Victoria Tsai is always on the move. As founder and CEO of skincare brand Tatcha, Tsai skips across the globe from her home base in San Francisco to research new products with scientists in Japan; she’s always on the hunt for potent natural ingredients that slow the effects of aging on the skin. Green tea, rice and algae are among Tatcha’s core elements.
The concept behind the brand was inspired by a fateful meeting Tsai had with a modern-day geisha in Kyoto in 2009. The woman walked her through the soothing-but-still-effective skincare rituals that have helped protect the heavily maquillaged faces of geisha for centuries. Tsai was captivated, and Tatcha was born months later.
We caught up with the beauty pro in Los Angeles as she introduced Tatcha’s latest product—the pearl-infused Silk Canvas primer ($52)—and got the scoop on her essential travel items, what Americans can learn from the Japanese approach to skincare, and the country she’d like to visit next. But, most importantly, we took note of Tsai’s motto: “Treat your face like it’s the only one you’ve got.”
What skincare items are always in your bag?
A pack of Tatcha Original Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Paper, a Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, a mini Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream, a Goldspun Camellia Lip Balm (your lips are skin, too!), and a little something for bright eyes that Tatcha is introducing later this year.
What product are you most excited about right now?
The Silk Canvas has totally changed my skin. I’m meticulous about caring for my skin, but would get congestion from the makeup I have to wear for TV. The more congested my skin becomes, the more makeup I have to wear, and the cycle continues. The Silk Canvas shields the skin from makeup and pollution, while also blurring pores and helping makeup wear beautifully all day. Now, my skin doesn’t get congested and most days The Silk Canvas is all I need to wear. It took us years to develop — we needed to create a skincare-first formula, with barrier properties which come from pressing together three types of silk to create a second skin.
Tell us your must-have travel items.
- A Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask, because flying steals moisture from the skin
- An Akari Gold Massager to de-puff the eyes and face
- Melatonin, a silk eye mask and a silk pillowcase for a good night’s sleep
- A Briggs & Riley suitcase. I love this brand and they have a lifetime warranty that they stand behind.
What’s your favorite podcast?
I love the podcast Fat Mascara.
What about your favorite TV series?
The Handmaid’s Tale. Elisabeth Moss is incredible.
What’s your go-to advice for great skin?
Treat your face like it’s the only one you’ve got. Cleansing and polishing the skin without stripping it of natural moisture is one of the most important things we can do, but we often skip it in the Western world. The Essence is the one formula you never knew you needed, but won’t be able to live without if you haven’t tried an essence before.
What can Americans learn from the Japanese approach to skincare?
Gentle strength and pure formulas. The Western approach to skincare is often very aggressive, treating fine lines with lasers and breakouts with strong, alcohol-based treatments. In Japan, they use clean ingredients that are gentle on the skin, but still efficacious and preventative.
How do you stay energized throughout the day?
I’m diligent about getting a full night of sleep, no matter what. I’m usually in bed by 9pm. During the day, I rely on coffee, matcha green tea and moving around as much as I can. I often physically run from meeting to meeting, in part to stay on time on a packed schedule but also because it keeps me energized.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Kyoto, during cherry blossom season. I’ve gone multiple times a year for a decade, but I only caught the cherry blossoms in full bloom one time. My daughter was with me at the time – she was seven years old. It was magical.
What destination is next on your list?
I would love to visit Nepal. We have a partnership with Room to Read where every purchase helps fund girls’ education, and are coming up on two million days of school funded, which means the world to us. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of their programs and meet the students, which is an experience that opens the heart and the mind to the world around us. Room to Read began in Nepal and I would love to visit.