Compelling Colombian beauty Tata Harper is the powerhouse founder and creator of an eponymous skincare line that is not just all-natural and toxin-free; it’s made by hand on her Vermont farm, with many of the organic ingredients sourced on the property.
Harper, an industrial engineer by trade who was introduced to homemade skincare recipes as a child, found herself venturing officially into the beauty business when her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. His doctors banished all his grooming products while he was going through treatment because the chemicals they were manufactured from could further his illness or interfere with his treatment. For Harper, it was a wakeup call. “I was disturbed to discover that, like millions of other women, I was putting synthetic chemicals on my face two times a day, every day, for years,” she tells us. “You do this for a lifetime. Can you imagine what toll that takes on our systems?”
Looking for something better, Harper scoured the shelves at health food stores and quickly became disillusioned. “There were so many products that were not toxin free or there were products that were 100 percent natural, but they just didn’t work. I realized I would have to create something myself.”
Assembling a team of scientists, chemists and botanists from around the globe to help her with her mission, Harper launched her line a few years later. A beauty editor favorite, the products are made from infusions, macerations and essential oils derived from seeds, petals and leaves. “We use the most amazing science,” she says proudly. “Our preservatives are a new technology developed from the fermentation of radish roots and our emulsifiers come from olives—so much better than battery acid and motor oil!” (Not only does Harper use all-natural ingredients, but she also uses minimal packaging, incorporates recyclable materials whenever possible and buys electricity from sustainable sources.)
Harper, whose shiny hair, luminous skin and sparkly eyes speak to her devotion to an all-natural lifestyle (she eats only organic while at home), spoke with us.
The Inside Source: What is your favorite part of designing a beauty line?
Tata Harper: Discovering new ingredients. We are launching new products soon, and I’m super excited.
The Inside Source: What is the one product you cannot live without in your own line?
Tata Harper: The serum.
The Inside Source: Do you have another failsafe product, not from your line?
Tata Harper: I would have to say essential oil of lavender and essential oil of geranium. I use them all the time. I have to have the lavender when I travel (which I now do all the time). It kills bedbugs! I sprinkle a few drops on my pillow, and on my bedding and mattress. Even on my luggage. And the geranium is a mood enhancer. I use it on diffusers all over my farmhouse.
The Inside Source: What a great tip! Of course, we want to know what is in your medicine cabinet, Tata! Have you come across an effective natural deodorant? We’ve heard so much about the dangers of regular anti-perspirants, but so many don’t seem to work!
Tata Harper: Soapwalla deodorant. Road-testing natural deodorants can be so discouraging because so many are not effective. Sopawalla actually works! You just have to get past the weirdness that it is a paste.
The Inside Source: What about shampoo? I cannot seem to find one that doesn’t strip my hair or leave it lank.
Tata Harper: I am guilty of too much highlighting. Rahua hair products have completely restored my really dry, brittle hair. They’re on the pricey side, but the results are worth every penny.
The Inside Source: Can we peek inside your makeup kit?
Tata Harper: Yes! Now that my focus is more on keeping my skin healthy, I’ve been able to streamline my makeup. I only wear makeup when I go out. Here are my latest go-to’s:
1) RMS solar eyeshadow: “I love it because women of all ages look good in it.”
2) Burt’s Bees champagne lipgloss: “I love that I can find Burt’s Bees in any drugstore, and I love the cold sensation this leaves on my lips.”
3) Vapour blush: “The color is so naturally rosy.”
The Inside Source: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Tata Harper: Paris.
The Inside Source: What is a childhood trait of yours that has carried over into adulthood?
Tata Harper: I have always had a generous spirit.
The Inside Source: You have two gorgeous children. What words of wisdom do you want to pass onto them?
Tata Harper: Life is not easy. You cannot take things for granted. And it pays to be persistent!
Meredith Barnett is the Editorial Director for The Inside Source, a digital style magazine presented by eBay. The Inside Source writer Jen Smith authored this article in its original form. Click here to read it in full and to check out eBay picks inspired by Tata Harper’s personal collections.