Product review: Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

This powder is a high-end facial cleanser meant to harness the softening and calming qualities of rice bran with the mild exfoliation element of crushed pearl. The product promises gentle cleansing, brightening and an overall benefit to the complexion.

Having used it most days this week, I can say that it definitely fits the “luxury” side of the bill. Tatcha’s whole line is based upon the notion of beauty ritual, harkening to a spa-like skin care regime. This mini jar costs $15 USD at Sephora, making it a pricey trial (the “full-sized” 2.1 ounce jar is $65 USD). This pretty-much sets the bar for high-end skin care in terms of price as well as quality.

Two things jump out at me from the description on the Sephora site (you can google it if you want to, I’m not sending any traffic their way, for the amount of money I make it rain over there, they should probably send me some):

First, as a brand Tacha is really into name-checking Geishas as a key part of their brand story; along with much subtler exoticism.  Add in the usual anti-aging women’s catnip of promises to make your skin like that of an infant. Secondly, Tatcha promises to donate some proceeds from every purchase towards a girls’ education charity. That’s nice. I feel like their entire brand is aiming to snag some dollars from Your Rich Friend’s Well-Meaning Mom Who Definitely Takes A Lot of Benzodiazepines.

The powder canister is a work of lovely design, which even for the trial size feels well-made, sturdy and carefully thought out.

To use the product, you sprinkle a couple shakes into the palm of your hand, add a few drops of water and it lathers up into a subtly rice-smelling grit. I do not mean that in a bad way. It’s a homey, comforting smell without the often overused evils you find in luxury products – artificial scents or dyes being the worst offenders, in my book.

The product does gently cleanse the face, leaving it soft. There is even a mild soothing or anti-inflammatory effect, as rice bran is known to create. I am always interested in skin care products featuring rice derivatives, as they have been used extensively in Asia to combat sensitivity, dryness and eczema in any number of formulations.

In my first-look YouTube video (forthcoming – I will post here once I get a chance to edit it), I mentioned that this product has a good dupe in the form of the Indeed Laboratories Exfoliating Powder, which is a similar product with some ingredient overlap. Overall the Indeed is a much more affordable product in this category – but they are still formulated very differently and I do find that over a week’s use I can definitely see some differences between the two.

The key differences between the two are obvious in perusing their ingredient lists:

First, Indeed Laboratories Exfoliating Powder:

sodium myristoyl glutamate, malic acid, sodium carbonate, peg-150, zea mays (corn) starch, sorbitol, sodium lauroyl glutamate, sodium polyacrylate, polyethylene, phenoxyethanol, silica, alcohol, menthol, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, cladosiphon okamuranus extract, phyllostachys heterocycla stem extract, bromelain, butylene glycol, water, dextrin, oryza sativa (rice) bran extract.

Second, the Tatcha rice enzyme powder:

Oryza Sativa (rice) Powder, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Cellulose, Water, Papain (papaya Extract), Camellia Sinensis (green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (pearl) Protein, Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran, Algae Extract, Glycerin, Dextrin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol

You’ll note that the overlap mainly lies in the rice bran. Overall the Tatcha seems to have a lot more other extracts, presumably naturally-derived. While rice bran is low on the list for both powders, the Tatcha powder does begin with a base of rice. The Indeed powder is in a base of baking soda and corn starch – this alone can explain a lot of the price differential.

Overall I do think if you want to try the Tatcha powder, you should. If you’re on a budget they often offer free samples, and the company’s customer service is often raved about among internet-beauty crowd. It is a gentle, eczema-friendly product with some noticeable softening and brightening effect. If you are into ritualistic, soothing skin care regimen, this would be a great addition to your routine.

If you’re on a budget or having a low/no spend period, then I would recommend skipping it for now and maybe trying the Indeed formula if you want a similar spa-like gently exfoliating facial cleanser without the exorbitant cost.

Overall grade: B+

Will I buy again? Only if I’m feeling spendy; considering purchasing a trial kit from their website.





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