The In-Tray


Victoria Tsai had a lightbulb moment when she travelled to Japan seven years ago and was introduced to the world of geishas. “Without their stage makeup on, their skin is so clear and smooth, whether they are 20 or 80,” she says. “I thought, I’ll have what you’re having.” And she did exactly that, tapping into their centuries-old beauty traditions and launching cult skin care brand Tatcha, which is now available (and flying off the shelves) at Mecca Cosmetica in Australia. MM sat down with Victoria Tsai, the woman behind the brand.

TMM: Tell us what you love about the Japanese culture?
VS: “There is a beautiful word in Japanese, omotenashi. It translates roughly to ‘hospitality’, but it’s much more than that. Omotenashi is a way of approaching life, of caring for people, whether they are family or friends or clients. It means that their happiness is your happiness, their comfort is your comfort. That, to me, is the embodiment of Japanese culture.”

TMM: We are excited to have the Tatcha brand hit Australian shores. Can you tell us your favourite in the range?
VS: “I can’t possibly choose just one; it’s like asking me to choose from my children. I don’t have a single favourite, but I do have my own ritual. In the morning, I polish my skin with The Deep Polish—the gentle daily exfoliation which helps to promote cell turnover. Then I pat on The Essence to flood skin with hydration, then apply The Silk Cream to hydrate and protect my skin. In the evening I melt away any makeup or SPF with our Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, then follow again with The Essence and The Silk Cream. I also apply the Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream overnight, all the way up to my eyebrows and down to my cheekbones, like big sunglasses.”

TMM: What is the one beauty product you can’t live without?
VS: “Red lipstick. Even if you don’t have time for makeup or simply aren’t feeling your most glamorous, a swipe of iconic red lipstick will make you look and feel instantly put-together.”

TMM: You split your time between Japan and your home in San Francisco—what do you love about Japan?
VS: “On my first trip to Kyoto, I was struck by the kindness of the people there. Each person that I encountered, whether it was a taxi driver or a shopkeeper or a geisha, went above and beyond to help me and cared about the experience I was having.”

TMM: Is there a mantra that you live by?
VS: “Beauty begins from the inside out.”

TMM: What’s the biggest life lesson you have learnt?
VS: “The mantra above is one that I learned from the geisha. You can spend lots of money on skin care and makeup and fancy clothing, but beauty truly begins in the heart and the mind. If you have a kind heart and are joyful, your beauty will shine through.”

TMM: What is your secret talent?
VS: “Parallel parking.”

TMM: In 2015 your company was listed as the second fastest growing privately owned company in the US led by a woman by Inc. Magazine—how did that make you feel?
VS: “Thank you! It was humbling to realise that these classical rituals were resonating with so many people, not just me. But things move so quickly at Tatcha, we barely had time to celebrate—we were already thinking about the next year, and the year after that.”


Purify and polish skin: “The most important part of a geisha’s skin care ritual is unburdening it from the day, whether it’s makeup, SPF, dirt or dead skin cells. I use the Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil to melt away makeup, then our water-activated Polished Rice Enzyme Powder to polish skin like a jewel.”

Facial massage: “While cleansing or applying moisturiser, I take an extra few seconds to gently massage the skin. It helps promote microcirculation, and turns what could be a chore into a meditative experience. You can use several different facial massage techniques, but the key is to always move in upward strokes, and outward from the centre of the face.”

Bathing: “This is an important Japanese ritual, they take a bath twice a day, and shower and cleanse thoroughly before even setting foot in the tub. The long soak is a very reflective time, and I often add slices of orange or lemon, or oils like camellia oil, to make it a luxurious experience.”

Matcha green tea: “I’ve always been a coffee drinker, but now I try to start my morning with a cup of matcha green tea. I love the ritual of whisking together the tea, and it’s full of antioxidants to begin the day. It’s one of those beautiful ingredients that is good for your health and your skin alike.”

Editor’s note: Tatcha is available exclusively at Mecca Cosmetica.


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