tatcha | luminous deep hydration firming serum

tatcha luminous deep hydration firming serum

In the green beauty world, we throw around the world “serum” to encompass anything from sticky, tacky-feeling serum-gels to bona fide face oils cleverly called “super serums.”

According to the beauty encyclopedia in my head, serums are lightweight, gel-like substances packed with highly active ingredients designed to address particular skin issues.

The feel of TATCHA’s Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum fits the encyclopedia definition above, with a perfect, non-sticky, gel consistency that’s featherlight and quick-drying, making it easy to layer your creams or plant oils atop if you so choose.

All of the active ingredients, though, are up for debate.

tatcha luminous deep hydration firming serum

{TATCHA sent me a sample of its Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum to review. It costs $95 for a 1-ounce plastic pump jar. Photo Courtesy TATCHA}

TATCHA describes its Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum as a deeply hydrating blend of Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid designed to nourish skin that needs a shot of moisture and a bit of glow.

In true TATCHA fashion, this serum is packed with 23-karat gold flecks that gives skin a lit-from-within look without adding heavy shimmer or glitter to the face. You can see the light flecks and shimmer in the photo below.

I enjoy using TATCHA’s Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum as a base layer in my skincare (after washing and toning) and then layering on oils and creams if necessary. If you have oily skin like me, you will find that this serum slicks on very easily and dries almost instantly.

It won’t goo up the way some sticky serums do, and you can easily blend it with your favorite facial oils if you don’t want apply layer by layer of beauty products. It just takes one pump to cover the whole face. Try one and a half pumps to include your neck.

If you’re able to, TATCHA’s Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum is an absolute gem to blend with the brand’s Gold Camellia Beauty Oil. Can you just imagine the gold glow you will have with these two products combined?!

It also blends well with other beautiful, lightweight oils, and the scent is somewhat neutral so it won’t compete. It smells a bit like rice and a flower petal, but isn’t exactly floral. It’s just a very baby-soft scent.

tatcha luminous deep hydration firming serum

As part of the “Water” collection, TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum harnesses the power of Okinawan red algae and hyaluronic acid to soothe and firm skin while injecting moisture.

TATCHA also takes advantage of green beauty favorites such as silk extract, olive squalene, camellia extract and royal jelly extract, all known for their ability to soften and soothe skin.

My concern with this product, though, is that a lot of that good stuff is further down on the ingredients list.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Alcohol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polyglyceryl-10 Eicosanedioate/Tetradecanedioate, Carrageenan (Algae Extract), Fragrance (All Natural), Inositol (Rice Extract), Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sericin (Silk Extract), Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice Extract), Silica, Hydrogenated Lecithin (Soy Origin), Squalane (Olive Origin), Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Algae Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Gold, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xanthan Gum Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Butelyne Glycol, HDI/Trimethylol, Hexyllactone Crosspolymere, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite

I will be the first to note that the ingredients list looks intimidating, but a quick run through the EWG Skin Deep Database reveals that most of these ingredients score in the 0-2 range, with the exception of phenoxyethanol (4), which a lot of you avoid anyway.

And, as you can see, TATCHA is formulated without parabens, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates.

I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews of products that contain it, but the inclusion of alcohol (ingredient No. 5) is what gives me the most pause, as it’s known to be very drying to the skin — and the inclusion of it is higher up on the list.

With that said, my skin has never felt tight, itchy or dry using TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum. It’s the long-term effects of using alcohol-laden skincare that’s always up for discussion.

I would love to hear more from you (and from TATCHA!) about the reasoning behind using and/or avoiding alcohol in your beauty routines. Is it absolutely necessary when it comes to formulating? What are the alternatives?

Because of these hesitations, TATCHA Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum isn’t on my repurchase list. I’ll definitely be watching this brand to see how it develops even more and if any reformulation is in the works.

You can also check out more of my TATCHA reviews here.

In the meantime, I invite you to tell me more about alcohol in skincare and active ingredients in skincare. What are your totally off-limits ingredients? What’s your POV on alcohol in serums and other skincare treatment products? Tell me in the comments section!


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  • Interesting…As far as I remember, some Tatcha creams contains silicons. Their composition is not as clean as other brands.x

  • I’ve talked about ingredients I avoid on my blog before. While TATCHA is definitely on my wishlist, a couple of the ingredients do make me pause on this one. I wonder what purpose the alcohol serves in this serum?

  • Amy

    Alcohol is included in facial products/Rx creams because it helps to break down the most exterior and superficial layer of the skin in order to encourage penetration of wanted ingredients. Additionally, it’s used because it prevents the growth of certain microbial agents, which of course is unwanted because microbial agents such as fungus and bacteria reduces the life of the product. But because of the break down of epidermis layer of skin… I don’t really like alcohol in my skincare products. Though it’s not an automatic ‘No’ for me. However, I find using a toner helps with product absorption/penetration just fine for me. But I haven’t done extensive testing to determine the efficacy of alcohol in products vs using only a toner.

  • I don’t have a firm stance on alcohol. Not my favorite ingredient, but it’s not a deal breaker for me either. I always associate alcohol high on an ingredients list with “old school” green brands like Weleda and Dr. Hauschka, so it’s interesting to see a much younger, more cutting edge line like Tatcha using it this way too.

  • Geeta

    I have to agree with Ms Nature- silicones have no place in natural skincare. There are botanical oils like broccoli seed oils give the same effect without a pore blocking residue /peel off. At So Pure Skincare we use this oil in the Antioxidant Skincare range along with vitam c & e and co-q10.

  • Geeta

    As with alcohol, when its listen high up like many German brands, this would cause dehydration to the skin. I think it should only be used for preservation purposes in which case be lower down on the ingredient listing ( usually around a 1% amount). http://www.sopureskincare.co.uk

  • I am using organic body oil and it is very great to have this product just like you were saying to avoid the Alcohol in the beauty routines.

  • Tatcha

    Thank you for your wonderful review, Kim! We put a lot of time into our formulations and ingredients, so we truly appreciate when bloggers and customers take so much care.

    Alcohol is definitely an important ingredient to be aware of, but it’s currently the most efficacious alternative to parabens to guard against microbiotic growths. There are other preservative systems available but they need to be used at higher concentrations, which can pose some irritation risks.

    Alcohol in high amounts is not healthy for the skin, but in small amounts it can be an effective and safe preservative. Our Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum contains 2% alcohol to prevent microbial growth and ensure a shelf life of six months. We do of course do clinical testing on every item in our collection, including this one, to ensure it is non-irritating, non-sensitizing and dermatologist tested.

    I hope this is helpful! Please always feel free to reach out to our customer care team with questions at (888) 739-2932 x1, or info@tatcha.com