Thursday, May 19, 2022

Behind the brand Victoria TSAI of Tatcha

One of my favorite things about trying a great new skincare line is learning about the brand itself. I’m always curious about the who and why behind a particular brand and I love nothing more than a unique founding story. Since I’m always doing a little digging about my favorite skincare lines, I’ve decided to launch a new series: Behind the Brand! For my inaugural post, Tatcha‘s founder Victoria Tsai graciously agreed to answer some of my burning questions about the story behind her beautiful skincare line! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Tatcha, it is an amazing line that started after Victoria stumbled upon an old manuscript that contained the centuries-old beauty secrets of Japan’s geisha. Every single product I’ve tried from her line has been such a joy to use (not to mention ridiculously effective). Enjoy!

It seems like you dealt with a lot of serious skin issues from traditional beauty products. Is that what spurred you to look for your own solutions? 

Yes! I never had skin problems growing up, and I absolutely took it for granted. After treating my face like a science project, I developed acute dermatitis on my face, lips, and eyelids for over a year. I felt there had to be skincare out there that would take care of your face without those problematic ingredients.

What are the common ingredients that you feel everyone should avoid in their skincare regimen?

Ingredients are a personal preference – kind of like your diet. It’s hard for the average consumer to know which products have which ingredients, as they can often go by different names. For example, “phthalates” are often listed as “fragrance.” I personally stay away from ingredients that can sensitize the skin and are known or suspected carcinogens, immunogens or endocrine disruptors. It can make seeking out products cumbersome. As a result, our formulary promise is that we are free of parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates.

What do you wish you had known before you started?

I began researching full-time in April 2008. TATCHA’s journey began with our Original Aburatorigami Beauty Papers in September 2009, and our full skincare line was released February 2012.  It is a worthy cause, but I do wish I had known then what a challenge it would be to create an efficacious skincare line free of those nasty ingredients. We have to be very diligent when it comes to sourcing ingredients and knowing our raw material suppliers.

What are your top picks for anyone who is unfamiliar with Tatcha?

Our most unique piece is the Rice Enzyme Powder, which turns into a foam when it gets wet. It’s a three-in-one cleanser, exfoliator, and toner, with an instantaneous effect. I would pair that with our Deep Brightening Serum: together, they lighten scars and sunspots for an even, glowing skin tone. Plus, the Deep Brightening Serum doubles as a light moisturizer – we love multitasking around here.

I’d love to learn more about this mysterious beauty manuscript you found!  What is the most surprising or unusual beauty tip you picked up from it or your collaborations with geisha? 

We often think of Asian skincare rituals requiring countless steps. Plus, when you look at a geisha, you assume that her routine must be incredibly complicated. I was surprised by the simplicity and efficacy of the ingredients and the steps.

Your products’ packaging is absolutely gorgeous. What was the inspiration behind it?

Thank you so much! The shape of the containers comes from the Natsume tin, which is used to hold matcha green tea. I chose the color, a lacquered white because it reminded me of the purity of the geisha’s makeup. Lastly, the logo is inspired by the family crest that hangs on the door of a geisha house or okiya.

I love the attention to detail! One last question: do you have any advice for someone who has dreams of starting their own company or skincare line?

The best thing you can do is make your products world-class. If you do, wonderful people (like you!) will help to spread the word. Big companies can cut down costs on their products because they can afford advertising and spokespeople. My best advice would be to always focus on the quality of your products, and the rest will take care of itself.

Many thanks to Victoria for participating!

[Images courtesy of Tatcha]

PS – If you have any requests for a Behind the Brand feature on your favorite skincare line, please let me know!

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