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Tatcha is an American brand with a Japanese sensibility. The origination myth includes the founder’s encounter with a real-life geisha and blotting paper acquired at a Kyoto pharmacy. The brand is focused on soothing unhappy skin using ingredients inspired by a lucky encounter with the “oldest beauty book in Japan.” I decided to open Tatcha’s kimono by randomly selecting Soothing Renewal Treatment ($98).
The secret sauce is 3% colloidal oatmeal, apparently the highest amount used in a skin care product. Colloidal means that the oatmeal has been ground to super fine nanoparticles. Tatcha says that it soothes the skin and gives it a silky feel. Actually, this is probably not giving the ingredient full credit since, according to a study, it has antioxidant beta-glucans, and phenols that are ultraviolet absorbers. Plus, there’s saponins that account for its cleansing ability (source). A lot to ponder on when you have your next bowl of oatmeal.
Tatcha’s other signature ingredient is a kind of buckwheat known as Chinese or Japanese indigo. It is indeed a blue dye, but I imagine the reason it is used here is primarily because of its antibacterial and antioxidant properties (source), which may be helpful against acne.
There’s nothing outstanding amongst the other (still fairly decent) actives such as soy, rice germ, algae, green tea and chamomile. Ironically, there are some ingredients that are known irritants such as propanediol, Diisostearyl Malate, behenyl alcohol, disodium EDTA, and phenoxyethanol. Most of the other synthetics are silicones or harmless polymers.
My take is that the overall formula is unexceptional, but if the 3% of oatmeal lives up to the science, then $98 to have skin irritations soothed could be worth it.