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From farm to beauty cabinet

Natural skincare expert Tata Harper on why going organic is easier (and more effective) than you think.

Don’t kill us. You’re about to rethink your favorite beauty products. “A lot the ingredients [in cosmetics] are used in the car industry. Chemical emulsifiers, battery acids — and the sad part is, these ingredients aren’t there to make you beautiful, but to make the product work,” says natural skincare expert, Tata Harper.

“They are super cheap industrial chemicals. But they make the formula feel amazing and last 12 years on the shelf without going bad.” Harper, a favorite among beauty insiders, came to this realization after her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer. “I ended up going to wellness centers and it really opened up my eyes to how important it is that the things we use everyday are completely non-toxic.”

The former industrial engineer had found her calling. She then spent five years working with biologist and chemists to perfect her high performing synthetic-free formulas. She now produces everything for her eponymous skincare line — from the botanical ingredients to packaging material — from her 1,200 acre certified organic farm in Vermont. We chatted with Harper about advances in natural beauty and when we should start slathering on anti-aging products.

For people who want to switch to natural products, where should they start?
Whether you’re using natural or any other product, I always say start with things like cleansers, toners or masks. These are not a big financial commitment and will give you an idea on if you’re going to like the products overall. I also say start with things that are not huge anti-aging pieces of the puzzle. It’s not your eye cream, your serum or your moisturizers.

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What natural ingredients are you loving?
The most impressive are the new neuropeptides. They basically give you the effects of Botox. You feel complete relaxation of your muscle, obviously not of your full muscle, which is great because that you don’t lose expression in your face. But you get a relaxation of the wrinkle.

What are some advances in natural skincare right now?
Now you can find a lot of natural stem cells, which help regenerate the skin. Also, there’s a lot of plumping ingredients. They’re kind of like fillers but applied topically. And what happens is they go to your hypodermis, like your fat cells, and basically make your fat cells fatter and pump up the volume from within. You can find that in our product Elixir Vitae.

At what age should people start using anti-aging products?
I think late 30s would be a good time because when you’re trying to fight aging, you want to be really proactive. You don’t just want start using serums when you’re already full of wrinkles. What’s the most important part of a beauty regime? There’s nothing more important than serums or eye creams. Those two things are your real workhorses for the skin to drive collagen and anti-aging benefits. But the reality is if you don’t clean your skin well and you don’t exfoliate, 70 percent of those serums are never going penetrate. A good cleansing/ exfoliation is vital.

Why you should switch
“Now there’s a huge movement around the world with people trying to live better and make better choices to improve their quality of life,” says Harper. “When [natural products first launched] you found them in apothecaries and supermarkets, but now natural technology has really taken off and you can do almost anything you can do with synthetics, with natural alternatives. And the thing is they’ll make you beautiful and keep you healthy.”

diy

" I love this mask. I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid," says Harper. "It's amazing for glow and clarity for the skin.

"Mix together a half a cup of plain yogurt, it doesn’t matter if it’s Greek, strawberries, they have a high content of salicylic acids, so it helps with cellular turnover. Add in pineapple or papaya because they both have naturally occurring enzymes that help get rid of the buildup and clean the pores. Add two tablespoons of honey — especially raw honey. Blend it all together kinda like a really thick smoothie and apply. You can put it on your face, body, back. It basically helps bring immediate glow, moisturization and radiance."

 
 
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