It's hard to remember a time before Tatcha's famed blotting papers ($48 for a set of 30 and facial mist; qvc.com) came into our lives—the gold-flecked sheets are a standard among both celebrities and pro makeup artists alike, launched a thousand similar versions in their wake, and have a history as interesting as any of the backstories on Orange Is the New Black.
While developing the line in Japan, founder Victoria Tsai came across the leaflets, which were traditionally used as hammer papers for gold-leaf embellishments. "In Japan, precious items are often leafed in gold. Artisans carefully hammer the precious metal between the handmade sheets of abaca leaf, making the paper ultra-soft and absorbent," she tells InStyle. "Geisha and kabuki actors found that the papers were perfect for absorbing oil and setting their stage makeup, making them one of the first beauty essentials."
Equipped with one of the oldest beauty books written in Japan, Tsai based her line around beauty rituals practiced by geishas, launching first with the now-iconic papers. "The first time I used these little treasures, I fell in love. They left my skin petal-fresh without disturbing my makeup or drying my skin," she says. "The fact that these still exist in their original form, the gold standard, was beautiful to me." As for the purpose of the gold flecks? While they don't do much for your face, Tsai found that many of the geishas would scratch them off and apply the shimmer over their lipstick—obviously, a sparkly lip is another beauty trend that stands the test of time.