When Victoria Tsai met a group of geisha on a trip to Japan in 2009, she was awed by their luminous skin.
"Without their stage makeup on, their skin is so clear and smooth, whether they're 20 or 80," she says. "My first thought was: 'I'll have what you're having.'"
A Harvard MBA taking a break from her career in marketing, Tsai spent the next three years finding out exactly what the geisha's secret was. She ultimately launched Tatcha, a line of seven cleansers and moisturizers rich in the antioxidants -- red algae, rice bran and green tea -- that the geisha use in their (surprisingly simple) skincare routine. We asked Tsai to share some of her own beauty wisdom.
What is the first beauty product you ever owned?
Hello Kitty blotting tissues. In America, when teens start to get oily, they reach for Noxzema or Oxy. In Asia, where my mom is from, they buy their first blotting tissues.
What's the easiest thing you've done to improve your looks?
A good friend who's a makeup artist told me recently that my brownish berry lipstick was aging me. He suggested I make my lips a touch lighter than my natural color instead. I switched to By Terry Rouge Terrybly Lipstick in Terrybly Nude, and I look so much fresher. I don't know why he didn't tell me sooner!
You live in San Francisco and make frequent trips to Japan. What's in your cosmetics bag when you travel?
Sleep is important to looking good, so I always pack ReBloom Natural Sleep Drinks; They help me adjust to a new time zone. Visine lets me fake sparkly eyes, and Luna Bars are a beauty essential, because if I'm hungry, there's a scowl on my face! To keep my skin soft, I bring our Luminous Dewy Skin Mist and Aquaphor for my lips.
What will you teach your daughter about skincare?
Less is more -- use just a few simple products. And avoid the sun. I literally run from it, zigzagging from one side of the street to the other to stay in the shade.
Mix Tatcha's Polished Rice Enzyme Powder with a few drops of water to create a milky cleanser that also exfoliates. <i>$65, <a href="http://www.tatcha.com/">Tatcha.com</a></i>
Rich in the emollient squalane, Luminous Dewy Skin Mist refreshes dull skin; spray it under or over makeup. <i>$48, <a href="http://www.tatcha.com/" target="_blank">Tatcha.com</a></i>
Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers absorb oil without disturbing makeup. <i>$12, <a href="http://www.tatcha.com/" target="_blank">Tatcha.com </a></i>
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Know Your Skin
Before you can help your skin, you have to understand it. "The average person needs to be educated on how their skin works, what customized routine will work best for their skin type and condition and the products that maintain results," skin expert Holly Sherrard says. She recommends talking to a skincare professional.
Layer Up With Sunscreen
The beauty rule is, "as long as there's daylight, you need sunscreen," says Robin White, director of international education and global press of <a href="http://www.philosophy.com/" target="_hplink">Philosophy</a>. If you skipped out on using an SPF moisturizer on your skin during the winter months, spring is the season to get back on track.
Exfoliate Your Skin
Even though skin exfoliation should be done throughout the year, spring is the season to give our skin the attention it deserves. "Dry body brushing can help to decrease dry skin and flakiness. Application of body oils will keep skin conditioned and smooth," says Sherrard.
Changes With Makeup
Detox your beauty bag this spring. After you <a href=" http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/21/10-ways-to-store-and-organize-makeup_n_1367214.html" target="_hplink">organize your makeup collection and get rid of unwanted junk</a>, consider replacing outdated and old makeup with spring classics: a new shade of foundation, a bronzer and a new moisturizer with SPF.
Balance Your Oils
Our skin changes with the seasons and tends to produce more oils during spring. "Professional skin therapists can recommend appropriate product changes according to what the skin needs are at that time," says Sherrard.
Protective Lip Balm
Our lips also go through changes from winter to spring. If you're experiencing dry or chapped lips, Sherrard suggests using protective lip balms with hydrating components.
Try A Face Mask
Give you skin some pampering. Here is a recipe for a oatmeal face mask from <a href="http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/features/spring-cleaning-how-to-pamper-your-skin?page=3a" target="_hplink">Webmd.com</a>: mix oatmeal with boiling water according to package instructions; let cool; apply to skin; let rest for 15 minutes; rinse well with warm water.
Over the winter, your hair can also develop damage through dry scalp, split ends and overall dry strands. For the spring, try <a href="http://marka-charalambous.suite101.com/proper-hair-care-in-spring-a194208" target="_hplink">moisturizing conditioners</a> or oils to smooth hair and remove dryness.
It may also be time to switch up your lotions. "No matter how much oil skin produces, everyone must wear a moisturizer. Use oil-free mattifying moisturizers for oily skin or creamier versions with shea butter for dry skin," Sherrard says.
Using A Toner
Here is a video explaining toners.