This Sacred Japanese Herb Is the Secret to Tatcha's New Smoothing Tonic

Glass skin in a bottle.

Tatcha Texture Tonic bottle against mirror


At any given moment, there's one quality I'd wager most people want for their skin above all: smoothness. Even though skin texture is absolutely normal and often inevitable, there's no question that many skincare enthusiasts are still after that polished, dolphin-smooth look—it's just getting it that's the tricky part.

While the classic school of thought usually prescribes a one-two punch of ultra-exfoliating chemicals, the secret to glassy, touchable skin might just be found in ingredients far more ancient. Tatcha's The Texture Tonic ($59), the latest offering from the top-rated Japanese skincare giant, utilizes a combination of fruit-derived acids, wild rose, and Japanese mugwort to form a gentle yet surprisingly powerful solution to rough skin texture. Ahead, learn more about the game-changing new exfoliant, and read our honest review.

Tatcha The Texture Tonic bottle


The Inspiration

Rather than self-describing as a general exfoliant, the new Texture Tonic zeros in specifically on the cause of (and solution to) facial skin texturization and uneven tone. “We believe that the path to clearing skin concerns starts with allowing the skin to breathe," explains Rose Sparacio, Tatcha's Vice President of Product Innovation. "We were inspired by the Japanese word kime, which translates roughly to beautifully smooth skin—Japanese women traditionally use a watery lotion after cleansing for instant kime, and we wanted to create a liquid product that pays homage to this with a modern formulation for today’s skin needs.”

As the kime connection would suggest, the new tonic is part of Tatcha's best-selling Water line—which includes products like Tatcha's signature The Water Cream ($69), famous for the way it utilizes infused water bases to hydrate, soothe, and smooth skin without irritation or abrasion.

Tatcha water cream and texture tonic


The Formula

Like the rest of Tatcha's lineup, the Texture Tonic boasts a formula of naturally-derived ingredients, many of which have storied, historic uses in Japan and beyond. In this instance, Japanese mugwort—a thousands-of-years-old herb prized for its anti-inflammatory properties—takes center stage. The ingredient, also known as yomogi extract, is used in many forms, from skincare topicals to cramp-easing teas, but in this case, it teams up with niacinamide to calm redness, deflate irritation, and even out discoloration.

Tatcha texture tonic flatlay
Tatcha The Texture Tonic $59.00

"The formula also includes the antioxidant-rich fruits of the wild rose blossom," Sparacio adds, "which can help to balance skin by minimizing sebum and oil production." Finally, fruit-sourced alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) help clear away buildup and dead skin to reveal fresh, illuminated skin with plenty of breathing room for pores. "The Texture Tonic was created to exfoliate and even skin tone, so we formulated the product with ingredients that are effective, but gentle enough for everyday use," Sparacio says, explaining the plant-loaded formula.

Tatcha Texture Tonic ingredients

How To Use It

Because of its robust but gentle nature, Sparacio says the Texture Tonic is certainly safe to use both day and night. It's even well-suited for sensitive skin types, but those with excess oil will reap the most radical benefits.

To maximize your results, it's recommended to use the tonic twice per day after cleansing the skin. Pour a few drops onto a cotton pad or ball and sweep it over your entire face and neck in lieu of a toner, avoiding pressing the topic into the skin—that method isn't as effective for exfoliants, Sparacio warns. From there, you can immediately chase your tonic with a favorite serum or essence followed by a solid moisturizer. "If you have very oily skin," she adds, "you can also use The Texture Tonic as a midday refresh to wick away excess oil.” Personally, that's often what I do and it's something of a mood game-changer.

Tatcha texture Before/after


The Review

The first time I tried the Texture Tonic, I was not feeling my best. I was coming off a long flight and despite experiencing that all-consuming griminess that seems to happen during air travel, I had no time to shower before an appointment. Sneaking into a bathroom with the tonic, I did a quick sink-wash and ran a tonic-damp cotton ball over my skin. Not only did I instantly feel more refreshed, I certainly looked it, too. That dull post-plane look was gone, and it looked like I'd just done a full skin-scrubbing routine. My skin was more illuminated, and I definitely appeared more awake.

These days, the tonic is my favorite for evenings when my skin is too sensitive to handle a prescription like tretinoin, but I don't want to lose any progress on my texture, brightness, or acne. Especially when combined with my all-time favorite skincare product, Tatcha's Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48), my skin feels soft and sanitary—never stiff or stripped of moisture. With every passing day, the glass skin of my dreams seems to get a little closer. And in the meantime, if you see me tending a mugwort garden on my roof, don't tell the building's board.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Ekiert H, Pajor J, Klin P, Rzepiela A, Ślesak H, Szopa A. Significance of artemisia vulgaris l. (Common mugwort)In the history of medicine and its possible contemporary applications substantiated by phytochemical and pharmacological studies. Molecules. 2020;25(19):4415.

  2. Tang SC, Yang JH. Dual effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on the skin. Molecules. 2018;23(4):863.

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