Tatcha the Water Cream

Tatcha the Water Cream Review.jpg

What is it?

It’s a de-luxe lightweight moisturizer.

What’s it Like?

Texture? Water cream is pretty well stated. It’s like the creamiest gel, or a marshmallowy, wet cream.

Color? Bright, gleaming white at 96% opacity.

Fragrance? Clean. The fragrance that fragrance companies sell as “ocean” or like “blue tide.” You know the ones? Like, cucumber, and like, some sort of flower…

Is it sticky? No, it goes from properly solid to semi fluid to occlusive without ever being sticky. This was surprising to me: it has a glossiness that makes it look as if it will dry with some tack.

How does it absorb? Quickly. It leaves a mild feeling of occlusion behind, but not in a filmy way.

Does it provide a ‘lifting’ effect? No, but it does provide a plumping effect.

Does it flare acne? Not for me.

What is the finish? Dewy. A thorough, hydrated glow.

How does it feel on the skin?

So, if one has ever used a gel cream, one is likely familiar with how they have a trick texture. They are loose but relatively solid in the tub. Once friction is applied, they dissolve into a wet, pseudo-serum texture. This is quickly absorbed by the skin. Then the formula seems to reform into a lightweight barrier to provide occlusion. This action is beloved by my skin, as it really seems to provide a lasting, dewey, hydrated glow. This is the perceived action of many products: Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, Dr Jart + Water Fuse.. there are many which are well known.


The Tatcha has this same character, but it is the Bergdorf Goodman version. It just feels a lot more upscale. It’s easy to criticize the other water gels for their discernible silicone slip. The Tatcha water cream lacks that slippiness, and instead has a softer, more pillowy richness. It doesn’t go fully liquid with friction: it goes milky, not watery. It feels nourishing and hydrating.

For which concerns is do you think it is best?

This is a great product for surface dryness. I really believe that one should fix surface dryness before trying to work on any other skin concern. I find the Water Cream to have the ideal texture for treating any surface dryness on my complexion.

I think it is a good moisturizing cream for all skins, but I think oily / combination / dehydrated skins will find this product to be the most useful.

How do you use it?

Like a moisturizer: second to last in the morning, last in the evening. This product is buildable: it doesn’t roll on top of itself or seem to stop absorbing, so I tend to apply it in layers, a little bit at a time. This additive quality is a nice feature – it makes it such that this product can span seasons: use a bit more in dryer, colder months, and a bit less in humid weather.

What are your opinions?

I feel compelled to write that the last thing the internet needs is another endorsement of this product. It is beloved my many beauty writers, and I can understand why. Here are things I like about it:

  1. The texture. It is so lush and lovely. On the skin, it melts from a gel cream into a milky lotion-serum sort of texture, which absorbs quickly and feels nourishing and filling. It also layers well on top of itself, so if one finds that one’s initial application was insufficiently moisturizing, one can keep on going.

  2. I like how it makes my skin look. It is marketed as a product that reduces the visible size of pores, and I sort of see this – it has a silken, super lightweight, soft focus kind of finish. It couples this with dewey radiance. It is totally transient and short lived – it won’t last after one has ceased using the product – but it is really nice.

  3. It feels expensive. Everything about it feels luxurious, and there is something to be said for that. If you can’t be rich, feel rich. This a reasonable way to do that.

Now, do I think it is particularly special, or amazing, or the only thing that one needs? No. I don’t. I mean, it’s a moisturizer. There are thousands of good moisturizers on this planet. While I like the Water Cream very much and think that it is very good, it isn’t the second coming in gel cream form. It’s just a good moisturizer. And this isn’t a read – a good moisturizer is something to celebrate.

Can you say something about the brand?

Tatcha is a skincare-focused cosmetics company based on the beauty routines of Japanese Geishas. Harvard MBA Victoria Tsai founded the company in 2009 with funds generated by selling her engagement ring. Each product in Tatcha’s line contains their trademarked Hadasei-3 complex, which is a combination of fermented green tea, rice, and algae. The brand has a partnership with education the charity Room to Read, through which the brand donates a portion of proceeds towards the funding of education for girls in Asia and Africa.

They have a big line, and I feel like I’ve used a lot of it, but in reality I seem to have barely scratched the surface. What I have used seems to be, on the whole, fine and high end. The Camellia Oil is fine – it feels nourishing, but is expensive. I’m not obsessed with the Deep Cleanse (it doesn’t really feel special to me, and I don’t like the fragrance) but the Cleansing Oil is good – lightweight. The Vitamin C Mask is a very lovely violet color, and gives a brightening effect, but I found that it left my face a bit red, and was kind of sensitizing. The Luminous Dewy Skin Mask – a hydrating serum impregnated in a very elegant sheet of rice paper – does add a great hydrated bounce, but it is pretty expensive. So, overall, I like the products and think they are perfectly lovely, but wouldn’t necessarily go to great lengths to pursue them. I really, really like the Water Cream, and I love the sunscreen.


Full Ingredients List

Water | Saccharomyces/Camellia Sinensis Leaf/Cladosiphon Okamuranus/Rice Ferment Filtrate Tatcha’s proprietary Hadasei-3, a blend of fermented botanical extracts which are rich in antioxidants and have humectant properties | Dimethicone emollient, texture enhancer. Forms a permeable barrier that prevents transepidermal water loss. | Propanediol solvent, emollient | Glycerin humectant | Diglycerin humectant | Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone emollient | Gold a precious metal | Belamcanda Chinensis Root Extract botanical antioxidant | Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract botanical antioxidant | Houttuynia Cordata Extractbotanical antioxidant | Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract botanical extract, likely helpful for skin brightening | Sodium Hyaluronate humectant | Lecithin emulsifying agent | Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) Gum an aromatic botanical that apparently reduces sebum production | Sodium Chloride preservative | Sodium Citrate pH balancer | Mica a glittery rock, used to make this product sparkly | Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone Lauryl Dimethicone a texture enhancing emollient | Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer emollient | Dimethicone/Phenyl Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer viscosity controller | Disodium EDTA stabilizer | Tin Oxide coloring agent | Titanium Dioxide here, a coloring agent | Butylene Glycol solvent | Ethylhexylglycerin preservative stabilizer | Fragrance | Alcohol solvent, preservative | Phenoxyethanol preservative

Note: Some people will complain about how this product has gold in it, because it doesn't offer any skin benefits and can potentially be problematic. I really couldn't give less of a damn about the gold. I like how this cream makes my skin feel. If the concentration of gold in this cream gilds my face to an early grave, please feel free to ouija me an "I told you so."


$68 / 50ml | $1.36 / ml

For how long have you used it?

I’ve had this in rotation for about 6 months. I used it exclusively as a moisturizer for around 2 months, which is the amount of time it took me to get 80% through the 50 ml jar.

Similar to

As above, this is the more upscale, nicer feeling version of the Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb. I like the Belif a lot, but some people don’t because it has a lot of booze in it. I don’t really care about alcohol in things – my skin tolerates it fine. The Tatcha feels a shade more occlusive and more nourishing for me.

If one is looking for a similar product at the drugstore, I’d recommend the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluronic Acid for Extra-Dry Skin. Get the Gel-Cream for Extra-Dry skin – it is a better product than the Gel. It’s a lightweight gel cream, and is basically the same product as the Tatcha. It doesn’t feel as nourishing or high end, but it’s the same idea and is more affordable.

My current favorite gel cream is the SkinMedica Ultra Sheer Moisturizer, which is similar to the Tatcha in that it is a lightweight moisturizer. I like the SkinMedica because it really gives a radiant boost to my complexion and is fragrance free (a quality which I don’t actively pursue, but generally think of as a positive). It doesn’t go milky like the Tatcha does: the SkinMedica is a proper, solid gel cream. It isn’t as fun or fancy as the Tatcha is, but I like how it makes my skin feel more.