Review: Tatcha’s Kyoto Red silk lipstick

Today’s post is a review of the frequently out-of-stock Kyoto Red silk lipstick from Tatcha. It’s one of the few lipsticks that Tatcha makes and has become a cult favorite for its universally-flattering and moisturizing qualities. I’ve been keeping an eye on this one for a while, and finally decided to bite the bullet ($55) when it came back in stock. But does it live up to the hype?


Right now Tatcha is running a promotion of giving you a deluxe rice enzyme powder sample with your first purchase. I’ve tried their rice enzyme powder and it’s quite good as an exfoliation for sensitive skin (which I have). The sample itself is quite large (10g/.35 oz) and will last for a few weeks, I imagine. However, at $65 for the full size (60g/ 2.1 oz) it would also be a rather pricey habit to keep up every few weeks. There is a great DIY for making your own rice enzyme powder at home here at a much more cost-friendly price.

I feel like I can justify the lipstick a bit more, since lipsticks can last me for at the very least a whole year. 🙂


Here is a description of Kyoto Red taken from Tatcha’s website:

What it is:
The geisha’s timeless vermillion lip remastered for the modern woman. Rooted in a shade that is one of the most distinctive, symbolic colors in Japan.

Why it’s different:
This feather-light formula combines brilliant pigments with pure silk and botanical extracts for a long-wearing matte finish that keeps lips hydrated.

Who it’s for:
A universal shade that flatters all skin tones. Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested.


Onto the packaging and first impressions. Extremely luxe and weighty case, with gorgeous gold detailing.


Here’s a close up of the lipstick itself. See the pretty, jewel-like facets?? They made me very reluctant to actually use the lipstick.


Another close up. The sharp edges help you apply the lipstick precisely, with no need for a lip liner.


Swatches on my arm. The left is one swipe. The right is two.

It’s so pigmented, that it took a bit of elbow grease to get the color off my arm after I swatched it.

The lipstick is advertised as a universal shade for all skin tones. The Kyoto Red has more of an orange-y undertone than I’m used to putting on my lips, but it does make my teeth look very white. While I’m still on the lookout for a more blue-y red (I’ve heard good things about MAC’s Russian Red/Ruby Woo), Kyoto Red is still quite wearable.

My favorite thing about this lipstick, however, might be how moisturizing it is. I have extremely dry and sensitive lips that basically take all lip glosses and most lipsticks out of the equation for me. Even Burt’s Bees, for example, irritates the heck out of my lips. Kyoto Red is truly very moisturizing and doesn’t leave me with any dry patches that many lip products do. It’s also extremely lightweight on the lips.

When I first applied the lipstick, I felt that it was sliding around a bit more than what I’m used to with my Marc Jacobs lipsticks. However, once I gave it some time to settle in, the lipstick took on a beautiful matte finish that seems more like a lip stain than a heavy matte lipstick. It isn’t as immovable as my Marc Jacobs lipsticks, which seriously do not come off for the entire day. But, the Kyoto Red certainly lasts for a few hours – again because it is so pigmented. You just have to check periodically to make sure it hasn’t smudged a bit.


The lighting was a little bright when I took this picture, but the lipstick pretty much looks like this hue in real life. Slightly more orange in some lights, and slightly more pink in others.

Have you tried the Kyoto Red? Or any of Tatcha’s other lipsticks, such as the currently sold-out Sunrise? I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can buy Kyoto Red for $55 here.





September 15, 2016
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