Why Tata Harper Put 72 Active Ingredients
into 1 Glowifying Super-Serum
In the clean-beauty arms race, it’s safe to say Tata Harper has always been on the front lines. Launched from her Vermont farm in 2010, her line was the OG natural beauty brand in the luxury space. Now her newly revamped Supernaturals collection is getting what she calls a technology update. “We actually don’t call it a reformulation,” she says. “That’s typically something you do to make something cheaper or to fix problems, you know? In this case, there was so much newness coming out of the different labs we work with that we thought, Okay, we really want to take this to the next level.”
For Harper, much of the tech comes in the form of active ingredients—seventy-two of them, to be exact, in the super-serum Elixir Vitae. “We’re so used to being marketed the single active—the vitamin C, the hyaluronic acid,” she says. “And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound like I don’t use those. But they’re by no means on the cutting edge in terms of our formulations.” In Elixir Vitae, for instance, there are kelp polymers that target cellular aging working alongside skin-smoothing neuropeptides derived from Spanish lavender and sweet chrysanthemum. Argan fruit extracts plump, jugo bean focuses on firming, and African birch bark protects against oxidative stress.
Aimed at glow and similarly multifaceted, the Concentrated Brightening Serum is made with sixty-nine active ingredients. “We’ve typically relied on acids and enzyme technology for glow,” says Harper. “But now there are new raw materials, like brightening microalgae carotenoids, that help absorb UV light almost like a solar panel, offsetting signs of sun damage.” The serum uses colza plant to help even ruddiness. The slightly pearlescent formula lights up skin immediately, but after regular use we noticed the kind of glowy, even tone we get after in-office lasers.
Many labs initially felt that getting this many active ingredients into one working formula was unachievable from a stability standpoint. But this is where Harper’s background as an industrial engineer kicked in: She refused to be intimidated and kept asking questions and refining formulas until they worked. “These products are for the beauty maximalist, the person who wants results,” she says. “We had to find a way, and we did.”