This emollient hand cream is a richer, slightly thicker version of Tatcha's INDIGO Soothing Silk Body Butter, though ounce for ounce the Body Butter costs less and can absolutely be used on the hands.
Even if you're OK with spending more than necessary, you still may want to think twice about investing in this hand cream because it contains more fragrance than state-of-the-art ingredients. We wish fragrance were as good for skin as it is for your nose, but research doesn't show that to be the case.
This does contain a good mix of emollients and water-binding agents to soften dry, rough hands, and the plant ingredients provide antioxidant benefits that all skin types need. Hand creams like this aren't for daytime use, as hands need sun protection during daylight hours.
The liquid silk mentioned in the claims is sericin. Sericin is one of two substances that create silk, but it's the minor of the two, making the "liquid silk" name a bit misleading. The main ingredient in pure silk is fibroin, a protein that gives silk its unique properties. Still, sericin is a beneficial ingredient for skin due to its amino acid content and smoothing texture, and it does have some impressive research behind it (Source: Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research, volume 63, April 2004, pages 323–329).
The take-home point is that the core ingredients in this hand cream, while good, are also found in many other hand creams that cost less. As for the indigo this contains, research has shown it's a rich source of a type of antioxidant known as flavonoids. That's encouraging, but it's one of many plant-based antioxidants for skin.
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.
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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