Is Black Tea An Unbe-Leafable Hair Remedy?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Benefits of black tea for hair

Dunking your head in some Earl Grey won’t do much for your hair health. If you’re really looking for a tea-tastic glow-up, you should let black tea soak into your strands and scalp.

Here’s a rundown of the potential perks.

Boost hair color
ishonest No.501 - Frizzy Hair

No.501 - Frizzy Hair

Black tea has high levels of tannins. These polyphenol antioxidants don’t just help neutralize free radicals. They can also give you a quick color boost if you have darker strands. But TBH, the results prob won’t be super dramatic.

Black tea hair color results are temporary. It also doesn’t work as well in peeps with lighter hair shades like red, light brown, blonde, or white. If you really want to pump up the color volume, you’re better off using an actual hair dye.

Hair growth

Black tea rinses might help you get that Rapunzel lewk. The high caffeine content is thought to support a healthy scalp and hair as it might stimulate the hair follicles.

Hormones may also play a part. Some studies show that the caffeine in black tea can block dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone can shorten the hair growth cycle, making new hairs shorter and thinner.

For strong and hydrated hair

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PSA: While black tea might *might* lead to longer locks, we still need more research.

Reduce hair shedding

A 2014 test-tube study found that the topical application of testosterone and caffeine might bump up keratin production (a protein in your hair, skin, and nails). So the caffeine in black tea might help stave off hair shedding. But we def need more research to show this is legit.

P.S. Hair loss isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are lots of possible causes including genetics, stress, hormones, and malnutrition. Your dermatologist can help you get to the root of your hair loss.

Shiny hair

Shine happens when light reflects off hydrated, healthy hair. Since black tea can support healthy hair, it might give you a solid sheen. But there’s simply no research to back this up.

ishonest No.312 - Prevent Acne

No.312 - Prevent Acne

If you have a hair type that doesn’t absorb moisture well (aka low porosity hair) black tea might actually dry out your locks more.

DIY: How to make a black tea hair rinse

There are no set guidelines for how often you can do a black tea hair rinse, but once a week should do the trick. Anything more than that might dry out your hair.

Here’s how to do a bomb black tea hair rinse at home:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water.
  2. Steep 4 black tea bags in the water for at least 1 hour.
  3. Pour the tea into a clean spray bottle.
  4. Wash your hair with shampoo.
  5. Separate your wet hair into small sections.
  6. Spray a solid amount of the tea onto your scalp and massage it in.
  7. Wear a shower cap for up to 60 minutes.
  8. Rinse your hair with lukewarm water.
  9. Use a deep conditioner to lock in the moisture.

STAIN ALERT : Don’t wear your fave shirt when you do this treatment. (Trust us.)

Can you use black tea for white or blonde hair?

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You can totes use a black tea rinse if you have blonde or white hair. It can provide some of the same benefits as folks with darker hair. Just note that black tea color doesn’t cling well to lighter hair colors, so you shouldn’t notice a major difference in your hair color.

If you’re slaying a glorious head of gray hair, a black tea rinse *might* add a bit of color to your silver strands. Just keep in mind the results will be short-lived and not very noticeable.

Side effects of black tea on hair

Black tea hair treatments are generally considered safe. But there are a couple things to keep in mind.

You should def do a patch test to avoid a skin reaction (especially if you have sensitive skin). Just add a small amount of tea to the inner part of your upper arm and wait 24 hours. You should be good to go if you don’t notice any skin discoloration, irritation, or rashes.


Black tea might boast beaucoup benefits for your hair. It’s high levels of antioxidants and caffeine might enhance shine, increase growth, and add a temporary boost of color. But we def need more research to prove these perks are the real deal.

You can easily DIY an affordable black tea hair rinse at home. A 1-hour treatment might provide the best results. Just be sure you rinse it out thoroughly and follow up with a conditioner to prevent drying.

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