Strengths: Good cleansing oil; the eye-area mask is an intriguing formula.
Weaknesses: Often shockingly overpriced for what amounts to basic formulas; several products claim to lighten or brighten skin, but don’t contain ingredients that can do that (or such ingredients are present in such small amounts they’re unlikely to be effective); jar packaging; the enzymes in the face scrubs have zero effectiveness for skin; several of the serums and moisturizers are either highly fragranced or contain alcohol, or both.
The allure of ancient beauty treatments coupled with modern science is tempting for many people—and the Japan-inspired brand Tatcha plays that combination up to the max. As the story goes, Harvard graduate and businesswoman Victoria Tsai, had a chance encounter with a “modern-day geisha” on a trip to Kyoto, Japan. What followed was an introduction to a fabled book on the beauty secrets of the geisha, which led to Tsai’s desire to translate these secrets and tips into a modern-day skincare line.
We’re all for studying, learning from, and being fascinated by history, but relying on what someone (even a geisha) knew about beauty hundreds of years ago is like using pencil and paper to write a message versus using your mobile phone or computer.
If anything, what makes this marketing “story” even more ludicrous is that historically, geisha’s made their skin white by using a thick lead-based paint! Those are not the kind of beauty secrets to emulate! Simply put, what we know about skincare now wasn’t (and couldn’t have been) known back then, and what we know now fills volumes!
The hallmark ingredients Tsai and her team seem most interested in are of course Japan-inspired such as green tea, red algae, and rice bran which are supposedly mentioned often in the ancient geisha beauty book. Although all three of these ingredients have merit for skin, research hasn’t shown them to purify or do some of the other things for skin that Tatcha claims. What you really need to know is none of these are the solution for any skin concern or for any skin type.
One more point, the entire premise of Tatcha is built around Japanese geishas’ beauty routines, but this assumes that under all of their decorative makeup, geishas have (or had) beautiful, flawless skin. In all likelihood, some do and some don’t, but it’s quite likely that when unadorned and viewed close up, these women have the same types of skin issues as women the world over—save for perhaps fewer signs of sun damage, as most east Asian cultures are careful about avoiding sun exposure.
Enough about the marketing story because what really matters is the quality of the products and whether or not they are beneficial for skin. The short answer is this line has more problematic formulations than beneficial ones.
Chief among the concerns that keep us from getting behind this line are an abundance of fragrance (natural or not, fragrance can irritate skin) and several products housed in jars that expose their delicate ingredients to light and air.
Admittedly, it’s easy to get swept up in “what the ancients knew” and kept to themselves for centuries, only to have these seemingly amazing secrets finally divulged. We wish that were a wise way to find the best products for your skin, but despite Tatcha’s promises, your skin will be left wanting more.
For more information about Tatcha, call (888) 739-2932 or visit www.tatcha.com.