TatchaGOLD Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm
0.28 fl. oz. for $36
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Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

Just like Tatcha's GOLD Camellia Beauty Oil, this emollient lip balm contains its share of beneficial and potentially problematic ingredients. The problematic ingredients include a high amount of fragrance and a bit of gold, which is known to cause contact dermatitis.

Research has shown that the camellia seed oil in this balm is a good source of oleic acid (a fatty acid) that is chemically similar to the fats found in olive oil. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits and can stimulate collagen production in skin (Sources: Journal of Food Science, October 2012, pages 1055–1057; Molecules, June 2012, pages 6716–6727; BMB Reports, March 2012, pages 177–182; and Journal of Ethnopharmacology, May 2007, pages 127–131). That's excellent, but less so when a great ingredient like this is mixed with a lot of fragrance, because fragrance isn't skincare, or lip care, for that matter!

The other issue is that this lip balm contains several light- and air-sensitive ingredients, but the jar packaging (which doesn't seem to be necessary due to this product's jelly-like texture that should squeeze easily from an opaque tube) won't help keep those delicate ingredients stable once this is opened. That means the antioxidant benefits this balm would otherwise have in spades is diminished, making it a less enticing choice, especially given the cost.

  • Leaves lips feeling smooth, soft, and protected against moisture loss.
  • Jar packaging reduces the stability and effectiveness of all the plant-based ingredients.
  • Contains a surprisingly high amount of fragrance, which poses a risk of irritation.
  • Gold leaf, 24-karat or otherwise, has zero benefit for skin, but may provoke an allergic reaction.
  • Definitely pricey for a lip balm.
Last Updated:11.07.2014
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

This intensely hydrating lip balm absorbs quickly and smoothly, leaving lips soft and touchable. The 24-karat gold leaf crushes upon application.


Squalane (Olive Origin), Dimer Dilinoleyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Dextrin Palmitate, Fragrance (Natural), Dextrin Palmitate/Ethylhexanoate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentaisostearate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Water, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice Extract), Oryzanol (Rice Bran Oil Extract), Hydrogenated Lecithin (Soy Origin), Inositol (Rice Extract), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Alcohol, Glycerin, Algae Extract, Gold.

Brand Overview

Tatcha At-a-Glance

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.

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 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 visit www.tatcha.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.

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