Beauty and the Teas

There are lots of articles everywhere you look about things you can do with tea – loose or in teabags – besides drink it. I’ve written several of these myself, and certainly it’s a topic that has been visited more than once here on The English Tea Store Blog.

Taupe, cream, lavender, and pink nail polishes with tea leaf embellishment. (Photo source: article author)
Taupe, cream, lavender, and pink nail polishes with tea leaf embellishment. (Photo source: article author)

When it comes to beauty, tea is ever at the ready. Pretty much everyone knows that chilled teabags will soothe stressed or puffy eyes, razor burns, and sunburns, and a tea soak will de-stinkify the stinkiest feet. Certainly these treatments will keep you beautiful. As will rinsing your hair with tea after shampooing to strengthen it and give it a nice shine.

Okay. How about a couple of ideas that you may not have thought of before?

Henna is a natural botanical that has been used for thousands of years to colour hair. I discovered henna in high school and have been using it ever since. Besides colour, henna adds body and shine to hair. The method for applying henna is fairly simple: Pick your shade, mix the powdered henna with hot water, stir to make a soft paste, apply to hair, and after an hour rinse it out. So far so good.

Now, what if you use tea instead of water? I’ve been mixing henna with tea for some years. Tea tones down the brassiness of the redder shades of henna, intensifies the browner shades, and imparts a rich warmth to black henna. If you just want highlights, mix tea with clear, colourless henna and you’ll really maximize your hair’s body and shine.

Tea for mixing with henna should be a standard black tea – I use an Assam CTC – and steeped up at about double strength. Henna, and tea, unfortunately, are not recommended for blonde hair. In any case, always do a strand test before trying a new hair colour on your whole head. Trust me. I mean it.

Another idea was inspired by all the fancy nail designs and decorations you see around. I thought: Why not design your nails with tea? So I’ve been playing around with adding tea leaves – actually tea dust – to nail polish. With dark polishes it’s more of a textural thing. When you add tea to clear or light-coloured polishes you get a pretty nifty visible pattern. What a neat way to dress yourself up when you go out for tea!

I’ve tried this polish thing both ways: sprinkling tea dust onto freshly polished nails, and mixing tea dust into a bottle of polish. The sprinkle method is more random, and you need to apply a clear topcoat once your nails are dry, but you don’t mess up an entire bottle of polish. If you are ready to make the commitment to teaify your polish, mixing it in makes it easier and quicker to apply and spreads the tea more evenly. Just don’t shake the bottle or you’ll end up with bubbles; instead roll it back and forth between your hands. So far I’ve “tea’d” clear, white, lavender, and sparkly taupe polishes, and I’ve liked the results with all of them.

The tag line for my handcrafted tea-dyed textiles and tea-bead jewelry is “How many ways can you wear your tea?” Happily, I’m still discovering new ways!

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