You don’t know Tata Harper: Guru for all things natural when it comes to skin care? Her products have become favourites to some of our favourite stars: Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianne Moore. Discover the woman behind the brand at Etiket on Friday, September 14th and in the September issue of Vanity Fair.
Private Lives: Tata Harper
Tata Harper is a woman on a mission, redefining the art and science of skin care with her artisanally crafted, 100-percent-natural products, which have become the fast favorites of models and celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianne Moore. We’ve all heard about farm-to-table, but what about farm-to-face? Harper makes all of her products on a 1,200-acre farm near Middlebury, Vermont, that she shares with her husband, Henry, their three children, and an ever growing menagerie of rescued dogs, cats, sheep, and goats, as well as dairy and beef cattle. In addition to providing most of the family’s food, the farm produces some of the plants used in her line. “We grow about 10 percent of the ingredients, and the rest come from farms all over the world: Tasmania, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Egypt, and the Amazon.” The most exotic element is an extract from the dormant narcissus bulb, which comes from Israel. “It’s basically a collagen complex,” Harper says. Inspired after discovering the number of toxic additives used in skin-care products during her stepfather’s treatment for cancer, Harper worked for five years with a team of chemists, biologists, botanists, agriculturalists, and aromatherapists from around the globe to create her own proprietary formulations. “I wanted to start from scratch. I read books and contacted authors. For many of them, it was the first time they had collaborated directly—usually they work with the laboratory. They were excited by our mission to do something pure. I learned so much—I feel like I almost earned a master’s degree.” Harper is a scientist at heart, with a degree in industrial engineering, and her enthusiasm is evident as she describes how she uses a product derived from olives rather than the more standard and potentially cancer-causing pegemulsifiers, which are petrochemical derivatives. “Understanding the product and its function is important, as is keeping the number of extra ingredients to a minimum,” she explains. “I most enjoy the production, time spent in the lab, overseeing what’s being made. At night, after the kids go to bed, I’m back at work. I work until midnight. Every month we make the products on the farm—we make what we need—as it’s important that they be fresh. I like the concept of mixing a cocktail of actives so that they target different aspects of the skin as much as possible, so it looks beautiful. My grandmother used to make potions in the kitchen—nothing like I’m doing now—but very basic things. And my mom always loved beauty products. I grew up with this concept that beauty was not a chore—it was a way of life.” Harper’s products are sold at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, and at Tataharperskincare.com.
Shop Tata Harper on-line at Etiket.ca: SHOP