As the whole world moves to greener options, so do beauty brands. And you can too. The best place to look for ingredients that are more sustainable is your kitchen and as an extension nature. Theoretically, the range of possible ingredients is as varied as the number of plants. You probably have seen brands incorporate plants such as gingko or green tea. Rooibos promises to give even more than others when it comes to rejuvenating your skin.

Before we dive into how you can use rooibos in your skin care, let’s look at what it is.

What is rooibos

Rooibos is a beloved South African brew, known to the world as rooibos tea, red tea, or redbush tea. Although it’s technically not tea, the leaves of the rooibos plant are used to make herbal tea. But the rooibos plant isn’t related to Camellia sinensis the plant that is used to make black and green tea.

Rooibos tea leaves, photo by TeaCora Rooibos 

The plant rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is native to South Africa. Rooibos – pronounced roy-bos and means “red bush” in Afrikaans) is native to South Africa and popular for generations.

The plant seems to have been used for thousands of years as archaeological records suggest. Probably, it was used for medicinal purposes but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was drunk as tea.

In recent years, unfermented rooibos tea called green rooibos has become more widely available besides the fermented red rooibos tea. Red rooibos tea has an earthy, woody-sweet flavour and produces a reddish colour. Green rooibos is light and delicate.

Unlike the classic tea made of Camellia sinensis, rooibos has no caffeine and is low in tannins. The fresh rooibos leaves contain a high level of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The herbal tea itself doesn’t have vitamin C but contains flavonoids, AHA, and zinc.

Why do you want to use it

Rooibos tea is full of things your skin loves. It not only has high levels of antioxidants, it also boasts AHAs, and minerals such as

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

Add it to your skin care if you want

A potent antioxidant

The high levels of flavonoids, a group of polyphenols, mean that rooibos acts as a powerful antioxidant. It can offset free radicals in your skin that would otherwise damage cells and cause premature ageing – think wrinkles and age spots.

An anti-inflammatory

The high flavonoid levels can also help improve skin conditions such as eczema and acne. Acting as an anti-inflammatory, robots help soothe and relieve inflamed skin. This even extends to sunburnt skin.

To fight zits

If your main concern is to fight zits, rooibos can help too. With inflammation as one of the causes of zits, being anti-inflammatory helps improve the swelling and irritation that you see with zits. In addition to the anti-inflammatory action, rooibos also has antibacterial properties that will help fight acne.

To brighten your skin

Thanks to the AHAs, rooibos is a gentle exfoliation that helps you get rid of older layers of dead skin cells to reveal newer and healthier cells.

How to brew rooibos tea

You can drink the tea or use it for one of the beauty hacks below. It doesn’t matter if you use tea bags or leaves. For rooibos to reach its full potential, you’ll have to steep it between 5 and 7 minutes. For the beauty hacks, if you want it stronger, you can also steep it for longer, ideally for 30 minutes in a study in PLoS One.

You’ll need 1 teaspoon of tea leaves (2g) or one tea bag for every cup of water (2dl) for a perfect mug of tea. You can drink rooibos tea hot or cold. Some people enjoy adding milk and spices like cinnamon.

5 rooibos beauty hacks

Drinking rooibos tea is good for you. Why not also take advantage of applying it to your skin? These hacks will make you look and feel awesome without eating a hole into your pockets.


You can use leftover cooled rooibos tea as a toner. If you like its effects to be stronger, you can brew rooibos just like the scientist did in their study in PLoS One. Use 2g of tea leaves with 1dl of water, and steep it for 30 minutes.

Let the infusion cool down, pour it into a bottle and keep it in the fridge. Whenever you use a toner, soak a cotton pad with rooibos and apply as you would your regular toner.

Steam facial

As usual, cleanse your face before a steam facial. You’ll need a large bowl or pot, a towel, and the rooibos infusion. Bring 6dl of water to a boil and pour into the bowl. Add 2 teabags or 4g of tea leaves. Drape the towel over your head and lean over the bowl. Don’t forget to close your eyes. Stay like this for a few minutes and then rinse with cool water. Follow up with your normal routine.


Did you get too much sun? Even if you didn’t you and still enjoy a relaxing bath and reap all its benefits. You can just run a bath with your usual bath temperature and toss a handful of rooibos teabags. Wait until a few minutes until you see the water get reddish and relax.

Eye patch mask

If you use rooibos tea bags, don’t just bin them. After steeping, put the used eye bags in an airtight container and in the fridge. In the morning, take them out of the refrigerator and put them on your eyes. After 10 – 15 minutes, rinse your face and follow up with your routine.

Hair rinse

OK, hair rinse is not really skin care. But hear me out, the antioxidants in rooibos are beneficial to your hair and scalp in the same way as it’s for your skin. They’ll strengthen your hair follicles for better hair growth. They’ll relieve dry, itchy, or irritated scalp. As for the hair, it’ll become shiny and soft.

Wrapping up

You’ll be happy to know that some brands use rooibos extract instead of the infusion. Rooibos extract obtained from the fresh leaves and twigs contain vitamin C whereas the herbal tea doesn’t. Skin care formulated with the extract gives you the bountiful effects of vitamin C. Opt for products such as serums or moisturisers formulated with rooibos extract if you don’t have the time for DYI skin care.

5 Different Ways You Can Use Rooibos For Your Skin

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