Some time ago, i tested out Tatcha’s Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum. I had high hopes for this product, because the heavy-hitting ingredients are things that my skin usually loves; camellia sinensis leaf, silk extract, and my HG skin saver, the Gollum Root – i.e. Panax Ginseng extract, which features heavily in my favourite Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing eye cream. I was really hoping this serum – which has a very similar ingredients list to the Sulwhasoo eye cream but, at $85 as opposed to $180, is much more affordable – would work, and not cause me to break out in hives, like SO MANY eye products do. Except, thus far, Sulwhasoo’s eye creams…ugh, my poor pocketbook.

This product, according to the Tatcha website, is something you can either use alone, or, if you need extra hydration, paired with a heavier eye cream – something that appeals to me because some days my eye area can get super dry, and layering products definitely has its benefits. For me, it depends; on the weather, my time of the month, how much sleep i’ve had, and how dry my apartment is on any given day.

So, a few months ago i tried it, and it was fine for a couple of days – and then i developed a big ol’ hive…and then another. Le Sad.

Now, i’ve mentioned that i’m on several medications, and one of the massive-dose meds i was taking was Topamax. I recently learned that this stuff can cause all sorts of weird skin side-effects, not the least of which is major dehydration, and sensitivities – even rashes.  I’ve been on it for years, and i know that side-effects can crop up randomly, even after long-term use. But i had been on it for so long, i just rolled with them as they appeared, while others stopped just as suddenly. Recently, however, my doctor has been really wanting me to try to get off this medication, as one of the bigger, much scarier risks is liver failure – and i was on the highest dose possible!  Well, this scared me, as you can imagine – and so i got myself weaned off the stuff. One of the things i noticed was that suddenly, my skin wasn’t randomly breaking out into hives a couple times a week anymore. After a good three weeks, my skin really started to calm down; and it didn’t FEEL as irritated and sensitive anymore. Who would have thought that stopping one medication could affect my skin so profoundly?

And so, i decided to give the Tatcha eye serum another shot. After all, one of my main concerns is fine lines around my eyes, and i’ve been woefully inconsistent about any products because i would almost always have a reaction. And, as much as i LOVE the Sulwhasoo ginseng eye cream, i’d rather not have to dish out that much cash, if i can find something comparable! I feel that with this product, i can still layer with another eye cream on days i need it – while getting the benefit of those amazing ingredients.

Well, here’s what happened; after several weeks of consistent, a.m. and p.m. application, lo and behold – NO HIVES!

You can imagine how excited this made me. I’ve been insistent upon finding an eye product that contained a lot of the Gollum Root, and so being able to use this without my eye-flesh bursting into hives was SUCH A RELIEF!  Because honestly, i really, really dig this serum.  Not only does it feel amazing, help to brighten my eyes, and really help in the de-puffing department; it also makes the fine lines look smoother when i apply it. In fact, it feels SO good that i carry it with me so i can reapply when my eyes are feeling puffy (hello, allergies), or need a touch up of moisture. I haven’t been using it for long enough to speak to its long-term effects, however i will check back in here in about two months with an update.

I’m writing about it now, early on, because I do think it is important to realize just how many things can affect the state of our skin!  It’s such a delicate organ – and not only diet and sleeping habits can affect how our skin behaves, but medications as well can have a significant effect.  It’s definitely something to think about. Now, my skin IS still sensitive and easily irritated- especially around that time of the month – but i can use more products than i could before stopping one particular medication, because it’s less sensitized than before.

So – what are the benefits of this eye serum? Let’s take a look at the ingredients. From the Tatcha website:

Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Peg-400, Squalane (Olive Origin), Sericin (Silk Extract), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Origanum Majorana Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Leaf Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (Licorice), Caffeine, Royal Jelly Extract, Thymus Serpillum Extract, Gold, Algae Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Inositol (Rice Extract), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Natto Gum, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta, Sorbitan Stearate, Dimethicone, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate, Carbomer, Mica, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Behenyl Alcohol, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol.

Formulated without:
Parabens, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates.

Usually, you see things like dimethicone and alcohol way further up on the ingredients – not so with the Tatcha Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum.  This lets me know that the results i’m seeing in terms of a bit of smoothing of my fine lines, and brightening, are not merely cosmetic – which is obviously what one wants in a skincare product. So often, people get attached to the temporary cosmetic effects of a skincare product, when in reality, there are no actual improvements in the skin.

The Tatcha eye serum has some heavy-hitters, skincare wise, right at the top of the ingredients list. Here’s a breakdown of what’s in this stuff (i won’t address every single ingredient – just some of the top few).

  • Squalane is known for its ability to balance moisture levels in the skin – as well as being helpful in treating psoiasis, eczema, and scar tissue.
  • Sericin (silk extract) is an anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, and also aids in wound healing
  • Camellia Sinensis Leaf is a powerful anti-oxidant, and contains anti-inflammatory agents
  • Origanum Majorana Leaf Extract (sweet marjoram) is a skin conditioning agent
  • Panax Ginseng Root Extract is chock full of phytonutrients, as well as containing brightening and firming benefits
  • Honeysuckle Leaf Extract is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
  • Licorice is excellent for helping to lighten hyperpigmentation, as well as an all-over skin brightener (undereye circles!)
  • Caffeine is known for its redness reducing benefits, as well as calming irritation in the skin
  • Royal Jelly Extract reduces photo-aging, helps smooth wrinkles, and is an anti-inflammatory
  • Gold increases cell renewal to benefit skin that is irritated, helping with healing. Also an anti-oxidant
  • Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid helps the skin to retain moisture, and encourages collagen synthesis

And that’s just the first several ingredients. Obviously, this stuff should help with inflammation and eruptions, not cause them! However, i believe now that my skin was just reacting so frequently due to the effects of the medication – which is why nearly everything i tried irritated me.

Now, i have to address the fact that this contains alcohol. As i’ve said many times, i try to avoid alcohol in my products, and won’t purchase something that contains it within the first 15 or so ingredients. When it’s at the very last on the list, this pretty much ensures that it is being utilized as a skin-penetration agent, and the drying effects should be canceled out, because there are so many other hydrating, healing ingredients in front of it.  When it is one of the main ingredients, however, look out – because it will eventually dry out your skin!



The ceramic tip applicator is so cooling!


Using The Tatcha Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum: this serum has a neat little ceramic tip applicator, which – while i know some people find it annoying – i find to be really rather cool, and cooling, due to the ceramic. I love how it feels going on – it is incredibly soothing, especially in the morning, when my eyes are all red and hot and puffy due to my fifty gazillion allergies (and sleeping with cats on my face).  It’s actually a pleasure to apply this serum, without having to contaminate any product.  Once it’s applied i pat it in afterwards.



The consistency of this serum is thicker than your usual serum – it’s like a light eye cream, really. There is no discernible scent, which is great – as the only thing i wouldn’t mind smelling is the ginseng, but as there is no added fragrance, you don’t get much of a smell at all. Some days, this product is enough all on its own – it’s mid-afternoon now, and my under-eye area still looks smooth and hydrated. However, sometimes my apartment gets incredibly dry due to radiator heat, and the general suckiness of Chicago Winters – so when i’m at home, i always find myself applying extra of any moisturizers i’m using, if i’m going to be there all day. I generally layer with a richer eye cream (like my samples of the Sulwhasoo Ginseng or Essential Rejuvenating eye cream) when i know i’ll be in an extra dry environment, or I’m especially dehydrated.


Sulwhasoo Concentrated Renewing Ginseng and Essential Rejuvenating eye creams


When i look at photos of myself from a month or so ago and now, things look a bit less crinkly and lined, more plump and hydrated – in comparison to before I began using this stuff – in photos where i’m smiling, which is when they really become apparent. Certainly, no miracles have occurred and my lines haven’t done a vanishing act, however I do notice a difference.  But, you be the judge – and also, keep in mind that i have been layering this frequently with the other creams – so i do think that it’s the combined effect of layering the products, as I only really started noticing a difference when I added the serum:


A month ago…


…and now


Close-up – lines looking a little softer!


Also, the Tatcha serum has been helping with dark circles – something that i’ve been struggling with due to lack of proper sleep. I’m curious to see if this serum will be enough on it’s own, on a more consistent basis once the weather changes.

True, it’s a pricey product – but the bottom line is that i like the effects i’ve been seeing, and i don’t need much to cover the eye area. The ceramic applicator tube- aside from feeling divine – helps to keep me from using too much product (unless i were to squeeze it with some crazy python grip or something).  I like the excellent ingredients list, and feel like I’m actually doing something beneficial for my skin.  I will be repurchasing this product, much to the chagrin of my wallet!

What do you think of the Tatcha line? Have you tried it before? And has a medication ever affected your skin adversely?  Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts  – and as always, stay gorgeous, Kumquats!

XO – Monday