By Nicole Berrie
THROUGHOUT WELL-APPOINTED VANITIES ACROSS THE GLOBE, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t boast an array of little green-labeled bottles from natural beauty maven Tata Harper. Since launching her company in 2004, the Columbia native has earned cult celebrity thanks to her line of non-toxic skincare produces that includes best-selling hits like her Rejuvenating Serum and Hydrating Floral Essence (Yes, we own both.) Here, Bonberi caught up with the Vermont resident where she dished on how she takes care of her own skin and what she loves most about living on a farm.
How would you describe your morning and evening routine when it comes to skincare?
The most important thing about my routine is that I do it all, twice a day— I never skip a step. I of course use my entire line of products morning and night, they are all formulated to be super concentrated, bioactive and multitasking and they have worked wonders for my skin. I always start with a dry face and my Regenerating Cleanser to cleanse, exfoliate and polish— it’s a great cleanser because it doesn’t contain drying soaps and leaves my skin moisturized. Then I cocktail together the Hydrating Floral Essence and Rejuvenating Serum for an anti-aging collagen treatment, and then my Reparative Moisturizer since I have dry skin— it’s super rich and hydrating. And lastly my Replenishing Nutrient Complex, a nourishing facial oil as the last layer, for environmental protection. It sounds like it would take too long but it all just takes maybe two minutes!
Being raised in Columbia, what is one lesson you learned about taking care of yourself and your skin naturally?
One thing I learned is that beauty is not a luxury, it’s a priority. The Latina approach to beauty is about doing as much as you can to feel most beautiful, in a holistic way, so we consider what we eat, how our bodies feel, as well as the products we use. Latin girls begin participating in the beauty culture by creating their own habits and beauty rituals at a young age, since at the end of the day, starting young is the ultimate anti-aging strategy.
What is the best piece of advice you learned about holistic beauty and wellness?
Probably that beauty isn’t a one-way street. There are so many factors that influence your wellness every day, and so many ways to make yourself feel and look better. Lifestyle plays a huge role in beauty, not only superficially but also in how beautiful you feel inside— your confidence, happiness and general balance. For me, beauty has come to include the foods I eat, the supplements I take, my exercise habits and what I do to stay calm and happy every day. It’s not only about taking care of our outermost layer, the skin.
What are three things you can change or add in your diet that can holistically improve your skin?
Eat carotene-rich foods to promote collagen, like leafy greens, carrots and cabbage, cucumber because of its high silica content and fresh berries for their mega antioxidant power.
What is your favorite product from your line that you love to use in the summer?
My Hydrating Floral Essence is always in my bag, it’s so refreshing and instantly hydrating. I call it my anti-aging treatment on the go.
What is your motto when it comes to skincare and the sun?
Well, sun is the worst enemy for skin, so I guess avoid it at all costs! I wear a lot of sun hats and always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen on sunny days and take vitamin D3 to make up for it.
What is an ingredient popular in skin creams or sunscreen products that you should avoid at all costs and why?
Oxybenzone is a very dangerous ingredient in a lot of generic sunscreen products. According to the Environmental Working Group, which puts together a Sunscreen Guide every year, it’s one that parents should definitely avoid using on children since it’s been linked to hormonal disruption and low birth weight in babies. Also, avoid synthetic colors in skincare and makeup, which are mostly derived from coal tar and have been linked to cancer in lab tests. They’re banned all over the world but are still used in products in the US!
You live on a farm in Vermont. What do you believe are the health benefits of living in/near nature versus the city?
The biggest benefits for me are emotional since I’m able to completely disconnect from the hectic pace of city life. When I am in New York, every minute of my days are scheduled, and even weekends are draining and distracting; there’s never any rest. In Vermont on the farm, I can fully relax and do things I love, like spending time outside, hiking, going on a walk with the kids, and generally spending time with my family. There aren’t a million distractions; I can focus on my children and myself and enjoy the natural beauty around me.
Do you believe it’s necessary to change your skin care routine when you are in the country versus when you are in the city?
No, I don’t think it’s necessary to change it dramatically— your skin’s essential needs are the same: daily cleansing, hydration, collagen promotion and protection from the elements. Having a diet higher in antioxidants is probably helpful for fighting environmental toxins, since there is a lot of pollution in the air.
What are your favorite spas, healthy restaurants, yoga studios and/or holistic retreats near where you live in Vermont?
There are so many healthy options all over the state! I love the Otter Creek Yoga Studio near our farm, and there’s a lovely restaurant called Starry Night that has the best fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a great atmosphere. American Flatbread is awesome since it’s the healthiest and most local pizza I’ve ever had. My favorite place for facials is Mirror Mirror, a spa and store in Burlington that actually carries our line!
A LITTLE MORE FROM TATA…
I set my alarm at… 6:45
My favorite meal…I would have to say snacks and desserts. I
snack all day long and love sweets!
I feel most inspired… when I’ve met someone
whose skin, and therefore happiness and self-image, has been transformed by my
The best meal I’ve ever had… Andres Carnes de Res in
Bogota, Colombia. Their lunch menu is amazing, great Latin food.
My ideal getaway… Las Vantanas Resort in Mexico.
I’m most happy…. When I’m with my family.
My favorite way to break a sweat… Going for an
all-day hike up one of the mountains near us in Vermont.
The best thing I ever tasted…Swiss Chocolate.
I feel most balanced…After I exercise.
The last thing I cooked…A pulled pork sandwich.
My one necessary extravagance… A Suburban SUV… I
wish I could drive a smaller, more fuel-efficient car but I have a large family
and we travel a lot!
My favorite healthy snack…Snap Pea Crisps from our
local co-op. They’re like a healthy version of a potato chip snack.
My biggest self-care splurge…Bath products. I take
baths every night with my kids and our baths are always full of salts, oils,
oatmeals, milk. I love it.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten…“Finish what you