- Tea tree oil is the latest acne-fighting ingredient, lauded for the calming and anti-inflammatory effects that help it soothe blemishes.
- Our top pick is The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, a multiuse, vegan oil that can be applied as a spot treatment to diminish breakouts and redness.
With so many ingredients claiming to be "the ultimate acne fighter" it’s tough to decide which one is worth the investment. Do you go for a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide spot treatment? A glycolic acid toner? All of the above? What’s more, acne-fighting ingredients are often sensitizing to those with reactive complexions.
If nothing you’ve tried has worked, you may want to give tea tree oil a shot. The ingredient has been found to have antiinflammatory effects, which means it can help treat a variety of issues, from inflamed blemishes to dry patches. Marie Claire’s senior beauty editor, Chloe Metzger, loves tea tree oil as an acne treatment for her sensitive skin.
According to the Mayo Clinic, tea tree oil is a safe product to use. "When used topically, tea tree oil is generally safe and might be helpful in treating acne and other superficial skin infections." Side effects are low, but people with eczema should avoid it. While studies have shown the positive effects of tea tree oil, it should be noted that studies are inconclusive.
No ingredient is one-size-fits-all, but if I have you intrigued thus far, check out these five great tea tree oil beauty products. Introducing anything new to your skin care routine is a risk, so before you dive in headfirst, apply on a small area of your skin and keep an eye out for signs of irritation. Or, consult a dermatologist to see if tea tree oil could work for you.
Here are the best tea tree oil beauty products in 2019:
- Best overall: The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil
- Best face mask: Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask
- Best concealer: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Full Coverage Treatment Concealer
- Best shampoo: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo
- Best moisturizer: The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best overall
The Body Shop
The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil has a simple formula that works in a variety of ways.
Go back to basics with The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil. The tiny jade-colored bottle houses a tea tree oil-based solution formulated for use on both the face and body.
This is a great pick if you’re looking to use concentrated tea tree oil as a spot treatment. When you feel a blemish coming on, you can swab some on as a preventative measure. The brand also suggests adding a few drops to bathwater to make your bath extra relaxing and detoxifying.
Many beauty experts recommend using tea tree oil to target blemishes and areas of redness and inflammation, and a basic multitasking product like this one is ideal. Shoppers are inclined to agree: The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil has a 4.4-star rating on Ulta based on more than 350 reviews and the same rating on Influenster based on more than 1,900 reviews.
Glitter Guide’s Kara Manos calls it, "An ideal spot treatment that won’t irritate your skin," and it’s also been featured by InStyle. The formula is 100% vegan and each minuscule bottle contains oil from 15,000 tea tree leaves sustainably sourced from Kenya.
Pros: Can be used as spot treatment or to prevent breakouts, affordable, vegan
Cons: Contains fragrance that may irritate some
The best face mask
The Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask combines hydrating squalane with purifying tea tree oil for a detoxified (but not irritated) complexion.
Anyone with blemish-prone skin has likely tried a drugstore’s worth of face masks that describe themselves as "detoxifying." Many of them are ineffective, overly drying, or some combination of both. Biossance Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask is none of those things.
The product is a combination of squalane (the oil Biossance puts in all its products to make them hydrating without being greasy), tea tree oil, and French green clay. Together, these ingredients combine to unclog, soothe, and moisturize congested skin. Since I have sensitive skin, I apply products like this only to the areas where I tend to break out or experience oiliness, like my nose, T-zone, and chin.
If you’re less reactive or more prone to breaking out all over, you can use it on your entire face without much risk of stripping the skin. You can even apply as a spot treatment on your worst blemishes for more immediate results.
For a relatively new product, this mask has already garnered plenty of buzz: There are currently more than 200 customer ratings on Sephora’s website, with an average of 4.4 stars. Best Products loves how it "purifies and calms the skin."
Pros: Non-drying clay mask, cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, squeeze-tube packaging
The best concealer
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Concealer fights blemishes while concealing them, thanks to the tea tree oil in the formula.
I usually side-eye makeup that tries to double as skin care. Chances are, you aren’t applying enough foundation or eyeshadow to get the full benefits of the SPF, moisturizer, or anti-aging ingredients found in the formula.
But the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Concealer is an exception. It contains tea tree oil to target blemishes while you cover them up, described by the brand as "drying lotion and concealer in one." In addition to acting as a full-coverage concealer, the product fights breakouts with an effective cocktail of tea tree oil, kaolin clay, witch hazel, and AHA/BHA chemical exfoliants.
The Cut’s Ashley Weatherford writes, "Most acne makeup is terrible [but] It Cosmetics’ Bye Bye Breakout concealer is remarkably different." Byrdie, Refinery29, and Bustle also give the product high marks. The downside to this concealer is that it only comes in seven shades, most of which lean on the lighter side. Hopefully, the brand will expand its range in the future.
One Ulta customer writes, "Hands down the best concealer and treatment, and super easy/convenient to use. I will carry one in my purse and keep one at home. A little pricey but well worth the splurge!"
Pros: Concealer and spot treatment in one, easy to apply
Cons: Doe-foot applicator isn’t the most sanitary, only seven shades
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