Is Tatcha Cruelty-Free and Vegan? (And Can We Trust Them?)

Looking at Tatcha’s cult status and millions of fans – we have to wonder if the secret to flawless skin is hidden in the Japanese lifestyle! But, at what expense? Does Japan have the same awful cruelty-free and vegan policies as Korean beauty?

Is Tatcha Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Tatcha is cruelty-free. It doesn't conduct animal testing on its products, nor does it distribute its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. Tatcha does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, but it is not considered a vegan brand.

After leaving her job in corporate America, Vicky Tsai traveled to Japan, and she noticed a remarkable improvement in her overall well-being. It wasn’t long before she saw a noticeable improvement in her glowing complexion.

As Tsai learned more about Japanese beauty rituals, she knew she had to bring these principles to the west, so she created Tatcha in 2009.

The brand combines time-honored Japanese traditions with state-of-the-art clinically backed developments. Self-care rituals may have surged in the last few years, but Tatcha was at the helm of mindfully taking time for you.

In 2019, Tatcha was sold to Unilever for a whopping $500 million.

But where are these fan-favorite products made? And can we trust that they’re not hurting any animals in the process?

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Is Tatcha Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

Tatcha Skincare Range

Tatcha is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

Tatcha has a clear cruelty-free message with PETA accreditation to back them up. This is a great start, but they could do better.

PETA isn’t the best internationally recognized organization that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free. We’ll explain why under Certification

Tatcha is also owned by Unilever, which is not a cruelty-free company.

But let’s look at the facts before we jump to any conclusions:

Tatcha is Not Vegan

Although the brand is not entirely vegan, Tatcha has some beautiful vegan products from which to choose.

No, seriously – these are some of the most indulgent vegan self-care items, in our opinion.

The only thing is that it’s difficult to figure out exactly what is vegan, given the products are not clearly labeled.

However, you can search “vegan” on the website, and it will give you a drop-down list of all its vegan products. (Yay!)

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients that Tatcha uses are:

  • Honey, royal jelly, and beeswax – these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and well-being. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.

    Just because beeswax isn't vegan, it doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Pearl proteins – contain amino acids, the essential protein chains that our bodies (and skin) are built from.

    Using pearl proteins has reported benefits, including increased collagen production, reduced scaring, evened skin tone, and tightened fine lines.

    But can you harvest pearls from oysters without killing them? Read this before you buy pearl-based products: Are Pearls Cruelty-Free (Including 4 Alternatives You Need to Try)?
  • Silk protein, silk powder, hydrolyzed silk, and sericin – are all extracted from the hard work of farmed silkworms. Silk increases skin elasticity, enhances skin cell function, and smooths skin when used in skin care. This is due to its molecular structure, similar to skin collagen.

    However, it's not the most cruelty-free ingredient. Silk farming is an industrialized process that involves killing the silkworm larvae to get them out of their cocoons with as little damage as possible to the silk they've spun. So, can silk be cruelty-free?

If you're interested in which products are vegan or finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: Tatcha vegan products.

Animal Testing Policy and History

Tatcha does not have an animal testing history available to the public. We contacted them to find out more about their policies, but we have not heard back.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

Here is a screenshot of Tatcha’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

Tatcha Cruelty-Free Website Statement

Certification

Tatcha is PETA certified, which is not a bad start. You might even find the little cruelty-free PETA bunny next to each one of its products.

However, it would be nice to see more certification since it’s so proudly cruelty-free.

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn't hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. It seems only to require a brand's written consent that abides by the PETA code of conduct.

Certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

The Leaping Bunny association is very strict and reliable, which ensures that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products they sell.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers or on their ingredients or formulas.
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, are considered and evaluated.

If you see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't let the image itself fool you. A lot of brands are using fake logos to deceive consumers.

Do your homework and see which products are genuinely cruelty-free first. This article will help you: Which Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is Tatcha Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

Tatcha does not distribute any of its products in retail stores in mainland China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

Tatcha does sell to Hong Kong, where there are no laws mandating animal testing on products entering the state.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

However, if you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes.

Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

What Tatcha Products Are Vegan?

Tatcha has a small yet gorgeous range of effective vegan products that continues to grow.

To save you some time, here are some of Tatcha’s most popular vegan products to choose from:

  • The Water Cream
  • The Rice Wash
  • The Rice Polish: Deep
  • Violet-C: Brightening Serum
  • The Kissu Lip Mask

You can visit its website for a complete list of Tatcha’s vegan products.

Vegan Alternatives to Tatcha

Tatcha has some options for vegans and a clean track record! But they might not be the right skincare brand for everyone since it’s not only quite pricey but isn’t 100% vegan.

So if Tatcha is not your first choice, here are some other luxury vegan skincare brands to look out for:

Is Tatcha Natural and Organic? 

Tatcha is not considered natural or organic, nor does it market itself that way. However, it is proud to use many natural ingredients that all play a vital role in Japanese beauty culture.  

They also use safe and clean synthetic ingredients where it’s best for the product formula and consumers like you.

Clean vs. Natural Ingredients

The term "natural" is not regulated for cosmetics and skincare. In other words, it doesn't hold one specific meaning.

Usually, it means a product is free of certain more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" to mean ingredients of immediate plant origin.

Here's the thing: "natural" is not necessarily good. Just because an ingredient is natural (take olive oil, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin and sit in the sun to fry yourself like a chicken breast!

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. Tatcha is no exception – but it does choose to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it means it is safe and non-toxic for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

A few naturally-derived ingredients Tatcha uses to enhance its cosmetics include:

  • Gold is Tatcha’s most luxurious ingredient. The brand uses hand-beaten, wafer-thin gold micro-particles in certain products to give your skin an ‘incandescent glow’ that mica and other inexpensive alternatives can’t achieve.
  • Camelia Oil is renowned for its nourishing and moisturizing benefits since it is rich in multiple vitamins, omegas, and oleic acid.

    Another benefit to camelia oil is that it has more antioxidants than any other botanically derived oil. Its lightweight and skin-identical molecular structure makes it easily absorbed by the skin.
  • Rice Bran has been used in traditional Japanese beauty rituals for centuries. It contains over 100 vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants.

    Recent studies show that Vitamins A, B2, and B12 combined with moisturizing proteins hydrate and nourish the skin.

Does Tatcha Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, Tatcha has a 91- 100% allergen-free ranking across 57 products.

All Tatcha’s products are free of parabens, mineral oils, sulfate detergents, phthalates, urea, DEA, TEA, or synthetic fragrances.  

It also avoids allergens such as top gluten, soy, Propylene Glycol, irritants, Balsam of Peru.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because Tatcha is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be. However, it has fantastic options for those who need it.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

We don’t want to scare you, but you HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States. The reason why will shock you.

The FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

Although Tatcha prides itself in always using the very best ingredients, it’s always worth knowing what to avoid using in skincare products:

  • Ethoxylated ingredients (PPG, PEG, and polysorbate)
  • Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, and TEA)
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, aka teflon®)
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Polyacrylamide
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Formaldehyde

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you’re worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn’t be as safe as anything tested on animals.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether, but there are so many pre-approved ingredients you can use to make cosmetics that there is no need.

If you’re interested, here’s more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is Tatcha Sustainable and Ethical? 

Tatcha has always worked under the Japanese concept of mottainai, meaning “too precious to waste.” This is reflected in their strong sustainability and ethical initiatives.

As a Unilever brand, Tatcha also follows those company values.

All the houses’ brands follow initiatives that:

  • Help make sustainability commonplace and accessible.
  • Focus on lessening waste and the impact it has on the planet.
  • Strive to uplift communities more.

It's no secret that the world has a huge waste problem, and cosmetic brands only make it worse by using unsustainable packaging and harmful ingredients.

Some of the ways Tatcha is taking strong environmental accountability are by:

  • Developing formulas that are kinder to the environment by using biodegradable formulas and natural ingredients.
  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Prohibiting the use of palm oil in its products.
  • Having responsible MICA mining policies.
  • Proving to source certain ingredients responsibly.
  • Reducing the greenhouse gas footprints of its products.
  • Having a renewable energy-operated distribution center.
  • Using some Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic (PCR) and sustainably sourced paper (FSC certified or equivalent).

In terms of future goals and accountability, Tacha plans to:

  • Have 100% recycled, recyclable, refillable, or compostable packaging by 2025.
  • Operate its Head Quarters with renewable energy.
  • Optimize shipping to reduce emissions.
  • Improve its packaging design efficiency.

Final Thoughts

We are pleasantly surprised to see Tatcha walk the walk in an industry where we see a lot of greenwashing and false claims.

This luxury skincare brand takes various ethical factors into consideration. The fact that they are cruelty-free is a step towards a more sustainable future in cosmetics.

We appreciate its transparent supply chain and its openness to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

Of course, since it’s owned by Unilever and is not 100% vegan – it might not be the best choice for some activists.

It’s excellent that Tatcha shares their sustainability improvements with customers and competitors. They want to benefit the planet instead of just their business.

But, of course, we’d love to see Tatcha get Leaping Bunny certified as soon as possible (and some more vegan products!) 

If this is what you want, then please reach out to Tatcha and share your thoughts. This brand does listen to its customers, so let’s see if we can spark the change we want to see.

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