug of turmeric chai, but I don’t often have an excuse to binge on it. As far as chai’s go, it’s warm, it’s invigorating, and it doesn’t came loaded with caffeine like traditional chai made with black tea, so I can drink it before bed without worrying that I’ll be wide awake for a few extra hours. Big bonus. Plus, the strained spice blend makes a nice face wash for my seriously sad looking skin. You can make the chai with a milk substitute like almond or soy milks… but it won’t have the exact same skin properties. Say what you will about dairy- it’s really awesome on your face!

Also, I really love spice. SO if you know that you can’t do really spicy things, you may want to dial back the amount of black papper that the recipe calls for- I made it to have a little bite. No belated pun intended.

SPICE FOR LIFE!!!

TURMERIC CHAI SPICE BLEND

1 Tbs ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 generous pinch ground clove
2 green cardamom pods

TO MAKE THE CHAI:

1. Mix the spice blend in a sauce pot with 1.5 c. milk (or milk substitute)

It may look like your spices aren’t doing a good job of mixing in with the milk. Don’t worry, we are going to strain them out any way!

2. Over low heat, gently heat up the mixture until it gives off steam. Remove from heat and cover with a lid for 5-10 minutes

This step will make your chai extra bright and extra spicy!!

3. Strain the mixture through fine mesh coffee filter or a piece of paper towel folded into a cone.

Using a standard size strainer will let a lot of the ground spices though, so you want something really fine like this.

4. Add honey to taste.

A bowl of happy delicious yellow chai!

5. ENJOY!!! And also don’t throw out your strained spice mix yet!

See all that sludge? That’s going to be your face wash, so don’t chuck it!!

TO USE CHAI FACE WASH:

  1. Discard the cardamom pods.
  2. Massage spice blend into face and neck with clean hands for 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water to thin it out.
  3. Rinse face well with warm water, pat dry, and follow with your favorite moisturizer.

And there you have it, a recipe for a delicious and sunny beverage AND a face wash to give your skin some glow, all in one simple recipe!