‘Coffee therapy’ involves using brewed coffee and grounds creatively to enhance the texture, health and appearance of skin and hair. Coffee tightens pores and removes dead skin cells, making the skin looking younger.
Beauty experts the world over are waking up and smelling the coffee. If they are to be believed, coffee just doesn’t wake you up, it also does the same to your skin and hair. It has anti-wrinkle properties and because of all these benefits, coffee has become a common ingredient of numerous luxury beauty products and spa therapies, especially anti-ageing and anti-cellulite ones.
How coffee helps
Published studies have documented the benefits of topical application of coffee and its major constituent, caffeine. Caffeine is technically an alkaloid substance that naturally has the form of white xanthine crystalline. Besides many pharmaceutical uses, caffeine has always held a high platform with many dermatological uses over the decades.
“Applying caffeine through a shampoo is a highly effective treatment for premature hair loss. In addition, creams containing caffeine help reduce the appearance of cellulite when applied to the skin,” says Mitchel Goldman, medical director, La Jolla Spa.
Dr. Charlotte Birch, a UK based dermatologist underlines the antioxidant properties of coffee by saying, “Caffeine serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substitute, which makes it a key ingredient in anti-ageing and many other beauty products, which benefit skin. Caffeine’s notable uses as an anti-inflammatory serves as an asset for numerous types of creams, especially those formulated to minimise dark circles and the sagging of under-eye skin.”
However, the level of anti-oxidants in used coffee grounds depends on the way coffee is brewed. The best coffee grounds are those collected at the bottom of the cup, but those left in a coffee-making machine can also do the job. Accordingly to scientists from the University of Navarra in Spain, plunger, filter and espresso coffee makers leave the highest levels of antioxidants in coffee grounds, while mocha-style coffee makers are the lowest.
“The formation of cellulite is mostly due to genetics, and, once it forms, it’s there for good. However, the caffeine in coffee grounds is thought to enhance fat metabolism and increase circulation, thereby possibly reducing the appearance of cellulite. “The caffeine in coffee can enhance the metabolism and is easily absorbed when applied to the skin. Plus coffee is a diuretic so it removes some of the fluid out the fat beneath the skin which can help reduce the appearance of cellulite,” says Dr Birch.
The exfoliating properties will certainly make your skin soft, smooth and supple – minus the dimples! Coffee can make cellulite appear less apparent by pulling out water from tissue. It may also help reduce the size of fat cells by breaking them up and redistributing. In the same vein, Dr Andre Morris, a dermatologist from Sydney says, “Vasoconstrictor agents caused by caffeine are important attributes included in most anticellulite compounds. However at the same time it still creates the dehydrating side-effects so it is important that you be mindful for the necessity of staying amply hydrated to counteract the dehydrating effects.” Says Malika Ghaib, Founder of Cloud 9 Spa & Salon, who manages Oma – The Spa at Coffee Day Resorts.
Malika also mentions “Coffee grounds can be used directly on your face and body as a natural scrub. The abrasive texture will scrub off any dull skin, leaving you with a glowing appearance. The caffeine will also act as an energiser for tired skin and puffy eyes, leaving you with a tightened and youthful look. For a stronger scrub, add sugar to your coffee grounds.
You can also mix in some olive oil for a moisture boost.” They use a lot of coffee in their treatments. The exfoliating and stimulating effects of coffee can be applied to hair as well. “Try mixing used coffee grounds with your favourite conditioner and gently scrub your scalp for a few minutes. Not only will it feel great, the caffeine can help stimulate new hair growth. Try this treatment once a week for best results,” says Ghaib. A note of caution, you may want to place some sort of catch (perhaps a recycled coffee filter) over your shower drain to keep the grounds from clogging your pipes when you rinse.
You may drink coffee for the eye-opening caffeine, the rich aroma, and the comforting warmth. But don’t toss out those old grounds when your morning pot is empty! You can infuse your beauty routine with the caffeinated effects of your wake-up ritual by reusing
coffee grounds in several beauty treatments. Professor of Nutrition at University of Oslo, Dr. Rune Blomnhoff says, “Coffee is a major contributor of antioxidants. So, coffee grounds make an excellent facial exfoliant, gently slouching off dead skin cells to reveal
the fresh, healthy looking skin underneath.”
Soaking hair in leftover coffee or scrubbing with grounds can deepen light brown or dark blonde hair colour, add highlights to darker brunette hair, and give all hair colours an incredible shine. Additionally, soaking skin in coffee leftovers can give the appearance of a healthy glowing tan without the sun damage.
Coffee-based beauty products
In recent years, coffee has re-emerged as a natural restorative exhibiting numerous advantageous properties. Small wonder then that cosmetic and personal care majors are
reaping in the harvest. All skin issues-wrinkles, sun spots, loss of elasticity, are caused by free radicals, using our coffee-based range can improve the overall look of your skin.Back home in India, the diva of natural beauty, Shahnaz Husain says, “Our Coffee Bean scrub is becoming popular because it exfoliates the skin by eliminating dead cells
and impurities, giving your skin a smooth and even texture.
Also, Coffee Bean Extract energises your senses with its refreshing scent. In addition, by providing moisturisation, coffee oils keep the skin hydrated and soft.” A scrub is the most basic product that one can make out of coffee. So there is a plethora of brands cashing in on a growing market that is waking up to the benefits of coffee.
Aroma Magic, The Nature’s Co. and Biocare are some of the brands that have come up with interesting scrubs. Pond’s Men Energy Charge Face wash taps into the instant-recharge properties of coffee and claims that the product instantly brightens and refreshes the skin.
Nilanjana Dey, Brand Manager, HUL says, “Our coffee-based products address the need for a clear and glowing skin and also removes tan and dark spots. Our differentiator is what Garnier stands for overall — fusing nature with technology. Coffee, as our R&D team has discovered, has shown amazing test results for skin care and, therefore, we are working on it to develop more skin care products with caffeine as an active ingredient.”Similarly, the Garnier Eye Roll-on enriched with caffeine is Garnier’s first-ever roll-on to hydrate, cool and refresh tired-looking eyes. The cooling moisturiser contains Caffeine and Pro-vitamin B5 for a bright eyed look!
Garnier’s Marketing Manager, Richa Singh, says, “Our eye pen is a revolutionary cooling eye treatment that acts like a cold compress, soothing away puffiness, plumping fine lines and delivering much needed moisture to the thirsty, dehydrated skin around the eye contour. Injected with a shot of caffeine to constrict blood vessels, increase circulation and boost radiance, this effective beauty aid includes the additional anti-ageing benefits of antioxidants, which protects against damaging free radicals that can lead to premature ageing.”
A lot of individual and new players are also researching the bean and developing new and innovative products. Jagriti Choudhary of the Ahmedabad based SkinYoga says, “We
have coffee and tea-based masques that are very popular.” Coffee Day Resorts is also planning to launch an exclusive range of coffee creams, coffee massage oils and many more products. DBLB Soaps have a coffee – flavoured variety in their handmade soaps that have extracts of coffee. “This soap will detoxify your body very tenderly, also deeply boost you with various vital sebum and tantalising fragrance will stay with you. This moisturiser cum soap will boost your skin with huge benefits of essential oils and body butters,” says actor and model Priyanka Bose, who uses their coffee soap regularly.
Ishween Anand, Founder and Owner, Nyassa, says, “Coffee extract is an excellent natural antioxidant that cleanses and promotes moisture retention. It has excellent anti-ageing property. Activated charcoal is a natural cleanser and draws out toxins and germs with its exfoliating action. Nyassa has two products in coffee – a Cafe Noir Soap and Cafe Noir Hand wash.” So grind up those beans and reap the beauty benefits!