As I welcome autumn’s cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the coming season, I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on a larger awareness, too. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to not only focus on the importance of health, but to recommit to it.

At TATCHA, we’re showing our support with the limited edition Kyomei Moisture Rich Silk Cream, but our commitment to health in beauty extends much further. Not only is it a pillar of our brand, it’s also the result of my lifelong personal journey.

Growing up, I worked in my mom’s beauty store before going on to begin my professional career with some of the largest beauty care companies in the world. During that time, I developed acute dermatitis, which lead me to have a more profound respect for my skin as an organ and to pay careful attention to what I applied to it.

Later in life, I had the pleasure of working for a short time with a company called Good Guide, whose mission is to provide sustainability ratings on consumer products. I worked with four scientists who taught me the scientific side of personal care. It was here that I learned that 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream and can stay in your body. For women especially, this resides in breast tissue. Even if these chemicals never impact your personal health, there is uncertainty about the impact on the next generation. This video details the dangers of bioaccumulation.  Especially during this morning of Breast Cancer Awareness we are keenly aware that carcinogenic compounds are often found in skin care products, and ever more committed to providing another option. For a list of “no no” ingredients, see here. We recommend checking your bathrooms now!

As many of you know, TATCHA was launched the day that my daughter was born. What I learned during my tenure at Good Guides never left me, and the idea of passing toxins (carcinogens, hormone disruptors or immunogens) to her through breastfeeding was an unacceptable notion.

This collective experience set me on my path to understanding the chemistry and health impact of personal care. I’ve traveled across Europe and Asia, attending regulatory conferences and consulting with leading chemists worldwide. I’ve been shocked to learn about the philosophical differences between the US and the rest of the world regarding skincare safety. The FDA has no oversight over skincare in the US because cosmetics are neither food nor drug. We also take an  “innocent until proven guilty” stance, meaning that ingredients are fair game unless proven to cause harm. The FDA bans only thirteen ingredients, compared to the tens of thousands of chemicals released every year. The opposite approach is taken in Europe and Asia.

At TATCHA, we do not choose to focus on “natural” products, as the concept of “natural” does not necessarily have meaning in and of itself. Instead, we create formulas that are the most efficacious and elegant possible, while avoiding ingredients known to be harmful to health. More often than not, nature provides the most highly evolved solutions available, which is why we look to natural ingredients and timeless approaches to beauty. Instead of being swept up by the newest trends, we focus on what works—what’s always worked—and emphasize respect for the body.

When people see TATCHA, they often remark on the beauty of our packaging and our attention to detail. This unwavering focus and commitment actually begins with what’s inside those pretty packages. The majority of our efforts are invested in working with world-class chemists to custom-extract, preserve and formulate ingredients that are worthy of the people who use them. We are always seeking ways to make our products even cleaner, and we’re proud to say that we formulate without mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, parabens, PEGs, PPGs, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates.

In recognition of all those affected by breast cancer, we have created a limited edition Kyomei Moisture Rich Silk Cream featuring a beautiful silk pink ribbon, generously donated by Tayuh (, a silk artisan located outside Kyoto who specializes in a unique style of silk weaving called Tango Chirimen. $25 from the sale of every Moisture Rich Silk Cream in the month of October will go to support breast cancer awareness and research. TATCHA proudly supports

For more about clean formulations, check out some of my favorite online references:

No More Dirty Looks
Environmental Working Group
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Good Guide


Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published October 2012

Beauty Secrets
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