We get a lot of beauty products sent to the office every week: a color changing nail polish, an emerald green lipstick, a volumizing shampoo made from angel tears (ahhh, I might have dreamed up that one) and we LOVE it.
But it’s funny: lately, talking with our friends, with our Beauty Minute posts or even in the comments we can see how strongly the wind is moving toward a more natural beauty and of course, we’re super interested. What if non-chemical, all natural ingredients were as efficient as synthetic ones?
To be honest, I’m not one to start throwing away every product I’ve ever used. I have a soft approach to it.
Alex and I are slowly exploring natural beauty and trying to see what feels right, what feels good, and what feels efficient. It’s in that spirit that Alex went to visit Tata Harper’s farm a couple of weeks ago and:
1 / I was super jealous that I couldn’t make it.
2 / She fell in love with Tata and got to touch Hyaluronic Acid, which apparently, is natural (see, I don’t know anything!)
3 / She brought back all these dried plants that are in the pictures. And we all got hooked with her line.
Tata’s skincare products are 100% natural and non-toxic and her product are all made in Vermont. She’s super cool, (like us, no? ;)) and she’s been all about natural since 2010. So we thought she would be the perfect person to help us understand (and maybe jump on) the all natural wave.
What is natural beauty?
Natural beauty doesn’t have an official definition in the industry; a lot of beauty companies label and market their products as “natural” though they have synthetic chemical ingredients in the formulas. To me, “natural beauty”, when it comes to products, means the ingredients are 100% natural and nontoxic: nothing synthetic that’s been formulated in a lab, only things that have been derived from natural sources like plants, clays found in nature, etc. I think, too, “natural beauty” can mean something more holistic: a lifestyle approach to beauty that includes more than just skincare and makeup products, and incorporates important elements of our lifestyles that affect the way we look, like our diet, stress level, exercise, and how hydrated we are. I think cultivating beauty from the inside out is an element of “natural beauty”, because making healthy, skin-conscious lifestyle decisions can make a huge difference in our outward appearance – naturally.
What made you want to create a line of natural products?
My step dad was diagnosed with cancer about nine years ago now, and it really started after I accompanied him to different cancer centers and all of a sudden the doctors asked me to bring all of his personal care products in for evaluation, and everything was banned.
We were given the mandate to find all-natural products to replace everything that he was using. Obviously I was very curious about that because I’m Latin, and we use too many products. We grow up in a culture that we embrace beauty and our dedication to beauty is beyond what Americans can imagine.
I remember going to department stores trying to look for this holy grail of natural skincare, to look at the ingredients, and thinking, “What’s the point of this natural skincare if it mixes the natural and all of the synthetics?” Basically, that’s how it started and it took almost five years with eight different scientists, because I was obsessed with making them extremely high-tech so that when people use them they would see the results. So I had aromatherapists, homeopathic doctors, herbalists, botanists, skin biologists, all working in this line for many years, until we were launched into the market.
What do we need to worry about?
The majority of the products that are out there in the market contain these questionable toxic chemicals that the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] does not regulate.
A lot of the time what happens is that people don’t even realize what they are putting on. The typical is like the paraben-free, so you’re like “Oh it is natural, it is paraben-free.” And I know that that just means there is one ingredient they left out of there. But then they replace it with another ingredient, which is a mixture of gasoline and alcohol. And people just don’t know that. If people knew what is in their products they probably wouldn’t be putting it on their skin everyday twice a day.
Daily exposure to all these toxic chemicals, that is what motivated me to do this. As a consumer, I don’t want to put any potential cancer-causing ingredient on my skin. Ten years down the road, with the attempts to be beautiful, my wellness is sacrificed. At the end of the day, is what this natural movement is all about. A lot of people think that the natural movement, this switch, has to do with the environment and hugging trees in Vermont. It’s really not about that, this is a health conversation that we are all having.
Do natural products work?
A common myth is that natural products don’t work, everybody thinks that. People are used to natural products that are really low quality found in supermarkets, where you don’t expect a lot of performance from them in the first place. When people say that natural products don’t work, that is something I have to challenge every time.
I am usually faced with women that come to me and say “Tata I buy organic food for my family, I use all natural products to clean my house, I use all natural medicine, but, you know my skin care products are still this and that.”
And I’m like “What are you doing?” Why are you doing that when nowadays you can achieve the results you need without putting all the synthetic chemicals on your skin?
For example, we bring ingredients from around the world like Spanish lavender. We bring from a lab outside of Barcelona. It is actually an ingredient that is synthesized, so it mimics the effect of Botox topically applied. So in two hours, 95% of all your subcutaneous muscles are completely relaxed. So that is something that people really don’t realize when they think about natural products.
Have you noticed changes in the market?
The good thing is that the market is really responding to this demand that customers are making for having better things for them. In big cosmetic labs today, the majority of the budget goes into natural actives that perform as well as synthetics, or even better.
It is getting a lot easier now to find all of these natural ingredients. Before when we would go to trade shows there would only be about ten or fifteen, and now it has become such a huge thing. Now it is super exciting because everyone is reevaluating. The majority of the newness is all about natural actives.
What advice do you give someone who wants to start using natural products?
I like to tell people to start with one thing at a time. Change the things that you use most often first, don’t try to change everything because it is such a daunting task that the people never end up doing anything.
Typically I think that the easiest thing to start with is cleanser. Start with a cleanser, start with a toner, start with a mask. And I feel that a lot of the time that is how people get introduced to our line, through our mask and our cleanser and our toner.
What is your beauty philosophy?
First of all, I believe that beauty isn’t a one way street: the way we look on the outside is a reflection of our entire wellness. I believe that healthy food, getting lots of sleep, controlling stress and finding time to relax, finding time for regular exercise and staying hydrated are all as important to the way my skin looks as my skincare is. It doesn’t matter how many creams you use – if you’re not getting any sleep or your diet is mostly sugar or processed foods, your skin is going to reflect that by being more dull or prone to showing signs of aging because it’s not being nourished, or given time to naturally refresh and regenerate. Secondly, I believe that beauty is about consistent, daily care – find a routine that makes your skin glow and stick to it, so your skin can really enjoy the long-term benefits of the products!
Here are a few others brands that we love and are following the whole natural path… Don’t hesitate to tell us if you know others!
So, what do you think about natural beauty? What are you using? And what does it take for you to go 100% natural?