When her father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, former Miami resident Tata Harper started to think seriously about her own health and what she is putting into her body. The Colombian-born mother of three combined her engineering expertise and love of beauty products to create her own line of natural, toxic-free products. Harper (whose father in law is currently doing well), was in town for a visit to talk about her skincare company, which she runs from her home in Vermont. Did we mention everything is produced on the family’s 1,200-acre certified-organic farm? No wonder celebrities are snapping up the eco-happy stuff, available at Sephora, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.
What is the best advice about skincare anyone ever gave you?
My grandmother taught me to start taking care of my skin early, which is really the ultimate strategy for looking your best through your whole life. When you start thinking about and caring for the skin's health at a young age, you essentially delay wrinkles and other signs of aging for so much longer.
Is it true that you were always into skincare? You liked giving facials to friends as a kid?
I really loved everything about beauty. The whole fascination started with my grandmother, who was very dedicated to her beauty, health and pampering rituals, and got the whole family involved. In Barranquilla, Colombia, where I'm from, there wasn't really local access to spas unless we traveled to Miami, so we did it ourselves. We would gather on Saturdays and spend the mornings doing facials, steam treatments, body wraps, hair masks, all of it. My favorite thing was going to the beauty store with my aunt and getting new products to try. Also, when I was young I used to give facials to my father; my sister and I would each do half of his face and whoever made his face softer and smoother would get to pick where we went to dinner that night!
How different are South Floridians’ needs than the rest of the U.S.?
It’s pretty humid here, so dryness definitely isn't a main concern, like it is in other states, where winter or desert weather depletes the skin of moisture. I think that addressing hyperpigmentation is a common need in Miami because you’re outdoors so much. But skin needs the same basic daily antiaging care no matter where you are.
When did you live in Miami and what did you do when you were here?
I lived in Miami from 2000 to 2007, and lived all over, but mostly in South Beach and Pinecrest. The first year that I worked there, I used my industrial engineering degree and was working on the final stages of building Casa Tua. After that I worked with my husband in real estate development, managing our various projects.
What celebrities do you think have great skin?
Gwyneth Paltrow's skin is gorgeous and looks so healthy, and so is Lake Bell's — it always looks glowy. Lauren Bush Lauren, too.
What are the most important things women can do for their skin every day?
A daily routine, of course: exfoliating to slough off the buildup of dead skin, moisturizing with high-quality products that penetrate to the deeper layers where moisture is so essential, and SPF if you are outside at all. Plus high-quality antiaging products free of synthetic chemicals, to repair the skin and slow down the aging process. Also, make sure you get between six and eight hours of sleep a night, try to manage stress by exercising or meditating, drink lots of water and juices all day to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out, and eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and carotene-rich vegetables. Our skin reflects the state of our internal health every day, so it's key to keep your body and mind balanced and happy.