Photo: Lu Ming Tang
It may seem strange for Marie Amiand (say “Ma-hee”) to be this knowledgeable about Chinese tea. She is, after all, born and bred in France with her big blue eyes, blonde hair and heavy French accent – yet she sips on a cup of Chinese Longjing green tea and speaks of how crisp and clean it tasted.
“Very reflective of its place of origin. Did you know that approximately 80,000 leaf tips are required to make a single kilogram of fine Longjing tea?” she asks.
We certainly didn't. But trust Marie to be able to dish out nuggets of tea info - she is the founder of French-Chinese skincare brand Lu Ming Tang. The brand makes use of precious “imperial grade” Chinese tea – Longjing green tea, TieGuanYin Wulong tea, BaiHaoYinZhen white tea and Pu’er black tea – in their formulas.
What does it mean for a tea to be “imperial grade”? Back in the day, emperors and high-ranking officials drank tea of the highest quality - only the freshest, most precious leaves that were harvested were fit for the palace. This grade of tea earned itself the "imperial" mark of approval because of the meticulous method it took to harvest only the freshest leaves. Today, the same concept is practiced - modern-day "imperial grade" leaves are harvested from pristine origins; that means they’re grown on mountains far away from city pollution. To make sure that they’re freshest as can be, the leaf-tips are delicately harvested by hand by Chinese women.
“Pristine tea leaves have greatest antioxidant benefits, which is exactly what we want in our products," she says.
But Lu Ming Tang didn't just happen overnight. The brand was born from Marie's personal experiences. After a decade of living in Shanghai, she fell sick and was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning due to the pollution in the city.
“I was told to drink tea every day. Five cups of green tea, to be exact – and I saw how it was able to cleanse my system. My skin improved, my body felt better,” she says.
Marie then retreated to the tea valley of Longjing to learn more about tea. It was there that she was introduced to the many skincare benefits that tea has - not just their ability to detoxify and de-pollute, but also the quiet gracefulness of tea culture that brought peace to her physically and mentally.
With that, she combined her years of experience being a consultant for high-end international skincare brands with her new found love for tea, creating a brand that marries ancient wisdoms of traditional Chinese medicine and French pharmacopeia: Maison Lu Ming Tang.
All of Lu Ming Tang’s formulas are powered by the patented Bio-Remedy Trio Complex. This technology mixes in not only EGCG polyphenol from tea (an antioxidant proven to be 10,000 times more active and powerful than Vitamin E), with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what captures oxygen for the plant – and incorporating it in skincare will help breathe new life to our skin cells too.
It's one thing for skincare to show results, but another thing for users to feel results, Marie says. It's especially soothing for city-dwellers (like for us living in Singapore), where stress, pollutants and external aggressors cause strain on our skin and mind.
"You'll find that your skin is radiant and glowing from within, and it'll feel healthier as well."
Below, some of Marie’s recommendations from Lu Ming Tang:
Lu Ming Tang skincare is available at the Lu Ming Tang counter at Tangs Beauty Hall.