I first learnt about tea seeds and tea seed oil when conducting a research concerning the use of rice water for hair. The Red Yao women who are widely credited for the rice water remedy use tea seeds as one of the ingredients for their natural shampoo.
Evidently, there are three types of tea seeds from three different plants in the Camellia genus.
Camellia sinensis/ Green tea oil
The first category of tea seeds is obtained from the Camellia sinensis plant
This is the ordinary tea plant that is widely grown in many regions around the world. It is primarily used for the production of ground tea leaves.
Depending on whether the leaves are oxidized or not, they can be used to prepare black or green tea.
Both the leaves and seeds of the Camellia sinensis plant contain compounds that serve an array of cosmetic purposes.
In a 2019 research study that is published in the NCBI, it was revealed that the plant produces extracts comprising of polyphenols (antioxidants) that are essential for improved skin and hair health.
However, the seeds are only used in cosmetology to a very limited extent. They produce Camellia sinensis oil which is also known as green tea oil. It is extracted as a by product of other processes.
Camellia Seed Oil/ Tea Seed Oil
The tea seeds that are widely used for beauty are obtained from the Camellia oleifera and Camellia japonica varieties. Both are rich in oil content with a percentage of up to 40 or more.
Large scale cultivation of Camellia oleifera is practiced in China and a few other countries for commercial oil production. Oil is extracted from the seeds through cold pressing and it has a chemical composition that is almost similar to that of olive oil.
It is low in saturated fats and contains high amounts of linoleic and oleic acids as well as vitamin E and sesamin.
Characteristically, it is light and thereby suitable for topical application, massage and aromatherapy. It has a pale yellow, almost colorless appearance, and the odor is practically non-existent.
Other properties include non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and quick absorption. All the active ingredients get absorbed as it penetrates the skin and scalp. This facilitates moisture retention, improved skin appearance, and enhanced natural protection
The Japanese use the Camellia japonica seed variety because of its wide cultivation in their country. As noted earlier, its composition is also rich in oil content with nutrients that are almost similar to those of Camellia oleifera.
Overall the skin and hair benefits of oil obtained from the Camellia oleifera and Camellia japonica seed varieties can be summarized as;
- Nourishes dry hair and scalp
- Improves skin and hair radiance
- Evens out skin complexion
- Restores moisture in the skin and scalp
- Conditions dry and sensitive skin
- Can be used as a massage and carrier oil
- Can be used as an anti-wrinkle remedy
- Reduces appearance of scars
- Used as a makeup remover
- Can be applied on all skin types
- Good for lip and nail care
- Added to hair shampoos to restore shine and gloss