At the end of a long day or the beginning of an easy one, there's nothing quite as delicious and tasty as a cup of tea. Seriously, there's a reason the Brits have had made it a must-have component to their daily activities for centuries. But we can't help but wonder: What other benefits does tea have for the body?
There are plenty of things one can do with tea, leftover tea, or tea leaves—you can even use tea leaves to predict the future—and one option you may have never even considered is doing a tea rinse on your hair. Tea rinses are great for your hair because they contain caffeine and tannins, which are useful compounds for maintaining healthy hair and can help with nourishment, depending on the type of tea and how long you keep it on your hair.
Curious to learn more? We reached out to Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified New York City-based dermatologist and author of the book "Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist," as well as Anabel Kingsley, a consultant trichologist and brand president at Philip Kingsley, to learn more about the benefits of tea rinses for hair. Read on for what they had to say.
Tea Rinses for Hair
Type of ingredient: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Main benefits: Stimulating hair growth, preventing hair loss, preventing dandruff, and strengthening hair.
Who should use it: In general, those with dry or thinning hair, or irritated scalps.
Works well: As an additional booster to your hair mask.
Benefits of Tea Rinses for Hair
Green and black tea are full of all the antis (and no, not the Rihanna album): antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties, which make them fantastic for naturally boosting your hair health. The caffeine present in black tea can help to offset the effects of dihydrotestosterone—the hormone that is responsible for causing hair fall and loss—and also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are good for removing dryness from the scalp.
- Stimulates healthy hair growth: Black tea and green tea are both associated with healthy hair growth by improving blood circulation in the scalp and preventing common scalp infections. "Green tea (specifically the polyphenols it contains) has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can be beneficial to the scalp when applied topically," explains Kingsley.
- Acts as a natural hair dye: Some people use black tea to refresh darker hair colors, says Kingsley. Using black tea as a natural alternative to give extra black color to your hair is a great way to revive a color between sessions.
- Moisturizes the hair: According to Jaliman, green tea is a good source of the B vitamin panthenol, aka vitamin b5. Panthenol can moisturize, thicken, and add body to hair.
- Assists with fighting hair loss: "Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which we typically know as or have seen as EGCG, is found in green tea. Studies have been done where EGCG was selectively inhibiting 5a-reductase activity. This helped [those with] alopecia, an umbrella term for many types of hair loss," explains Jaliman. Meanwhile, the caffeine in black tea can help stimulate hair growth.
- Promotes cell turnover and regeneration: Black tea is loaded with polyphenols and tannins, which are known to help with skin cell rejuvenation.
- Helps restore shine to the hair: Green and black tea can give a glossy, bright shine to the hair.
- Protects irritated and itchy scalps: Due to the antioxidant properties in black and green tea, they're great for soothing an inflamed scalp.
- Strengthens the hair: If you have thin and fragile hair, tea rinses are great for you, as the nutrients in the tea can be helpful in thickening and strengthening your hair.
Who Should Use Tea Rinses for Hair?
According to Jaliman, anyone with dry hair, thinning hair, or hair lacking in luster and shine should consider tea rinses. They're also great for those with irritated scalps or dandruff, too. According to Kingsley, however, black tea, when consumed, may not be good for your hair. "In terms of its benefit for the health of your hair, drinking black tea can actually be damaging," she says. "The tannins found in black tea can bind to iron in your body, depleting your iron levels and iron stores—iron and ferritin, or stored iron, deficiency are very common causes of hair loss."
How to Use Tea Rinses for Hair
This one's easy, as long as you remember to prepare it in advance. Here's what you'll need:
- Tea of your choice: Green for treating dandruff and stimulating growth or black for hair loss and shedding.
- Spray bottle or jar
Brew two green or black tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water, letting it cool down to lukewarm before using. Pour it into a spray bottle or a jar. Next, you'll want to shampoo and condition the hair as you normally would, then apply the tea rinse onto damp hair. Apply a shower cap for 30-45 minutes (do some errands or a puzzle), then rinse out with cold water.