The term “clean brand” has been gaining traction in the beauty industry. At its core, it refers to products that are mindfully created without any ingredients known or suspected to be harmful. Products are often non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic, and eco-friendly. Essentially, clean brands are committed to transparency and the health and safety of consumers and the environment.
While the clean beauty movement has grown exponentially, it’s important to note this is an unregulated industry. There are no hard and fast rules defining what makes a product “clean”. Many brands claim to be clean even if they include questionable ingredients, making it increasingly vital for consumers to investigate these claims themselves.
To help navigate the murky waters of clean beauty, this article specifically investigates one such brand, Tatcha. We’ll be unpacking their claims of being a clean brand and analyzing their product ingredients to see if they live up to the hype.
The Backstory of Tatcha: A Brief Overview
Tatcha is a luxury skincare brand inspired by classical Japanese beauty secrets. Its founder, Victoria Tsai, credits her encounters with a modern-day geisha in Kyoto as the inspiration behind the brand. Tatcha aims to combine traditional Japanese skincare practices with modern science to create a distinct range of products.
The brand’s product line includes cleansers, creams, masks and more that are claimed to be non-irritating and non-sensitizing. Tatcha emphasizes its use of pure, proven ingredients — grounded in the approach that less is more.
In addition to its intriguing backstory, Tatcha has made some impressive claims about being a clean brand. It purports to be both cruelty-free and vegan. Now, let’s examine these claims closely.
Tatcha’s Claims: Vegan and Cruelty-Free Products
Tatcha asserts that they are a cruelty-free brand, meaning their products are not tested on animals. They also claim to be a vegan brand, implying that their products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
Such claims are increasingly appealing to conscious consumers who value ethical and sustainable practices. However, it’s crucial to remember that these labels are often used as marketing tools. Therefore, they should be scrutinized carefully.
In the next two sections, we will dive deeper into Tatcha’s assertions, looking into their animal testing policies and the composition of their products.
The Examination: Is Tatcha Really Cruelty-Free?
Tatcha’s website states they do not test on animals, and they are certified by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program. This is a good sign, as this program only lists companies that have proven they do not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products.
However, it’s worth noting that Tatcha was purchased by Unilever in 2019, a multinational corporation that does not have a clean record when it comes to animal testing. Unilever claims they aim to end animal testing and have made some progress, yet they still test on animals where required by law.
Therefore, while Tatcha itself might not conduct animal testing, its parent company has a less than stellar record. This connection could be a concern for those with strict cruelty-free standards.
Scrutinizing Tatcha’s Vegan Claims
Just like their cruelty-free claims, Tatcha also states that their products are vegan. However, not all of their products reflect this claim. Several Tatcha products contain silk, honey, and Royal Jelly, which are all animal-derived ingredients.
For instance, their immensely popular ‘The Silk Canvas’ contains silk, and their ‘The Kissu Lip Mask’ has honey as an ingredient. Therefore, while some of their products are vegan, Tatcha as a whole cannot be classified as a vegan brand.
This is a critical reminder that it’s always necessary to read the ingredient lists, even when a product is advertised as vegan.
Analyzing Tatcha’s Ingredient Lists
Tatcha’s website emphasizes their use of ‘clean’ ingredients. They claim to avoid at least 1,500 ingredients that are potentially harmful to the skin. However, they use ingredients like alcohol and fragrance, which can be irritating to some skin types.
Tatcha uses a proprietary ‘Hadasei-3’ complex in many of their products, composed of green tea, rice, and algae. These three ingredients are touted for their anti-aging properties, but the brand also includes several other ingredients that don’t necessarily align with the clean beauty ethos.
Overall, while Tatcha does use some beneficial and ‘clean’ ingredients, their complete list of ingredients doesn’t entirely reflect their clean brand claims.
The Verdict: Is Tatcha a Truly Clean Brand?
Based on the analysis, Tatcha has some elements of a clean brand but falls short in key areas. They are certified cruelty-free, but their ties to Unilever may pose a concern for staunch cruelty-free advocates. Their vegan claims are misleading, as many of their products contain animal-derived ingredients.
While Tatcha does avoid a significant number of harmful ingredients, the inclusion of potentially irritating substances like alcohol and fragrance is questionable.
Therefore, while elements of Tatcha’s ethos adhere to the clean brand concept, they might not meet the stringent standards of every clean beauty enthusiast.
Alternatives to Tatcha: Other Clean Beauty Brands to Consider
For those looking for alternatives that fully embody the clean beauty ethos, brands like Tata Harper, Herbivore Botanicals, and RMS Beauty could be worth considering. These brands are transparent about their ingredients and demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainable and ethical practices.
In the end, it’s important to realize that the term ‘clean beauty’ is broad and means different things to different people. Always scrutinize product labels, do your due diligence, and choose brands that align with your personal standards.