Tata Harper’s Secret to Incredible Skin—and Prolonging the Aging Process
The beauty entrepreneur is so obsessed with quality control, she grows many of her own ingredients on her 1,200-acre farm in Vermont.
Tata Harper grew up in Colombia and studied industrial engineering, never expecting to one day go into skincare and cosmetics. When her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, she began accompanying him to his various treatments and appointments. “It was an eye-opening experience,” she says. “Everything the doctors recommended to him, I started doing, too.” Eating organic? Check. Using natural chemicals to clean the house? Check. “I remember the doctor saying, think about the things that happen daily in your life—that’s what you need to pay attention to.” Skincare was Tata’s final frontier. She couldn’t find a single brand that was both all-natural and effective at delivering results. “If you don’t want synthetic chemicals in your products, you do not want them, period.” Brand after brand touted healing botanicals, special algaes and potent vitamins, but upon closer inspection of the ingredients, she discovered the dirty truth: oftentimes upwards of 90% of the “fillers” were considered industrial chemicals. Tata realized that she couldn’t be the only person looking for all-natural products that perform. She met with a beauty consultant who walked her through the “cookie cutter” formula for starting a skincare line: base + active ingredients (to substantiate whatever claim you want to make). It was too simple—and totally outsourced. So much so, that Tata couldn’t get behind it. Instead, she bought a 1,200-acre farm in Vermont and spent the next eight years educating herself on natural ingredients—planting as much as she could on her land so that she could completely oversee the process—and working with a team of chemists in Europe to perfect her formulas. The resulting line was worth the wait. It became a cult favorite almost overnight, resonating with purists, beauty editors and the rest of us, alike. We sat down with the engineer-turned-beauty guru to find out her secrets and hear how she’s making crunchy chic.
1. Beauty is not genetic
In Colombia, I grew up in a very beauty-oriented family. When I was little, my grandmother would host a group of women from our family in her home every Saturday morning. We’d get together and do scrubs and baths that she’d prepare. She had such pretty skin, she really took care of it. It wasn’t genetics—she dedicated time to pampering herself. (See Tata's favorite beauty recipe from her grandmother on our Pinterest page).
2. It’s not if you age—it’s how you age
Take care of your skin, that’s where aging begins. Control stress levels. Mind your diet. Our skin takes 1/3 of the nutrients that we ingest. Eat foods that are rich in keratin oils and antioxidants—citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions and peppers.
3. Starting young is the ultimate strategy
The moment you hit 25, start using an eye cream and a serious anti-aging serum. It’s a better philosophy than waiting to have wrinkles and then having to invest in correcting your skin. Instead, I correct everyday so that my face stays wrinkle-free for as long as possible.
4. Millennials, take note
One of the top concerns of the millennial woman is pollution. It accelerates aging and is almost as damaging as UV rays. Another issue? Toxic chemicals. Very little has been studied on the chemicals in cosmetics. Yes, there are synthetic cosmetics that do wonders on the skin—but many of the ingredients are there for color, or to make it feel warmer, or for fragrance. These aren’t even the things giving you results, yet you’re putting them on your face every day.
5. One vs 29
Our rejuvenating serum has 29 active ingredients (the thing that makes it work). It’s super concentrated. The majority of what’s in that bottle is doing something positive for your skin. It’s not just filler and glycerin. You could use five serums to achieve the results of our single serum.
6. Invisible quality
We tend to buy the most expensive raw materials—they’re the ones that perform the best. Our Hyaluronic acid costs 10,000-euros per pound, but it’s the finest in the world. The label won’t tell you that. You’ll see Hyaluronic acid listed whether you buy my product or a product from CVS. But it’s one of those things where it’s like that relationship you have with a brand you love. You know that your desires are being fulfilled by the brand’s philosophy. Sure, you could buy a tweed jacket at J.Crew, but that doesn’t make it Chanel.
7. Tata’s must-haves
Theorie has a grapefruit shampoo and a green tea conditioner that I absolutely love. I love Lavanila deodorant and RMS mascara. I use a concealer from W3ll People. Around the house, I clean with Mrs. Meyers and 7th Generation.
8. Morning and night
When I wake up, I use my Regenerating Cleanser on dry skin to exfoliate. After I rinse it off, I use my Hydrating Floral Essence, followed by the Elixir Vitae Serum, Reparative Moisturizer and Replenishing Nutrient Complex—it’s like a multivitamin for the skin. In the evening, I take my makeup off with my Nourishing Oil Cleanser. I love double-cleansing at night so next, I use the Purifying Cleanser for pollution control—it’s almost like a juice cleanse for your skin. I leave it on while I brush my teeth. Then, I do toner, elixir and serum. Instead of eye cream, I’m using my new Boosted Contouring Eye Mask (which isn’t available yet, but will be launching next month) and my Moisturizing Mask instead of my regular daytime moisturizer.
Images courtesy of Tata Harper.