Who? Industrial engineer-turned beauty entrepreneur, Colombia-born Tata Harper’s career took a turn for the unexpected when her stepfather was diagnosed with skin cancer. Having trailed his small selection of daily toiletries to the hospital for inspection, only for doctors to ban all of his paraben-filled products, Harper began to study her own oversized beauty cabinet with a new sense of scepticism. Finding it impossible to satisfy her newly acquired desire for truly non-toxic, all-natural beauty products, she chose to forge her own range.
Today Harper works out of her HQ – a flower-cluttered farm in the Champlain Valley in Vermont where she bottles each of her 40-plus products, and monitors and grows all of the key ingredients for her Estate Grown Beauty Complex (a blend of arnica, calendula, meadow sweet, borage and alfalfa that appears in every single one of her products). The result is an array of beautiful green-glass jars and bottles filled with tinctures of a variety of warm and earthy fragrance that, when applied, connect the wearer to a more poetic, natural plane.
What? Harper has created for herself an extraordinary role: she is the creator of her own indulgences. Having crafted her own dream eight-step skincare routine, that is now a key source of joy that she is keen to share with others. “I like the idea of using a lot of the essential oils that also stimulate the senses and help relax you,” she explains in her suite at The Ham Yard hotel. “The application becomes a special moment that you, or I, actually look forward to. It’s designed to motivate you to take care of yourself: it’s all about a bit of self-care and self-love. Because self-love is the hardest, toughest type of love. It’s making yourself a priority, spending a little time on your skin. I’m addicted. Even though I use an eight-step process, it doesn’t take me more than five minutes. But those five minutes make me feel so good, in the morning and at night.”
This eight-step process begins in the morning with a daily exfoliation. “The Regenerating Cleanser is gentle enough that you can use it daily. But the reality is that we produce dead skin cells every single day. That’s what the skin does. It’s goes through this programmed death, and then you end up with this accumulation of dead skin on the outer layer. And if you remove it daily, then your products will penetrate better. You’ll remove the build up, your skin will be much more glowy.” She then layers up her products: first Hydrating Floral Essence, and while that’s still wet she applies her Rejuvenating Serum, followed by Illuminating Eye Cream, Reparative Moisturiser and then the Beautifying Oil. At night she eschews the exfoliant in favour of a double cleanse (taking the toll up to eight): first the Nourishing Oil Cleanser to dispel make-up and dirt, then her Purifying Cleanser to remove pollution, followed by the same layers of moisturiser. With each unctuous concoction – combining esoteric, though organic, ingredients, like algaes from Brittany and candle tree extract from Burkina Faso – Harper marries two often disparate worlds of luxury and health to create a magic potion that deserves its somewhat high price-tag.
One must admit that Harper is exceedingly glowy. She puts this down, in part, to the aforementioned routine, and to her abstinence from make-up. “Since I’ve started exfoliating daily, I’ve stopped using foundations, concealers, all that stuff. What’s great is that you can see your skin for what it really is, and it motivates you to take care of it. Instead of thinking, ‘Oh no worries, I’m just gonna put foundation on and cover it up,’ you’re more aware, more in-tune. Even if you felt like you couldn’t do that every day – try it just once or twice a week, it’s so liberating!”
Why? Because the delectable Creme Riche has just joined the roster of Tata Harper’s award-winning products. Brimming with over 43 natural actives (your typical face cream would boast between one and three, if you’re lucky), it’s an innovation to behold. Harper is really quite excited about this new cocktail and its rabble of unlikely ingredients. From sugar – “It’s having a moment in anti-ageing: the sugar acid that we bring from France, it increases hyaluronic acid in the skin by, like, 180%!” – to the oft overlooked, but also of-the-moment, vitamin F (“full of essential fatty acids!”) and micro-algaes that boost collagen production, this delicious swirl is teeming with goodness you never knew you needed.