Monday, October 21, 2013

Skincare Ritual of the Geisha: TATCHA Camellia Cleansing Oil & Rice Enzyme Powder Review

Which one of us wouldn't want to indulge in the skincare ritual of the geisha and take advantage of their wisdom to achieve baby-soft porcelain skin? I for sure was intrigued when I first learned about TATCHA, a luxury skincare brand inspired by a 200-years old Japanese beauty manuscript discovered by the founder on her travels to Kyoto. I was given a chance to try out their One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil and the Rice Enzyme Powder in the Classic version, and after roadtesting it for about three months, I'd like to share my geisha skincare experience with you.
Firstly, a couple words about the packaging: I don't think I have ever seen any skincare products packaged with such exquisite attention to detail. The outside of the cardboard boxes resembles the texture of dark polished wood, while the inside surprises with a bold violet & ultramarine pattern of bamboo leaves. The products nestled inside are wrapped in hand crafted paper, inscribed with the details about the formulation. The cleansing oil bottle and the rice powder jar are both made out of heavy plastic with a pearlized sheen, embossed with the company logo in gold and navy, and have a very secure closing system for travel. In short, they're beautiful and practical and definitely evoke a sense of luxury. And yes, I have still not thrown my boxes away.
The One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48 for 150 ml/5.1 fl oz) is a light blend of rice bran and camellia oils that claims to remove even waterproof make-up without the need to double cleanse. All TATCHA products are formulated without mineral oil, synthetic colors and fragrances, sulfate detergents, parabens, PEGs, PPGs, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates so should be suitable for many sensitive or allergy-prone skintypes. The texture of this oil isn't overly viscuous so it spreads nicely on dry skin, allowing for a bit of a facial massage. The product turns into a milk when water is added and rinses away easily, leaving no oily residue or a tight feeling - my face just feels soft and clean, like it should.
Compared to Dermalogica's Precleanse (click for a review), this seems lighter and rinses off better, so yes, you can absolutely use it as your single cleanser, unlike the Dermalogica one which needs to be followed by another skintype-specific cleanser. The TATCHA Cleansing Oil also seems to cloud my eyes a bit less than the Dermalogica, while remaining just as effective; I don't really wear a lot of waterproof make-up, but it removes lots of black mascara and eyeliner without effort. All in all, a big thumbs up from me.
The Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ($65 for 60 g/2.1 oz) is a powder to cream exfoliant formulated with rice bran, papaya and a proprietary HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex (an anti-ageing blend of green tea, red algae and rice bran extracts). I use it by tipping about half a teaspoon of powder from the jar into damp hands and massaging onto a damp face. The powder turns into a slightly foamy, smooth cream with tiny exfoliating particles, and rinses away leaving my skin softer, smoother and my pores more refined, without causing any redness or irritation. The Classic version (there's also  Deep and Gentle formulations available) seems suitable for daily use on my combination/oily sensitive skin.
Again, compared to Dermalogica's equivalent product, the Daily Microfoliant, the TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder seems a bit more refined and gentler. The particles in the Dermalogica (physical and chemical) powder exfoliant are larger and a bit rougher. As a result, the Microfoliant can sometimes sensitize my finicky skin and despite the name, I absolutely can't use it every day. Even though in general, I prefer to use strictly chemical exfoliants, I do enjoy reaching for my TATCHA powder for a nice change in my evening routine.

Overall, I definitely recommend you take a look at TATCHA's Cleansing Oil and Rice Enzyme Powder if you're looking for a simple, luxurious cleansing and exfoliating skincare routine. I don't think these products alone can necessarily address more complex skin issues like acne or excessive dryness (which I don't think is their aim anyway), but they would be well suited for normal skintypes, or great staples for the more demanding ones, to be complemented by more targeted treatments. TATCHA products are available online at, and at, where you can get the Cleansing Oil and Rice Enzyme Powder set for just under $85, as well as in store at Barneys.

Disclaimer: This post features products I received from TATCHA for review consideration free of charge. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided as a free press sample. Thank you for reading!


  1. I'd have a hard time throwing out the boxes too, although recently I tossed ALL makeup boxes that I had been hoarding ever since discovering that a lot of bloggers keep them for mysterious reasons.

    I might try the cleansing oil some day. Tried a sample sachet of the rice enzyme and it was a bit of a trial trying to add the right amount of water.

    1. Oh, the mysterious power of make-up and skincare boxes... I don't really add any water to mine, I find it easier to just spread the powder on damp face - there's usually enough water there to turn it into a workable consistency :)

  2. So glad you finally got to try these lovely products for yourself! I am in LOVE with the Camellia Cleansing Oil. It's the first cleansing oil I've ever tried and honestly, I love it so much I don't feel the need to try any other. It just rinses off SO cleanly--not like the horror stories I've heard from other brands' offerings, with their greasy residue. Def doesn't sound very appealing for someone like me with oily, acne-prone skin.

    It's pricey and I've never paid that much for a cleanser before but I am rapidly coming to the end of my 1st bottle and have realized that I cannot live without it! *sigh* really hope I find another job soon. :P lol!

    1. I've tried two other cleansing oils before, the DHC one and the Dermalogica mentioned, but the TATCHA is definitely the nicest one I've tried so far. I agree the price can be a bit steep, but you don't really need a lot, so at least it should last a while :) And I'm sure you'll find a great job soon!

  3. i'm in love with the cleansing oil! i haven't tried the powder yet as i'm trying to use up some stuff, but i definitely want to!!