Our latest sugar scrub for the face features matcha green tea powder. Matcha is the good stuff when it comes to green tea. It's a special form, created by shading the plants near the end of the growing season, so that growth is slowed and the plants build up more chlorophyll. The result is a chlorophyll-rich, mild tasting green tea. The leaves are darker and the shading process also creates amino acids, which also gives the leaves their flavor. The amino acid L-Theanine also gives the tea the quality of producing a calming effect, without drowsiness.
The powder is simply ground-up, dried leaves. The quality of the tea is impacted by where on the bush the leaves are picked, the kind of processing the leaves are subjected to, and oxidation. When you drink matcha, you drink the powder instead of straining it out, so you get all of the antioxidant benefits of the leaves and all of the taste.
We are exploring the external use of the tea by using it in a scrub. The powder provides a small amount of mechanical exfoliation of the skin. But the real benefit comes from the antioxidant power. Matcha stimulates the skin, turning over the dead cells to reveal the fresher, newer ones. One can also benefit from the soothing properties of the tea to even out skin tone and reduce inflammation. Matcha can help with breakouts and keep your skin smooth and elastic (and exfoliating helps with that process too).
While we continue to perfect our scrub, you can experiment on your own with a simple mask. They are very easy. You may need to stop by your health food store to find matcha powder, but you can use a tablespoon of plain yogurt and/or honey that you have on hand to mix with one teaspoon of matcha to make a mask. Leave it on your face for ten to twenty minutes, then use a warm, wet washcloth to wipe it off.
Don't fear the honey; it's a humectant and it comes right off when you're ready to remove it.