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Switching to a Japanese Skincare Routine

Hi! My name is Mary Fran and I am a skincare junkie. I made it to Rouge status at Sephora on my skincare habit alone. Really, it’s because I’ve felt like I’ve been fighting a losing battle with my skin my whole life. My skin has been rough, flaky and prone to blackheads and other breakouts since junior high. Layer on super sensitive skin and a slew of allergies and you can see where I might have had a problem finding a solution. It only took until I was 33 (you know, 3 months ago) to discover that the secret to flawless skin could be a Japanese skincare routine.

japanese skin care routine with four Tatcha products

I was unsure what to think when the woman at Sephora took one look at my face when I asked where to find my usual Exfoli-Kate and started grilling me about my current routine. Apparently DIY serums and heavy duty exfoliators weren’t what I needed. She suggested a Tatcha scrub instead. I must have looked a wee bit skeptical about switching to a Japanese skincare routine because her next words were “I don’t know how you feel about her, but Kim Kardashian loves this line…” Now, that isn’t what sold me. It was that there was a sample set I could try and an excellent return policy.


Starting a Japanese Skincare Routine with Tatcha

Asian skincare has been taking the western beauty world by storm and there are 2 main types, Korean and Japanese skincare and they are quite different. I was promised beautiful, porcelain, Geisha skin and it was delivered. I am loving the simplicity of my new skincare routine – I started with just 2 trial products in a starter set and my daily routine is a 3 product, 5 minute routine. It is a bit on the pricier side, but it has been a god send for my tired, sensitive skin. All the products are formulated without gluten, but they are not a certified gluten-free company. For me this didn’t cause any problems.

before using Tatcha
Unretouched photos from before starting this routine. You can see the redness through my makeup on the right – I had on no blush.

Camelia Cleansing Oil, $48

Washing your face with oil can feel counter intuitive. Don’t you want to clean the oil and dirt off your skin? This oil does that. It emulsifies dirt and impurities and contains no mineral oil, so there isn’t any residue. I haven’t needed makeup remover since making the switch to this cleanser. When I first started, I didn’t use an additional moisturizer because this left my skin feeling comfortable even after using the scrub.

Rice Enzyme Scrub, $65

This water activated exfoliant is gentle and effective. It almost feels like it can’t possibly be doing anything to exfoliate your skin, but the proof is in the pudding. Or in the incredibly smooth skin on my face. It promotes skin turn over to make sure that your face is smooth and bright. (If your skin is extra-sensitive, they make a version for you too).

Water Cream, $68

This cream is light and not sticky. It reminds me of the texture of Clinique Moisture Surge, but it performs better. It has green tea, rice, and algae for anti-aging benefits. There’s even a subtle, shine-free glow from a touch of 23-karat gold. The lid even has a little spatula to measure out the perfect pearl-size amount of cream. I was afraid it would be to heavy, but the fancy ingredients keep intense moisture without weight.

Radiance Mask, $68

I’ve never loved a mask this much. Every time I use it, I just want to keep touching my face. It brightens and gently exfoliates leaving skin noticeably brighter and dewy. There’s 2 kinds of vitamin c and a superfood called beautyberry. It’s packed with AHAs from 7 plants for softer, younger looking skin. I’m almost done with my jar and I’m really sad about it.

Other Products

I’ve tried a few other products in the stores and as soon as I am out of my current sunscreen I’ll be switching to their Pore Perfecting Sunscreen, because of the texture and the fact that it is PA+++, one of the highest ratings for UVA protection (SPF only rates UVB protection). I’ve used the sheet mask on a spa night and it was lovely. I also want to add in an eye cream and the dewy skin mist to round out my new routine.


After photos
Unretouched, no makeup after photos.

I wish I had taken better up-close pictures of my skin before the switch. My skin was always red and flaky. So red, you could see it through full coverage foundation. These days, I get compliments all the time about how my skin is looking. My skin is less reactive to makeup and other masks in my arsenal. Laying on my pillow doesn’t hurt. I might even go as far as to say I look less tired just by washing my face. The pores on my nose haven’t totally disappeared in the 8 weeks I’ve been using this Japanese skincare routine, but they do appear much smaller.

Beauty that gives back: Your purchase of a full-sized Tatcha skincare item will fund a day of school for incredible girls through their Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Futures partnership with Room to Read.

Tatcha Radiance Mask


Leave a comment below to win a sample of the Tatcha Radiance Mask. (You must be over 18 and live in the United States to win. Entries end 9/5/2017 at 5pm central time).

This post was not sponsored by either Sephora or Tatcha. I purchased all products myself and my opinions are my own.


  1. Kristine says:

    Wow, those results are amazing! I am always on the lookout for new skin care products, and this looks like a great one to try. Thank you for sharing it! 😄

  2. Lizza says:

    I recently started a semi-Korean routine the same way! I told them I needed a new moisturizer and I left with exfoliant, serum, moisturizer, a mask…it’s so hard not to when your skin feels so amazing!

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