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.
Alcohol in Skincare Products: Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Alcohol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polyglyceryl-10, Eicosanedioate/Tetradecanedioate, Carrageenan (Algae Extract), Fragrance (All Natural), Inositol (Rice Extract), Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sericin (Silk Extract), Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice Extract), Silica, Hydrogenated Lecithin (Soy Origin), Squalane (Olive Origin), Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Algae Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Gold, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xanthan Gum, Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, HDI/Trimethylol, Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite.
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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!