We incorporate a lot of eastern nutrition practices into our Clean Cuisine book, the daily consumption of green tea being one of them. When I read a review in Oprah Magazine about green tea being an important part of the ancient Japanese geisha skincare routine and one of the secrets to their flawless complexions I was particularly intrigued. The geisha beauty routine has recently become available to the public through Tatcha, an incredible skincare line featuring high quality Japanese ingredients.
Turns out the founder of Tatcha skincare, Victoria Tsai, unearthed a 200-year old geisha beauty manuscript that detailed coveted daily regimens using green teas, Okinawa red algae, rice bran and other time-tested ingredients. After hearing about the company and reading more about the ingredients (all things I could pronounce!) I immediately ordered the Tatcha Radiant Deep Brightening Serum and the Tatcha Beauty Papers (for my oily skin). It was after about 2-weeks of using these two products when my mom asked what I was doing new with my skin because she said it looked so luminous. That was it! I had to learn more about this whole geisha-inspired beauty line, and so I asked Clean Cuisine’s Staci Kresser to catch up with Victoria and get the inside scoop. I learned a lot and I hope you do too.
Clean Cuisine Learns the Ancient Skincare Secrets of Geisha
At Clean Cuisine we strive to only put the best ingredients into our bodies to eliminate inflammation. What is your goal at TATCHA?
Our philosophical underpinning actually matches yours. Our skin is our body’s largest organ, and so reflects your body’s health. Any skin issue you encounter is likely due to some sort of inflammation. Finding ingredients that beautify the skin without causing inflammation is a big challenge; there are a lot of harmful ingredients out there. We choose ingredients that are body-loving: anti-oxidants, free-radical scavengers. Our goal is to help people realize that when they apply known irritants to their skin, it’s like proactively harming any other organ in your body. Our line applies the philosophy that if you treat your body well, you are treating your skin well.
How did the discovery of the geisha’s skin regimen play a part in the development of TATCHA?
When I first traveled to Japan, I was interested in color cosmetics. My skin had been scarred and inflamed by dermatitis, and doctors told me it would never fully recover. As I spent more time with the geisha, they became comfortable removing their iconic makeup around me and I saw the astonishing clarity and suppleness of their skin. With lots of help, I found the 200-year old manuscript in which their ingredients and routines had been recorded. Their rituals were simple, effective and pure; they used ingredients I could pronounce such as red algae, green tea and rice bran. I knew I had to share their treasures, and TATCHA was born.
We believe we need to all start watching what chemicals we put into our body, but, tell us, what chemicals do we need to keep off our bodies?
This is a little tricky because some of the nasties are often disguised in ingredients lists. Some to look out for are: Phthalates, sometimes marked as “fragrance”, which can be detrimental to liver and kidney health. They are also problematic for pregnant or nursing women. We use all-natural fragrances to ensure that phthalates are not an issue. Parabens (look for the suffixes methyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, propyl-), which are often used as a preservative. These have been found in cancerous tumors. DEAs and TEAs (diethanolamine and triethanolamine) are irritating to the skin and eyes, and easily absorbed through the skin to accumulate in the body.
What are the key ingredients in your products? I love the smooth feeling I have on my face after I use the product “Polished”. What makes my face feel so soft?
Our secret ingredient: rice bran. In Japan, sake brewers have long been famous for their soft, youthful-looking hands, which is due to immersing them in rice day and night. Rice is considered one of nature’s most perfect food. It looks so simple, but has many components that are beneficial for the skin. Rice contains inositol and gamma oryzanol, both natural antioxidants and moisturizers which are incredibly beneficial for the skin. I knew I had to incorporate that into our Polished Rice Enzyme Powder – my favorite is when history and efficacy combine.
I also think I am hooked on the Camellia Beauty Oil with gold flakes. Can you tell us more about the benefit of this oil and the significance of gold flakes?
Camellia oil is another of our favorites. Thousands of years ago, Japanese female free divers would coat themselves in it to protect their loincloth-clad bodies from the frigid ocean water. When the geisha heard about this, they started applying camellia oil to their skin, hair and even nails: an ancient multi-tasker. Camellia oil contains a high percentage of oleic acid, a naturally-occurring anti-oxidant. It’s rich in vitamins A and E, Omega-3 and Squalane, which replenishes skin’s elasticity. The geisha I spent time with had a wonderful trick of scratching the gold off of our Original Aburatorigami Beauty Papers and delicately crushing it on their lips for a sensuous shimmer. I added the gold flakes to our newest collection in tribute to all the wisdom they have given me.
What else can you tell us about TATCHA, that maybe someone would not know from just seeing your ads?
While many people may know that our skincare formulations come from Japan’s oldest beauty book, they may not know that the beauty book has three volumes and seven chapters; skincare is just chapter one. Our mission is to bring the elegance and simplicity of the geisha’s ritual back to life, chapter by chapter.
In the book, Clean Cuisine, Dr. Larson and Ivy write about how increasing the consumption of phytonutrients can help protect our skin from the effects of sun. If you could give our readers some advice on how we should be protecting our skin, what would you tell them?
No one is very happy with this answer, but the best protection from the sun is avoiding it. I zigzag across the street to avoid the sun, and have my favorite parasol that I carry everywhere. That doesn’t mean you have to look like a cast member from Twilight; wear a great bronzer and no one will be the wiser.