When I first met geisha, I wondered how their skin stayed silky-smooth despite their heavy makeup. I’ve always felt that as the day wore on, my makeup disappeared into my skin. This led to a vicious cycle: the congestion would lead to breakouts, which caused me to wear more makeup that, in turn, made my skin more congested. As I began to study with skincare scientists, I learned that the face alone has approximately 20,000 pores—plenty of places for makeup to be absorbed and cause trouble.
I asked our geisha friends how they kept their skin from absorbing the heavy white oshiroi (base layer) and thick black eyeliner. Their answer was surprising—a lightweight wax called bintsuke that they would warm between their fingers and apply to the skin after completing their skincare ritual, but before makeup. The wax had the dual function of helping skin retain its moisture, while smoothing and protecting it from makeup and pollutants.
I actually tried bintsuke one time and realized why geisha rarely smile in photos: the wax primer turns into a stiff mask. We hoped to recreate the benefits, but with an ingredient that was less restricting. Unsurprisingly, we were able to find an answer in another long-beloved ingredient in Japanese skincare: silk. Our skincare scientists explained to me that silk is a near-perfect raw fiber. Completely breathable, it has the ability to keep you cool in hot weather, and warm when it’s cold. This breathability is just as true of silk in liquid form: it acts as a true filter, simultaneously keeping out what your skin doesn’t need and preserving hydration levels. It supports your skin’s “natural barrier function” –a technical term for what skin does best– protecting the rest of you. When your skin isn’t being burdened by harmful or unnecessary chemicals, it has the chance to nourish and care for itself. Your skin is dynamic, evolving with your environment and what you put on it, which is why The Silk Canvas is such an important step in your skincare ritual.
By marrying together three silk extracts together, we created a featherlight, protective barrier in The Silk Canvas. What’s especially beautiful about The Silk Canvas is that anything you apply over it won’t get “eaten” by your skin. If you’re like me and notice that your makeup gets cakey easily - or seems to disappear by afternoon - those carrier oils and pigments are collecting in your pores and inadvertently causing breakouts. Keeping those and other potentially harmful ingredients out of skin are an essential step to protecting yourself.
The world of skincare and cosmetics is easily confusing and nuanced, especially because everyone’s skin reacts and behaves differently. Our promise at Tatcha is to always share the best formulas, made by some of the brightest minds in the industry, and to always think beyond skin-deep—our collection is crafted to bring you brightness and balance, inside and out.