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Tatcha

LUMINOUS Deep Hydration Firming Serum

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 95.00
Expert Rating

Expert Reviews

Community Reviews

Claims

Ingredients

Brand Overview

This water-based serum is purportedly special because it contains red algae and hyaluronic acid "to soothe and firm skin," but the amounts of both are quite low, so your skin isn't likely to gain Tatcha's exaggerated claims for this product. That's not to say algae and hyaluronic acid aren't worthwhile for skin; rather, they're just not skin-firming, though they can work well with other great ingredients to contribute to great skincare.

The problem? Great skincare isn't what this serum offers. For an absurd amount of money, you're getting far more alcohol and fragrance than state-of-the-art ingredients such as antioxidants. See More Info for details on why high amounts of alcohol and fragrance make a bad cocktail for your skin.

This serum contains several ingredients that cosmetically brighten skin, including titanium dioxide, a synthetic pigment, and gold, though the latter is known to cause contact dermatitis. The shiny, brightening effect can be attractive, but is easily obtained from dozens of other less expensive products, many with superior formulas.

Pros:
  • The mineral pigments add radiance and brightness to skin (but keep in mind you can get these benefits from lots of other less expensive products).
  • Contains some good anti-irritants and antioxidants.
Cons:
  • Overpriced for what you get.
  • Amount of alcohol poses a risk of irritation and as a result collagen breakdown.
  • Contains more fragrance than it does the called-out hyaluronic acidand the fragrance poses further risk of irritation.

More Info: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:

Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832

Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202

International Journal of Toxicology, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43

Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.

When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we're referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.

When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There's no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.

The reason they're included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it's easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn't lead to negative long-term outcomes!

Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin's protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.

The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.

There are people who challenge us on the information we've presented about alcohol's effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded "alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing…." But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.

Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you'll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It's important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.

References for this information:

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16

Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49

Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551

Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366

Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A firming serum featuring a deeply hydrating blend of Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid to nourish skin in need of bounceback.

Tatcha At-a-Glance

The allure of ancient beauty treatments coupled with modern science is tempting for many peopleand 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 Tsais desire to translate these secrets and tips into a modern-day skincare line.

The hallmark ingredients Tsai and her team seem most interested in are of 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 hasnt 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 dont, but its quite likely that when unadorned and viewed close up, these women have the same types of skin issues as women the world oversave 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, its 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 Tatchas promises, your skin will be left wanting more.

For more information about Tatcha visit www.tatcha.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.