Unless you’ve been living under a rock (that’s not made of rose quartz or jade), then you’ve been probably heard of Tata Harper.
The Columbian-born skincare innovator is a—if not the—pioneer of ultra luxury, effective, natural beauty. From the beginning, her collection was proof-positive that it’s possible to create refined skincare without toxins—that actually works. Most recently, she launched her new Water Lock Moisturizer with a “buy one, give one” initiative through 5/28 (meaning for each one purchased, one is donated to healthcare workers).
Here, we chatted (from a safe social distance) with the mother-of-three about the importance of nature and the challenges and gifts of quarantine life on her Vermont farm:
Live The Process: How did the women in your family influence your interest in beauty, alchemy and natural ingredients?
Tata Harper: I grew up in Barranquilla, Colombia. It was great being surrounded by such a rich Latin culture. I grew up in a household where I was also surrounded by women who loved beauty: we’re a total of 35 cousins and 20 of those are women, so there was a dedication to self-care. My grandmother would host spa parties at her house every weekend and invite all of these women to come try her DIY face masks or body scrubs. I always loved helping her make these concoctions, especially since the recipes had been handed down from generation to generation.
LTP: How did your interest in finding effective, refined, natural products evolve into an actual beauty line?
TH: My stepfather was diagnosed with cancer and, through helping him change his lifestyle, I started to examine everything I was putting in and on my body. For the longest time, natural beauty was thought to be simple and low quality—a lot of the textures and experiences weren’t designed for a serious skincare client like me. Typically, you would find natural beauty in food stores and apothecaries where you don’t find high-quality products with the technology you expect. At the same time, when I went to department stores, I found products with a few natural ingredients that were mixed with synthetics and chemicals. I wanted to fuse both worlds and create products that were 100% natural, but made with high-quality, potent ingredients. There wasn’t an option for people like me who were looking for that. Since I couldn’t find any natural skincare products that gave me the results and the luxury experience I was looking for, I decided to create my own.
It took us five years to research and develop what would become the very first Tata Harper products. The first formula that we created and finished was the Resurfacing Mask—and it is still one of our fan favorites. It’s also our most awarded product. The mask was launched with 10 other products—including our Rejuvenating Serum, Repairative Moisturizer and Regenerating Cleanser—that delivered efficacious results and a luxury experience without having to compromise your health.
LTP: For you, how has motherhood influenced your work? how do you balance work and family?
TH: Motherhood is the most precious thing in my life and it has influenced my decisions pretty significantly. When it comes to engineering our formulas, we always try to make sure that each one is child-friendly. We take clean to the extreme because we don’t use a single drop of synthetic chemicals; we only use completely natural and non-toxic ingredients.
I create balance between being a mom and a business owner by taking my kids with me on work trips, so we can experience new things and new places together. Of course, now we are not traveling, so we are spending our quarantine at our farm in Vermont. In Vermont, we are so lucky to be able to relax and spend time outdoors together, hiking, going on walks and fully enjoying this family time. There aren’t a million distractions here, so I can really focus on my children and my work, and just enjoy the nature around me.
LTP: What is motherhood like for you right now, in the midst of this pandemic?
TH: Motherhood right now is fast-paced and a constant rollercoaster. With three kids being homeschooled, I’m constantly trying to juggle meetings and math class. It can be a bit overwhelming wearing so many hats, but I’m taking it day by day and we’ve slowly settled into a routine. This extra time I have with them right now is a gift; I am cherishing every moment and love seeing them enjoy the farm, the outdoors and each other.
LTP: As a clean skincare creator, who lives on a farm, Mother Nature likely plays a significant role in your life. How do you personally celebrate nature?
TH: Nature brings me energy from the inside out and it is something that I never take for granted. I try to spend as much time as possible outside, whether it’s going on a hike with my kids or picking herbs from my garden. As a company, it’s our mission to do everything we can to nurture nature and be as sustainable and environmentally-friendly as possible. We factor nature into every single decision we make, from the ingredients and packaging we use to making every single product from start to finish right here on the farm. I am so thankful for all that nature does for us, and it’s up to each of us to do what we can to help heal it.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
TH: Happiness for me is about surrounding myself with the people I love, spending time in nature and appreciating the little things in life. It is an inside job and I constantly reflect on what is truly meaningful to me and how I can improve the lives of others.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
TH: To me, “Live The Process” means taking one day at a time and recognizing when it is okay to take a moment to slow down. With the stress of everything going on these days, I think it is especially important to take time for yourself. Whether that means meditating, applying a face mask or finally reading that book you’ve been wanting to start, I hope everyone can find some time, however little that may be, for some self-care.
Photographs by Sebastian Faena