When our VP of Research and Development, Cara, tells people what she does, they always have a lot of questions. And she has answers.
So, you actually make the products?
We are vertically integrated, which means we do everything right here in Vermont, including developing formulas and making product. Tata works with the Research and Development team to articulate her vision for new products and the team translates her ideas into our high-performance formulas in the Research and Development lab. Once Tata approves a formula for launch, the Research and Development team transfers the new technology to the batch production team to increase the formula to production scale. From there, we produce, fill, and package the product by hand. Our unique Open Lab traceability program allows consumers to find out exactly when their product was hand made here on the farm.
Does that natural stuff really work?
Yes! Even though synthetic chemicals are the default for modern beauty, women have been using natural materials for skin care since antiquity. The ladies of King Louis IV’s court used aged wine for anti-aging, Geisha in Japan favored rice water for skin lightening, and Cleopatra was a fan of milk and honey for just about everything. The pharmaceutical industry is another great example of using nature – the heart medication digoxin was discovered in the leaves of Foxglove, aspirin is based on a component in willow bark, and the malaria drug quinine comes from chinchona bark.
Really, natural products just get us back to basics. Years ago, finding truly natural ingredients was like finding a needle in a haystack. Today, we can access natural materials from every corner of the globe with clinically proven efficacy. It’s a very exciting time to develop natural skincare products because we don’t have to compromise on efficacy in order to formulate a natural product.
Are essential fatty acids really important in my skincare?
YES. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are essential skin nutrients, but our body can’t produce them so the only sources are diet and skin absorption. These are the building blocks for healthy skin. Omega 3 and 6 are critical to skin function and appearance, and Omega 6 is required for skin barrier function and structural integrity. EFAs are critical for preventing inflammation and collagen destruction, creating the cell membrane of keratin, and ceramide production (ceramides are the glue that holds skin cells together to create a strong barrier to shield the skin from environmental factors and prevent moisture loss). Botanical oils like rosehip, green tea, camellia, sacha inchi, prickly pear, sandalwood seed, and acai are packed with Omega Fatty Acids, and you’ll see those ingredients in many of our products.
Do I really have to avoid parabens?
Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are commonly used in cosmetic products – depending on the source, estimates suggest that parabens are present in 85-90% of cosmetic products in the US. The most significant concern about parabens is their ability to mimic estrogen, a hormone responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics (the stuff that appears during puberty). This mimicry can disrupt the hormonal balance in the body, causing the body to react to an artificial influx of estrogen and increase breast cell division (which could lead to tumor formation). There is also some evidence of reproductive toxicity, including reducing testosterone level and sperm count. The studies that support these toxicities are hotly debated in the scientific community (and in the chemical industry) and a definitive cause-effect relationship has not been proven. However, it’s important to remember that safety studies are looking at a chemical dose in isolation, and if 85-90% of the products you’re using contain the chemical, your cumulative exposure is well beyond what toxicologists are analyzing. Think about how many personal care products you use in one day – toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, skincare, makeup, the list goes on. The way I like to think about this is through the lens of the precautionary principle, which basically says that even if a chemical’s negative health effect is not definitively proven, it’s better to act with precaution and avoid it until you know for sure. The US chemical regulatory system uses the exact opposite logic, but the EU’s more progressive chemical regulation policy banned parabens in baby products.
That’s a very long way to say ‘probably’.
Is Tata Harper Skincare really natural?
There are no synthetic chemicals in our skincare. None. Before we use a new ingredient, we review an extensive dossier of information about ingredient safety, efficacy, sourcing, processing, and stability. If it passes the initial screening process, then we present the ingredient and all the data to Tata for review and approval. Tata personally approves every ingredient, and is extremely selective about what she approves for use in her products. In addition, we formulate to the Cosmos standard, which is the most strict and authentic natural/organic standard in existence today. We set an extremely high bar.
Want to know what Cara’s team has been up to lately? Shop What’s New.
Author: Tata Harper Team
The team at Tata Harper Skincare is passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty lifestyle that’s committed to safety, honesty and sustainability.