The Sephora Glossy: Tata Harper Interview

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The industrial-engineer-turned-green-skincare-maven on the beauty of nature and science.

Natural beauty has gotten a bad rap, and Columbian-born Tata Harper, creator of the eponymous skincare line, is the first to admit it. “The main misconception is that natural products don’t work, which isn’t true at all,” she says. “As long as you’re using the best quality available, and the most advanced technology—whether it’s natural or not—it’s going to work, because it’s clinically proven to deliver results.” We caught up with Harper to hear the story behind her homegrown brand. RENEE TRILIVAS

Was skincare always important to you?
For young women in Columbia, beauty is a way of life rather than a chore. We’re taught and encouraged to start caring about our skin at a very young age. High-performance skincare, as well as homemade beauty treatments, like weekly moisture masks, have always been part of my life. I grew up in a family of women who all loved beauty products, and enjoying beauty rituals together was a way we could spend time with each other each week.

How did you get into the skincare business?
I entered the skincare business on a personal mission to create what I was looking for: truly advanced skincare that delivered the antiaging results and cutting-edge science, without a single synthetic chemical ingredient. I searched for years, and realized many things on the market labeled “natural” were actually blends of natural and synthetic ingredients. As an industrial engineer, I was trained to find and create solutions that really work, so I set out to create it myself. So I entered the industry by hiring a team of international chemists to help me formulate the products, and it just all grew from there. It took five years of travel, teamwork, research, and formulation, but finally I had products that met my standards, and the line has continued to blossom since.

Why was it important to you to create natural products?
When natural ingredients are high quality—there’s a quality range with any ingredient, and we only use the highest, most pure quality available—and are a low molecular weight, they can be biocompatible with the skin, which means they sink right in and deliver benefits where it matters. They give the skin an irresistible glow and luster, from all of the natural vitamins and minerals, and skin looks balanced.

How much of the process takes place on your farm in Vermont?
I used to be part of each batch in our lab—and I wish I could be still, since I love it! We grow as many of the ingredients as we can, given our climate—we have ten acres of the farm dedicated to ingredients, like alfalfa, lemon balm, arnica, lavender, and calendula. The rest of the ingredients come from amazing places around the world, like Poland, Crete, Madagascar, and Israel, for example. But yes, all of the products are made in our laboratory in Vermont by hand.


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