The natural-skincare advocate answers our Proustian beauty Qs
Natural beauty products have come a long way since their crunchy-granola origins. Proof positive: Tata Harper’s haute skincare line, where one anti-aging serum runs upwards of $400. A trained industrial engineer born and raised in Colombia, Harper founded her brand in 2007 after her stepfather’s health crisis caused her to scrutinize, and ultimately spurn, synthetic ingredients in beauty products. She’s been on a mission ever since to prove that natural doesn’t equal less effective—or any less luxurious. Now, her range is carried in shops and spas across North America, including at Murale in Canada, but they’re still handmade in small batches at Julius Kingdom—her idyllic, 1,200-acre family farm, which doubles as her company’s headquarters—in Vermont. During her recent stop in Toronto, Cosmetics caught up with the skincare innovator to talk beauty wisdom.
What is your idea of perfect beauty? Somebody who, when they wake up in the morning, has skin that looks beautiful, and they love themselves. That is the ultimate success—when people love themselves.
How do you look when you feel most like yourself? No makeup, just a bit of blush, my hair back in a ponytail. In comfortable clothing. Flats, for sure.
If you could create a fragrance that encapsulated your personality, what would it smell like? It would be a mixture of grapefruit with roses, very energetic but very feminine at the same time.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten at a beauty counter? To have a comprehensive routine that goes beyond cleansing and putting on lotion.
What is your biggest beauty extravagance? Serums. I use all four of my own serums almost every day. In the morning, I use Elixir Vitae all over my face, the Boosted Contouring Serum on my neck, and the Concentrated Brightening Serum all over my chest and face. At night, I do all four [the aforementioned three, plus the Rejuvenating Serum]. I put a lotion on top, and then I do an oil! Being the founder of a skincare line makes you very extravagant.
Tata Harper’s Beauty Picks
Which one of your signature beauty techniques should every woman know? Massaging the eye area when applying eye cream. That way, you’re always draining the fluid that tends to accumulate in the lower and upper lids. I notice a huge difference.
What primping ritual do you consider personally irrelevant? The makeup step, for me, is the most irrelevant. It’s the one I do the least. My mom was never into a lot of makeup either. Even as a young girl, when I put makeup on, I would never feel comfortable. I hate the foundation look. I immediately don’t look like myself.
Who do you admire as a living icon in the beauty world? [Actress] Sofia Vergara has always been my beauty icon. She’s from my same city [Barranquilla, Colombia]—and I’ve known her since I was a little girl.
What is your greatest beauty regret? Probably not using as much sunscreen as I should have. I’m not a big fan of sunscreen—even though you need it. I like Suntegrity. It’s smooth—not chalky, cake-y or drying.
What is your anti-aging motto? A lot of people think it’s all about the products they use, but it’s really lifestyle: you need to eat well, sleep well, exercise and have a beauty routine you follow day and night, exactly the same steps. You’re not going to get results if you’re using an eye cream every other night, this serum today, that other serum tomorrow. Consistency is key.
What do you deem a beauty crime? Using detergent, or soap, to clean your face is the biggest one. It’s like skin-barrier degradation every time you use that. You lose all your hydration.
What do you consider an underrated skincare commandment? Drinking eight glasses of water a day. A lot of people don’t do that. It’s really, really important.