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Entrepreneur Tata Harper Reveals the Secrets Behind Clean Beauty

On the most recent episode of Mission Critical, our Editor-in-Chief, Lance Chung, had the opportunity to sit down with beauty entrepreneur and emerging titan of the clean beauty industry, Tata Harper, to discuss all things beauty and business. Throughout the extensive interview, Harper opens up about issues plaguing the beauty industry, the need for more sustainable production in the space, how her personal life influences her work, and so much more. Below are some of our favourite insights from Harper. You can listen to the interview in its entirety here.

What was your fondest or earliest memory of beauty?

Tata Harper: I grew up in a family where the women were obsessed with beauty, and that love for beauty was contagious to me. My grandmother used to host these spa parties at her house almost every weekend. She would bring mani-pedis, do blowouts. […] I would wake up really early in the morning with her, and we would make a lot of concoctions; it was like a beauty morning.

What does beauty mean to you? 

Tata Harper: I think that beauty is this very ethereal thing between feeling good and transmitting this feeling back into the world because when you don’t feel good, you don’t look as good. I feel that it has a lot to do with the way that you carry yourself. It also reinforces how attractive you feel that you are— it’s very mental, it’s very emotional. 

Why did you start your brand?

Tata Harper: I was living in Miami when my stepfather got diagnosed with cancer. It was the first time that we had cancer in the family. And I ended up accompanying him to a lot of clinics and learning a lot about lifestyle and how much your lifestyle affects your health, wellbeing, you know, the daily things. Even though I was a health enthusiast and a beauty enthusiast, I had never really made that connection. 

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How do you use science to fuel beauty?

Tata Harper: Science is at the core of everything we do, and at the core of all our products. It takes two years to make our products because we start from scratch. Starting from scratch involves a lot of research at the beginning, especially around all the different benefits that we want this product to have. It’s never about one benefit, it’s about multi-benefits.

What is clean beauty through the lens of Tata Harper Skincare?

Tata Harper: We have zero tolerance for synthetic chemicals, and we are aligned that it’s completely pure and natural. […] I think that eventually everything will be clean because there’s really no definition around “clean,” right? It’s kind of like an effort that a lot of brands are making. For some, it’s about removing parabens or adding more botanicals to their formulas. I always say we are a brand that is all about science. Our science relies on really potent, natural ingredients from all over the world.

We notice your efforts in sustainability; how much are customers appreciating and noticing these things?

Sustainability for us has never been something that we do for marketing. It’s something that we do because we believe that is the way to do business in the future. And actually, it’s a part of the business that we don’t talk a lot about. Some customers are really interested—there’s information on our website about it— but we don’t necessarily talk about it in that way, just because it’s embedded into every decision that we make. In my opinion, in order to call yourself a sustainable company, you have to make sustainable products; they can’t pollute the earth, the air, or the water. That’s when you have the right to call yourself sustainable.

What excites you about the future of beauty?

Well, two things, one is sustainability. I am in love with what’s happening now with new material sciences and evaluating things that are biodegradable, so that is extremely exciting. And then I would say that the other part that is really exciting is that green technology just keeps getting better and better.