Every once in a while, a beauty product inspires a frenzy that leads to gushing online reviews and sold out inventory. One of those runaway products is Tatcha Water Cream, which debuted in 2017 and quickly became the best-selling cream at Sephora in April 2017—and sold out twice that month. Here’s a look at what makes this cream so special, what’s in it, and is it worth the hype?
What is Tatcha Skin Care?
Tatcha skincare was created by Harvard Business School grad Victoria Tsai. The beauty entrepreneur says she used to suffer from acute dermatitis and eczema, until a trip to Kyoto changed her skin, as well as her career path. According to Tatcha, while traveling in Kyoto, Tsai asked a geisha in a beauty store how she achieved her flawless looking skin. Their conversation led Tsai to delve into the world of geishas and traditional Japanese skincare. According to company lore, Tsai learned about classical Japanese beauty secrets passed down through generations thanks to an ancient text, which the company still uses today for inspiration and ideas. Tsai’s complexion cleared up once she adopted a Japanese skincare routine, which is meant to gentle. The idea for Tatcha was born, and the company launched in 2009. Its products are created in conjunction with modern day geishas as well as Japanese scientists. Tatcha’s skincare philosophy is “less is more” and uses traditional Japanese ingredients such as green tea, pearl, silk rice and algae.
What is Tatcha Water Cream?
The Water Cream is an oil-free, anti-aging moisturizer formulated for normal as well as normal to oily skin types. It is important to note that the cream is not meant for those with dry skin. The Water Cream is packed with Japanese botanicals and superfoods, and is designed to balance and hydrate the skin. The formula is part of a new wave of Japanese and Korean beauty products that “burst” upon application, which are meant to deliver a dose of nutrients without leaving the skin greasy or sticky. The addition of 23 karat gold is meant to leave behind a little glow. The milky white cream, which some beauty editors describe as looking like vanilla pudding, comes with a gold spatula for scooping it out of the jar.
What Ingredients Are in Tatcha Water Cream?
The Water Cream contains Japanese Wild Rose to help tighten pores and smooth skin texture; Japanese leopard lily to keep oil production in check and also encourage skin cell turnover; Hadasei-3, Tatcha’s signature anti-aging trio of green tea, rice and algae, along with a touch of 23 karat gold. Other ingredients include dimethicone (a silicone), glycerin (a humectant), and sodium hyaluronate, a water soluble form of hyaluronic acid. The cream is formulated without mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, parabens, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates.
How Should Tatcha Water Cream Be Used?
The Water Cream can be used twice a day, in the morning and at night.
How Much is Tatcha Water Cream?
A 10ml travel size pot of Tatcha Water Cream sells for $20 while the full sized 50 ml jar is $68.
Where is Tatcha Water Cream Sold?
Tatcha Water Cream and all Tatcha products are sold on its website as well as Sephora and select Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels, as well as select Joyce beauty locations in Hong Kong.
Is Tatcha Water Cream Cruelty Free?
Yes. As the company states, “We have proudly informed you that we are a cruelty-free skincare company — we do not test on animals in any country, nor do our chemists, raw material suppliers, formulators or manufacturers.”
Does Tatcha Water Cream Work?
Beauty and skincare is not a one size all approach. A little experimentation is always necessary to find the right products for your skin as one person’s hero product may do nothing for you. It’s always helpful to look at customer reviews and editorial write ups as a starting point when wondering if a product is worth a try.
Tatcha Water Cream debuted to an avalanche of press and influencer love, and sold out twice at Sephora when it first launched. Glamour magazine wrote, “It’s singular. It’s The Water Cream… The Water Cream is one of those hybrid gel moisturizers that work so well this time of year—scoop out a plop of the white jelly-pudding moisturizer, rub it in, and it’s gone in under seven seconds.” The article did note that in case the $68 price tag was too much, options like Neutrogena’s Hydro-Gel Moisturizer were available at the drugstore.
In a different Glamour write up, editor Samantha Leach wrote, “I was shocked by how hydrated my face felt after using this lightweight option. The water-based texture is so refreshing and still gives me the same level of moisture…” Harper’s Bazaar notes that the brand is a favorite of Meghan Markle’s and “It’s no wonder celebrity makeup artists and Youtubers swear by it.”
An editor at Refinery29 reviewed it soon after its debut. “Well, not only is it practically weightless — seriously, when I tried it, I almost forgot it was on — but it’s also like splashing water onto your face. That’s because the formula has a unique delivery system that bursts when it comes in contact with your skin, releasing a cooling sensation and a pool of anti-aging ingredients.” Vogue included the Water Cream in a 2018 round up looking at the best summer moisturizers–“Japanese brand Tatcha’s latest product bathes the skin in a water-like consistency and absorbs instantly, meaning it doubles as a primer for makeup.”
A 2017 article in the Huffington Post asked if the cream was worth the hype, and posed the question to a few dermatologists. They zeroed in on the addition of gold. Janellen Smith, a dermatology professor at the University of California Irvine, told the Huffington Post that the gold wasn’t likely to be doing much. “Gold sounds sexy, but there can’t possibly be much [in Water Cream], because gold costs over $1,000 an ounce,” she added. Marie Jhin, a dermatologist at California Pacific Medical Center, noted that the botanicals and fragrance in the Water Cream (along with many other skincare and makeup products) may cause contact dermatitis in people with sensitive skin.
What do real people think about it? On Sephora’s website, the Water Cream gets a 4.2 out of 5 star rating, from more than 2,000 reviews and 180,000 “loves.” Fans of the cream loved the texture and how it made their skin feel. BossLady87 called it “A miracle in a jar…this completely transformed my face, of course it had to be the $82 cream BUT dare I say it’s worth it.” For Dmarsh1, the Water Cream was a “Holy Grail Product! My skin is the best it has ever been. Seriously. This moisturizer has an interesting texture because it is lighter than most moisturizers I have used. I know this sounds weird, but it feels like I am putting water on my face.”
Customers who didn’t give the product high marks said that it didn’t do anything for their skin or caused a breakout. DTOBak said, “So much hype and not true. All the hype… and did no moisture to my skin at all. I have combo oily and this dries me out more I got a sample with my points and will be tossing —disappointing for sure.” Klangdon wrote, “Don’t waste your money. A Sephora employee recommended this to me to help control my oil. It hasn’t worked at all! I don’t see a difference in my pores either. It also takes a long time to soak into my skin.”
On Influenster, the Water Cream gets a 4.6 out of 5 star rating, based on more than 3,000 reviews. Many reviewers cited the light texture. CeciliaF writes, “I have been using this product after Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma day serum…my skin is the best it has ever been.” JulieH calls it, “The best $70 I’ve ever spent on skincare. This cream was like a huge burst of hydration. My skin loved me. I used morning and night as the last step in my skincare routine. My face had a few little dry patches. Those disappeared and have not been back in about 5 months.” Reviewers who were not fans of the product said that it made them break out, or did nothing to moisturize their face. “This product is the worst, it doesn’t do anything to my skin, [I] feel like I’m putting nothing on. It doesn’t really moisturize and it’s just so overpriced. It also made me break out on areas of my face that I’ve never broke[n]out before, wouldn’t recommend,” wrote JenniferJ.
What Are Some Alternatives to Tatcha Water Cream?
Tatcha Water Cream may not be the right choice for you, because perhaps it did nothing for your skin, or you have dry skin that needs a bit more TLC. Consider these two moisturizers from Formulyst, whose philosophy is long-term and effective skincare. The brand wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin, rather than covering it up with makeup.
To keep skin plumped, hydrated and dewy looking, one of the most effective ingredients is hyaluronic acid. It occurs naturally in the body (including eyeballs and skin), and it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturize is an oil free formula packed with multiple types of hyaluronic acid and it works as a moisture magnet by drawing water to the skin.
The Ultra Light Gel Moisturizer is formulated to provide deep hydration with a feather light texture, while also protecting it from environmental damage. The lightweight gel is designed for dull aging skin, and leaves it looking nourished and glowing. The Ultra Light Gel Moisturizer helps smooth and brighten the skin, thanks to cloudberry and vitamins A, C and E. Snow algae extract works to support skin cell’s natural resilience against damaging free radicals.