Last week I chatted about Thursday Plantation tea tree cream, a cheap and cheerful multi-tasking tea tree oil-infused lotion that I mostly use for calming inflammation. Tea Tree 90 Essence (R440, K-Beauty Africa*), however, does much the same but, from a sensory point of view, it’s a zillion times more pleasant to use and its ingredients list is a helluva lot more sophisticated.
If Thursday Plantation is your reliable li’l VW Beetle then Tea Tree 90 is your rapper boyfriend’s Bugatti. (If you’re very lucky your rapper boyfriend looks like Michael B. Jordan. Anyone else see and adore Black Panther on the weekend?)
But ja. Let’s get back to Tea Tree 90. A super lightweight, fragrance-free serum that feels like water on your skin, it contains 90% tea tree essence. This is different to tea tree essential oil in that it retains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties but not the pungent scent and the ability to sting your eyes like a mofo.
Other dinges in the mix? Gotu kola, a super soothing antioxidant plant extract with healing properties; sea buckthorn (a great source of vitamin C ) a and a bunch of naturally occurring hydrators like snow mushroom extract, trehalose (a plant sugar) and hyaluronic acid. What’s not included, however, is important too – no alcohol and silcones and, if you care, no parabens and mineral oil.
If you give this guy a google you’ll see the majority of peeps who’ve tried it are all hailing it as the second coming and a few are disappointed as they were expecting miracles. If you manage your expectations, however, you’ll love this product as much as I do. (Which is a lot!)
For example, no, it’s not going to blitz existing pimples like a boss. If you’re out to murder spots** you’ll need things like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. And no, it’s not going fade the marks they leave behind. You’ll have better luck using an AHA product. But what it does do brilliantly is soothe and hydrate inflamed skin – be it caused by acne, the products you’ve used to zap it or just about anything else.
If you’ve got sensitive, spot-prone skin that loves to revel in redness and you’re looking for a hydrating serum to wear underneath your moisturiser or just as an ad hoc treatment on days when you want a little ‘calm’, know that Tea Tree 90 is a fantastic pick and most definitely worth the price point. I love that it’s completely scent-free (it really does come off like a bottle of plain old water), adore that it plays nicely with whatever you want to layer on top of it and, when it runs out, I’d be happy to buy another bottle.
*If you’re looking for Korean beauty goodies in general you’ll find a nice selection at K-Beauty Africa. Their brands range from J One to Laneige, their prices are very decent and they ship nationwide for R90 to major centres and R130 if you’re somewhere remote.
**Personally, my HG zit blitzing products are Differin gel for blind pimples, Oxy10 for regular ones, Innoxa Spot Drops for little ones and Dermalogica’s Overnight Clearing Gel, which contains 10% salicylic, on my T-zone for general pore maintenance.