In Part two of our interview with Tatcha founder Vicky Tsai, she discusses her favorite beauty products and how she maintains her beauty philosophy of simplicity.
B: Did you grow up with traditional Asian beauty rituals or was your routine more Americanized?
"I tell myself I've been in beauty care since I was 13. I spent all my weekends and summers working in my mom's beauty boutique in Houston, Texas--I truly grew up surrounded by beauty. We sold everything from Bally handbags and shoes to Shiseido, CHANEL, Dior, and Borghese makeup, it was a real mix. Ethnically I'm Taiwanese, but I had so many different Asian and American influences growing up that my rituals are a fusion of everything."
B: So you understand how western and eastern women perceive beauty differently then?
"Definitely. The biggest difference between western and eastern women is what beauty products they value more. Western women tend to focus on makeup more while eastern women place more value on skincare. However, the information-rich international beauty landscape is undoubtedly blurring the lines between east and west."
B: What's the secret to eastern skincare? Why do Asian women value their skin so much?
"Skin care sales are high in Asia. When you're young, you focus on cleaning your skin correctly and using blotting papers. As you get older, the focus stays on your skin in a simplified routine: cleanse, nourish, protect. Makeup is merely decorative to Asian women, not a cover up. If you take care of your skin, makeup is like the icing on the cake."
B: A lot of women feel mentally and physically overwhelmed with their beauty routine. What advice would you give to people who want to move towards a more simple and uncomplicated beauty regimen?
"I'm a huge fan of multi-taskers. I love my Tatcha Aburatorigami because they apply in place of powder, give the perfect canvas for makeup, and control oil so you're not constantly caking powder on all day. I love using a bronzer that's neutral enough to contour and warm up the face. On my skintone, I use bronzer in place of blush to make me look more alive."
B: What about all the products women already own? Would you chuck those?
"If I went in someone's bathroom to wade through products, the first thing I would do is get rid of anything with harsh ingredients—"instant" anything, irritants, and things that punish the skin. THROW THEM AWAY! You honestly don't need more than a handful of skin care products."
B: Why do you think all of these irritating ingredients exist in skincare and makeup?
"Many Americans don't realize that the FDA has no oversight on beauty, because makeup products are neither a food nor a drug. The FDA does ban the 11 "big" harmful ingredients, but everything else is fair game until an issue pops up. Conversely, Europe and Asia take a "guilty until proven innocent" stance on cosmetics. The international standards are so much higher, it's strange. I recommend going to goodguide.com, a great website for overall cosmetic safety ratings. Educate yourself!"
B: Tatcha's ethos is all about simplicity and authenticity--how has your beauty philosophy changed since you became a mom?
"We launched Tatcha when I went into labor! Simplicity was my philosophy before, now it's my mantra. You still want to feel your most beautiful, but as a mom, there's no extra time to mess around anymore. My routine is fast. When I got pregnant with my daughter and realized what food and beauty products I was limited to, I started to understand what I really should be putting in my body. Every bad toxin from makeup or food can pass on to your baby--that was a wakeup call for me. I have a very holistic approach to beauty and life now."
B: Tell us some top products in your makeup stash right now.
"I keep a pretty minimal makeup stash, but I love Shu Uemura Eye Lash Curler, Shu Uemura Glow On Blush, Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick, and Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Cobalt-it's such a great deep blue! And, of course, I couldn't live without Tatcha blotting papers."