In the Middle East and North Africa, mint tea is used somewhat counter-intuitively as a way to cool off from the desert heat. Traditionally, a welcome drink provided by hosts in a three-part ceremony, the hot tea makes you sweat a lot for a brief period, which, in turn, lowers your body temperature as the sweat evaporates. The sprigs of spearmint also have cooling effects and anti-microbial, digestive tract-regulating qualities.
What is not counterintuitive is to use mint in beauty products for a similarly refreshing effect. Beyond the generally cool, calm, and collected yogi vibes, it's therapeutic aromatically as well—a worthwhile ingredient to consider if you're ritualistic about your skincare methods.
Probably the most well known incorporation of the herb in skincare has been in circulation since your grandma’s teenage years— Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque. With its pore-shrinking, blackhead-busting powers, mint is the star player in this generationally-beloved face pack (DJ Matthew Mazur is also a fan). For your body, herbalist Rebecca Altman of LA-based Kings Road Apothecary concocts small batches of a Geranium and Mint Bath Scrub, using Dead Sea and Himalayan pink salt along with a rich base of moisturizing plant oils (jojoba, avocado, and sweet-almond to name a few). The minty-floral scent is both mellow and heady, and its sweet peach color doles out further harmonious vibes in the exfoliating experience.
& Other Stories offers a bath and body line that’s equal parts Scandinavian utility and romantic wanderlust, and their purse-friendly Moroccan Tea Hand Cream is a nod to the Maghreb custom. Its scent is authentically sweet and minty (in the traditional drink, the ratio of sugar to tea leaves is a generous 5:1). Crucially, the lotion absorbs quickly to remedy dry digits, so there’s no post-application residue smudging up your keyboard or phone screen.
But the most relaxing of the bunch is Lafco's Mint Tisane Candle. Whereas the other mint products fade away upon wash or absorption, this candle boasts an impressive 90-hour burn time of herby green smells. There's notes of basil and eucalyptus in there, too. Very relaxing indeed—just be prepared to crave a salad while it's lit.
Photographed by Tom Newton.