Here's the link to my Tatcha - first impressions blog post from last year.
Nah... Today we'll talk about products. One Tatcha product that actually shines in the brand's otherwise quite medicore lineup, and one Tatcha product that was met with total disbelief from my Japanese friends when they tried it, and which then inspired a ROTFL episode when they heard the story behind it.
The rest of the stuff I bought and tried was either just OK, not worth the money, or simply meh.
Yeah, I might not be a fan of the brand's PR mythology, but that doesn't mean that I am going to automatically wave off the entire product lineup. No. If something is good and if it's working for me, I will tell you about it. I will tell you about the other stuff too, just to keep it nicely balanced, you know?
But before we begin, we need a little refresher lesson in botany.
- 1. Latin. It's used by scientists and in INCI listings for a reason.
Two plants, right? Don't even look alike, right?
So what the hell do they have in common, apart from the "tinctoria" bit in their names?
Both of them are sources of blue dye used to dye clothes since the beginning of time. Incidentally, that's what "tinctoria" means - it's a Latin word meaning "used for dyeing or staining".
Both of them are commonly known as "indigo".
Both of them have anti-bacterial and analgesic qualities and have been in used in traditional folk medicine.
Same, same but different. Very different, in fact.
The one on the left is known as Chinese indigo (or Japanese indigo), genus Persicaria, family Polygonaceae.
The one on the right is the regular Indian indigo, genus Indigofera, family Fabaceae.
Their origin is completely different. They are completely different species.
We are interested in the one on the left - Japanese indigo.
My pretty, pretty indigo blue purse. I got it in Kiryu, Gunma prefecture. Kiryu is a famous local indigo dyeing center. But there is also a famous indigo dyeing place in Tochigi, right down the street from me, in Moka (I love this town, btw!). They still do it the traditional way using locally grown indigo.
Back to indigo plants.
That's not the end of it, because there are actually five other different species of plants that are referred to as "indigo" in Japan, and that are also used for dyeing fabric: Indigofera suffruticosa, Isatis tinctoria, Strobilanthes cusia, Marsdenia tinctoria and Mercurialis leiocarpa. And all of those fuckers are called "ai (藍) something or the other" (ai meaning "indigo" in Japanese). Not to be confused with a different "ai" meaning "love".
You still with me?
- 2. That is why, when talking about plants, Latin is so important.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because I've seen a few reviews of Tatcha's indigo cream that got the plants wrong, that got the words wrong (ai and ai, I know, I know, kanji can be very cruel like that), that got the story wrong.
It's like saying that AHA and BHA are the same. I mean both are acids, right? Both are used in skincare, right? Both exfoliate, right? Ergo, same!
So while a rose is still a rose is still a rose by any other name, it's not so simple with indigo.
- 3. Today we want Persicaria tinctoria.
So Latin, folks, Latin...
Tatcha's indigo cream contains extracts from both indigos - Polygonum tinctoria and Indigofera tinctoria, but it's only the first one that is the Japanese indigo of Tatcha's pretty story of Japanese tradition, Tokushima prefecture, banks of the Yoshino river, blah blah blah...
Here you can read more about Japanese indigo from a source that is not Tatcha, meaning it's not going to make you gag. (You're welcome).
Because Tatcha, as we all know, tends to have a very elastic relationship with facts, Japanese history and Japanese culture.
Now that we know what we are talking about, we can finally start talking about it.
Best of Tatcha:
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream - 50 ml - link.
When I placed my massive Tatcha order last year, I ordered the travel size of this indigo cream. When the package arrived, there was a full size jar in it along with the small one I ordered. I was using that full size jar and loving the cream and then one day at some shitty hotel in a third world country, my precious Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream was rudely stolen from my room (they also stole Ettusais Amino CC cream in pink, WTF, in a country where no one is pink? Maybe they took it for a hemorrhoid ointment, or something, I don't know).
So when Miss Y (my dear friend who should be nominated for sainthood) was going to the US earlier this year, I asked her to bring me another Indigo cream. She did. She also brought a Tatcha lipstick, which, incidentally (#1), is also amazing. Miss Y compared the lipstick to Pola lipsticks, applied it onto my lips, and even though the color was totally not me, everything else about that lipstick was amazing. If Tatcha ever does colors other than
Incidentally (#2), this is the second time when Tatcha and Pola meet in my narratives. Something's going on here...
Every time I read Tatcha's PR bullshit, I roll my eyes so hard, I can literally see my brain. That two hundred year old text? I got mine on Amazon. For 12 bucks.
Anyway, where was I?
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream.
I did not expect much from this cream. Because Tatcha, you know?
So one day last year when my hands and wrists were being eaten alive by dryness and eczema, I was ready to try anything. I cracked open the Indigo Cream and smeared it on my red splotches. It said in the promo blurbs that it's supposed to help with eczema and irritated skin. Right? I wasn't holding my breath. I went to bed.
I woke up to soothed and calmed skin.
Tatcha Indigo Triple something something actually worked.
And grudgingly I had to admit that this cream was slowly moving into my must-have territory.
Nearly a year later, it firmly is in the must-have territory.
I don't know what I am going to do when I run out. Ordering just this cream from the US is not very cost effective. But I'll worry about it when the time comes. Right now I still have some left in the second jar that Miss Y brought back from the US for me.
So what about this cream?
What is responsible for the results it brings?
Is it indigo? Or is it plain, old oatmeal? The cream has both. I don't know, and frankly I am not interested. As long as it keeps soothing and calming my red face, I'm happy. As long as it keeps moisturizing and nourishing my aged, wrinkled skin, I'm happy.
If you look at the box, you will notice that only the oatmeal is listed as the active ingredient. I supposed calling it "Oatmeal Soothing Triple Recovery Cream" doesn't sound as sexy as "Indigo". And that's fine, I don't mind. As long as the formulation works for my skin, it's all good.
Can you see it?
This cream was not made in Japan. It was made in the US. It says "formulated in Japan", but knowing Tatcha's propensity for bullshit, I'm going to take it with a spoonful of salt.
Make no mistake, this is a rich cream. For dry skin, it works both as a night and day cream. For any other skin, it's strictly an evening moisturizer.
It has a very faint smell. Very faint. Reminds me of oatmeal and basil. An odd combo, I know, but that was my very first though when I sniffed it.
Indigo is blue, and so is this cream. Its light blue hue dissipates upon application and does not transfer to clothing. Don't worry, you will not end up looking like a Smurf.
The jar looks very small. Hard to believe it contains 50ml. I did not see a spatula in my box. Doesn't bother me, because I prefer to use my fingers.
This is what Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream looks like on the skin:
It takes time to absorb. It will feel slightly tacky and sticky right after application. But if you are patient, or have dry skin, you will see an incredible glow. Not greasy shine. Not oily mess. Just beautifully moisturized, calm, glowing skin.
And you know why I love it so much?
Take a look at the ingredient list (below).
See what's in the second place, right after "water"?
My holiest of holy skincare grails. My skin loves squalane. No wonder it loves Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream.
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream ingredients:
Active Ingredient: Colloidal Oatmeal 3%
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Squalane (Olive origin), Glycerin, Propanediol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Diisostearyl Malate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Xylitol, Behenyl Alcohol, Polygonum Tinctorium (Japanese Indigo) Leaf/stem Extract, Indigofera Tinctoria Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat Kernel) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract, Prunus Lannesiana Flower Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Oil, Inositol (Rice Extract), Sericin (Silk Extract), Tetrasodium Tetracarboxymethyl Naringeninchalcone, Chondrus Crispus (Red Algae) Extract, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dextrin, Sorbitan Tristearate, Trihydroxystearin, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Beheneth‐20, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sodium Acrylate/acryloyldimethyltaurate/dimethylacrylamide Crosspolymer, Titanium Dioxide, Calcium Carbonate, Tin Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Mica.
Tatcha has other products in the Indigo line. Am I going to try them? No, they are too expensive for me. If they were available locally, then maybe. But as it is now, getting them from the US is just too pricey.
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream is breathtakingly expensive as well. 50 ml for US$135.00.
Yes, that's one hundred thirty five dollars, no typos here.
It's in the SK-II price category, it's not available in Japan, but my skin seems to like it.
I will weep and eat nothing but rice and nori for a few weeks, but yes, I will be repurchasing.
I was reading an interview with Ms Tsai (the founder of Tatcha) in which she claimed that Japanese indigo is not commonly used in cosmetics. Of course that is the usual Tatcha nonsense.
A quick search reveals that Japanese indigo is an ingredient in (for example):
- Kose Sekkisei Supreme Powder Foundation
- Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Repair Eye Cream
- Kose Sekkisei Supreme Liquid Foundation
- Kose Sekkisei Supreme Whitening Eye Cream
- LuLuLun Face Mask (white)
- Dr. Ci:Labo Photo-White-C Whitening Lotion
- Kose Sekkisei Supreme Revitalizing Cream
- Kose Sekkisei Supreme Moisturizer II
- Naruko Raw Job's Tears CO2 Brightening Mask
And I'm sure it's used in many other products by many other companies. I'm just too lazy to search more.
And that concludes our Best of Tatcha segment.
EDITED to add:
Yes, I know, blue creams and blue skincare in general seems to be in now. It's the new snail, if you will. May Lindstrom, Sunday Riley, klairs and a bunch of others all have something blue in their lineup. But as far as I can tell, none of the products contains indigo of any kind.
Let's move on to:
Worst of Tatcha
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 (60ml) - link.
I didn't buy it. It was included as a present with my order.
Let's keep it short and sweet, because this sunscreen is not worth more than 5 minutes of my time. And definitely not worth the 68 dollars that Tatcha wants for it.
US$68 for this thing?
Only an idiot would willingly spend that much money on this mediocre approximation of a cheap Japanese sunscreen makeup base.
Tatcha claims this sunscreen was formulated in Japan and manufactured in the US.
Personally, I don't think this sunscreen got anywhere near Japan.
Don't get me wrong. I understand the limitations of producing an SPF product for the American market. The US is still in the middle ages when it comes to approved UV blockers.
Japan, on the other hand, is THE sunscreen capital of the world. Sunscreens here are cosmetically elegant (for the most part), plentiful, come in a dazzling variety of formulations and in every price point - from rock bottom cheapos for the equivalent of 5 dollars to high end skincare miracles that can cost upwards of a hundred bucks.
Japan knows sunscreen.
Tatcha doesn't know the first thing about Japanese sunscreens. Their product is not even in the same category as Japanese sunscreens. They are trying to pass off an American sunblock as a Japanese-formulated product.
First of all, the SPF.
35? Really? Really, really?
Standard for Japanese sunscreens is SPF50 and PA++++ (which, I suppose would be the equivalent of a very broad spectrum).
Lower SPF is usually found in base makeup and makeup primers.
This is exactly what Tatcha Silken Sunscreen is - an SPF enhanced makeup base. Tatcha even admits as much on their website.
Unfortunately, Japan also happens to be the leading power in makeup bases. We love our primers here and we sure know our bases.
So how does Tatcha's Silken compare to an average Japanese pore perfecting makeup base? Not very well, unfortunately.
- Tatcha says it's "weightless" - it's not.
- Tatcha says it's "pore perfecting" - sure, in the same way that wall spackle is.
- Tatcha says it's "brightening" - if a horrid white cast is your idea of "bright", then sure, yeah, it is.
- Tatcha says that it has skincare benefits from all the wonderful extracts in the formulation - personally, my skin was screaming for air when I applied it to my face.
I was expecting sunscreen. I got something that felt like a wash off mask.
But then again, I am spoiled. I live in Japan and use Japanese sunscreens daily.
I thought I was being unnecessarily harsh on Tatcha Silken Sunscreen, so I invited a couple of my friends to try it. Miss I and Miss Y both politely said that this sunscreen was nowhere near Japanese standards in this price range. It was nowhere near Japanese makeup primer standards in this price range, either.
They were a lot less polite when they found out about the nonsensical geisha story used to peddle this product. Let's just say that good LOLs were had by all.
Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen ingredients:
Water, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propanediol, Hdi/trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Behenyl Alcohol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Eriobotrya Japonica Leaf Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice Extract), Glycyrrhiza Inflata (Licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) Gum, Sericin (Silk Extract), Algae Extract, Lecithin, Inositol (Rice Extract), Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sorbitan Tristearate, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Silica, Potassium Sorbate, Beheneth-20, Sodium Acrylate/Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Dimethylacrylamide Crosspolymer, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Titanium Dioxide, Methicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethiconol, Disodium Edta, Iron Oxides (Ci77491), Tin Oxide, Mica, Fragrance (Natural), Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol
From all the Tatcha products that I have tried, this is hands down the worst ever. The exfoliating rice powder is a close second runner up, but this sunscreen gets the honors of being total shite. At least the rice powder I can use to wash my feet.
So there you have it.
One Tatcha winner and one Tatcha loser:
And did you notice that both of them were "formulated in Japan" and "made in USA"? Interesting, isn't it?
Now, if ever this Plum Blossm Lipstick comes back in stock, it shall be mine...