This Luxurious Body Scrub Transforms My Shower Into a Japanese Spa

  • Skin-care brand Tatcha recently released a body-care line called Forest Awakening.
  • The Forest Awakening body wash is a soft exfoliating gel body scrub.
  • The body scrub uses cellulose particles to gently buff the skin.

There is truly nothing I love more than a long, luxurious shower. Unfortunately, while my apartment has a very large tub, the midcentury Los Angeles architecture only left room for a teeny-tiny shower stall. (Seriously, it’s smaller than you’d think possible.) So, I do everything I can to elevate my shower experience and transport me into some other, much larger space.

This also means that I only have room to store my most essential products — I’m not going to waste precious bathing space on beauty products I’m not actually going to use. That being said, the new Tatcha Forest Awakening Hinoki Body Wash ($40) is definitely something I prioritize in my shower routine, and it’s front and center in my little caddy.

While of course the efficacy of a product is my number one concern, scent is also super important, especially when you’re in a small space. If a product doesn’t smell good, I’m probably going to kick it out of my shower rotation. Scent was the first thing that drew me to the Tatcha body wash — hinoki, a scared Japanese wood, is quite possibly my favorite smell of all time.

It makes sense that Tatcha would use the scent of hinoki for the Forest Awakening collection, which is inspired by the practice of forest bathing. Hinoki, also known as Japanese cypress or “king of the woods,” is used to build sacred buildings in Japan as well as Japanese bathhouses and onsen (hot-spring baths). When the steam from the baths comes into contact with the wood, it releases its signature earthy aroma — so it’s no surprise the scent of hinoki is often associated with relaxation and meditation.

The scrub itself is quite gentle; it uses cellulose, the main constituent of plant cell walls, as the buffing agent is an eco-friendly alternative to microplastic beads, which the Food and Drug Administration has been banned in the United States. Unlike salt- or sugar-based scrubs, the cellulose particles don’t dissolve seconds after they come into contact with water, which gives you a nice, long window to massage the gel into your skin.

While it’s not going to be quite as effective at exfoliating as a chemical scrub that has enzymes or acids included in the formula might be, the Tatcha scrub left my skin feeling supple and smooth, and with a hint of hinoki fragrance. It’s honestly just a joy to use in the shower, and it makes the experience so pleasant that I often forget where I am.


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