Matcha, the ultra-fine powder made from green tea leaves, is more than just a super ingredient for our lattes and Instagram-able desserts. The compound is packed with antioxidants, vitamins B2 and E, and caffeine to calm inflammation, combat redness and irritation, and even help prevent skin cancer by stimulating DNA repair.
The ingredient first originated during the 7th century when Japanese monks visited China to study Buddhism and came back with the knowledge of the healing properties of green tea. It became routine for monks to drink green tea for its health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.
Founded in 2000, Korean beauty brand Innisfree has long used green tea in its skincare range but starting this month, the brand has relaunched a special Green Tea Collection formulated with an ingredient found on the volcanic South Korean island of Jeju, which has taken 10 years to source. Innisfree studied thousands of varieties of green tea before settling on one with the most skin benefits. Here, we learned more about the healing properties of green tea from Innisfree Vice President Julien Bouzitat.
What made you want to utilise green tea as an ingredient for this collection in the first place?
‘We own and operate an organic green tea farm on Jeju and our dedication of cultivating green tea is the starting point of our unique expertise. When it comes to skincare, we have significantly invested in dedicated research, from selecting the right variety to cultivate to creating optimal extraction methods to preserve its hydrating benefits. It truly is a farm-to-face approach to skincare.’
Why is green tea such a great skincare ingredient?
‘Green tea is a highly effective skincare ingredient when it comes to providing hydration and anti-oxidant protection. Our green tea extract is proven to surpass the hydrating power of purified water, delivering fresh nutrients, vitamins, and amino acids deep to the skin while enhancing its protective barrier. With improved barrier function, the skin retains its natural moisture longer.’
Could you tell me more about the special Jeju Island ingredient?
‘Because the green tea you drink is not obviously the one with the best properties for your skin, we studied 2,401 varieties before picking the one we believe contains the most skin benefitting attributes. Compared to our previous green tea, Japanese Yabukita has a richer, deeper green colour with a higher content of chlorophyll. This variety is also 3.5 times more enriched, with 16 amino acids that aid in skin hydration.
‘We also developed an extraction process to best capture the skincare benefits that leave green tea within two hours of the harvest. The organic leaves are plucked from the stem, steamed for 30 seconds to retain nutrients, and pressed through an exclusive double-squeezed method to get moisture from the leaves instead of creating a classic infusion without losing valuable nutrients including amino acids, minerals, and vitamins.’
Why do you think more and more people are turning towards Korean Beauty and skincare?
‘The increased appeal of Korean beauty coincides with a new evolution of skincare aspirations. Historically it started with European skincare, driven by French luxury brands with highly fragrances and rich textures. Then, it moved towards American brands with high clinical efficiency that could sometimes be obtained with ingredients harsh to the skin. Asian beauty and Korean beauty specifically has been a natural evolution with still good efficacy but more subtle and naturally derived ingredients.’
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This story first appeared on ELLE UK.