If you read my blog often enough, you will know that I firmly stand behind the idea that natural and organic does not necessarily mean products are better or safer. For instance, lavender oil and tea tree oil used together can cause breast development in boys (New England Journal of Medicine, 2007). “Natural” fruit oils like limonene are common irritants for the skin (though typically in higher concentration than in Tata Harper products, please note). (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1982).
And with many natural/organic products, you don’t know whether or not the ingredients are consistent: For instance, shea butter derived from different regions of the world has significantly altered fatty acid and vitamin E content, depending largely on the climate from which it is derived (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2004).
Still, I’m not going to say that either type of products, natural/organic or synthetic, are bad. Thorough reviews of the scientific literature covering the vast majority of natural/organic and synthetic ingredients allowed in the U.S. shows they are safe in skin care and cosmetic products. Most of the alarming studies simply use products in way too high concentration – for instance, even beta-carotene is dangerous in high concentration! (Beta carotene increases collagen-degrading enzyme activity unless it is used with other antioxidants, as found in this study).
So, with that said, here is my honest opinion of Tata Harper products:
Worth a Buy: Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence ($65.00, Amazon.com
Science clearly likes this product, and I happily agree. Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence has a lot going for it, with major soothing properties from aloe, white willow bark extract, rice bran extract, soybean extracts, and witch hazel. Witch hazel is not only cited in Complimentary Therapies in Medicine to have anti-inflammatory properties, but also contains tannins that act as natural astringents, according to the journal Archives of Dermatology.
Perhaps my favorite part of Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence is superoxide dismutase. A powerful antioxidant, superoxide dismutase is naturally found in the skin, but becomes depleted whenever the skin is bombarded with UV light or free radicals. However, topically applying superoxide dismutase to the skin can really make a difference, preventing this process somewhat (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1986). While the ingredient is not in particularly high concentration in Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence, it is one of the most impressive components of the entire line.
Keep in mind that Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence does contain potentially irritating citrus oils, which can also make the skin photosensitive. So never use Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence without sunscreen during the day. Better yet: Save Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence for nighttime use only. 🙂
Pass By: Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum ($150.00, Amazon.com)
While giving my honest review sometimes requires saying unkind (or at least non-generous) things, I really don’t like doing it. That said, it’s not that Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum is bad for your skin or anything like that. The characteristic citrus oils, though small in concentration, will sensitize your skin to the sun somewhat, so you absolutely need to use a sunscreen. But I really like the inclusion of aloe, witch hazel, rice bran extract, and superoxide dismutase.
The thing is, though, Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum claims to reduce wrinkles. Yet nowhere does it say by how much – and that’s the ticket here. Mild exfoliation will always make wrinkles look slightly better. However, this product doesn’t contain high concentrations of retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, L-ascorbic acid, or any of the other ingredients clinically proven to significantly reduce wrinkle depth over time.
Some people say plant extracts contain natural active ingredients, but these active ingredients are not as efficacious as when they are concentrated. Take, for instance, white willow bark. In studies, white willow bark has been shown to be more effective than placebo for headaches and back pain, but it is the salicin within white willow bark that is responsible for much of these effects. Salicin is chemically similar to aspirin. But no one would ever prescribe white willow bark for severe headaches or back pain, because the small dose of salicin within white willow bark is nowhere near as potent as a good ol’ dose of concentrated 200 mg aspirin. I’m not saying to pop aspirin addictively, but if you have a severe headache, believe me, you would reach enthusiastically for the aspirin. Similarly, wrinkles demand more concentrated solutions.
Worth a Buy: Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer ($100.00, Amazon.com)
One of my favorite traits in people is transparency. As with my favorite Dr. Seuss quote: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Love it!
What I love about Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer is that it doesn’t put on airs. It’s not a superior anti-aging product, nor does it claim to be. Instead, it’s a silky, hydrating powerhouse great for dry skin year-round, or dry patches for everyone else come winter. It’s absolutely brimming with many proven hydrators, ranging from mango butter to olive oil, safflower oleosomes to sodium hyaluronate.
While the $100 price tag is hard to justify for a hydrating product, rest assured that Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer does feel luxurious, contains antioxidants, and most of all, it works for dry skin.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Mangifera indica (Mango) butter, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, Carthamus tinctorius (Safflower) oleosomes, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (derived from coconut), Olea europea (Olive) oil*, Glycerin (from vegetable origin), Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) distillate*, Oryza sativa (Rice) extract*, Rosa damascena flower water*, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil*, Cetearyl olivate (derived from olives), Leuconostoc ferment filtrate (radish root extract), Chemical free honey, Sodium hyaluronate (naturally produced fermentation), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) butter, Menyanthes trifoliata (Buckbean) flower extract, Salix alba (Willow) bark extract*, Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) flower*, Borago officinalis (Borage) flower*, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) flower*, Filipendula ulnaria (Meadowsweet) leaf & flower*, Tilia europaea (Linden) leaf & flower*, Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender) extract, Arnica montana (Arnica) flower*, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder*, Galactoarabinan (gum derived from Larch tree), Sclerotium gum (derived from root vegetables & corn), Sorbitan olivate (wax derived from olives), Cetyl palmitate (wax derived from olives), Sorbitan palmitate (wax derived from soy), Soy peroxidase (derived from soy), Superoxide dismutase (derived from horseradish root), Ethyl alcohol (from corn origin), Benzyl salicylate, Citronellol, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.
Pass By: Tata Harper All-Natural Rebuilding Moisturizer ($100.00, Amazon.com)
Again, it’s hard to justify a claim like “rebuilding” in this day and age without quantifying in a clinical study “by how much.” Truth be told, I don’t really feel that this product rebuilds the skin much, especially not compared to others for the price tag. Don’t get me wrong – It hydrates well for normal skin types, it fends off free radicals with antioxidants, and it provides that natural claim for those who are looking for that sort of thing. But it’s not a superior product for collagen building. Keep in mind that Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence has a lot of the same ingredients, including superoxide dismutase, aloe, white willow bark extract, rice bran extract, soybean extracts, and witch hazel, with half the price tag.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Mangifera indica (Mango) butter, Carthamus tinctorius (Safflower) oleosomes, Olea europea (Olive) oil*, Glycerin (from vegetable origin), Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) distillate*, Cetearyl olivate (derived from olives), Oryza sativa (Rice) extract*, Rosa damascena flower water*, Sorbitan olivate (wax derived from olives), Leuconostoc ferment filtrate (radish root extract), Chemical free honey, Sodium hyaluronate (naturally produced fermentation), Menyanthes trifoliata (Buckbean) flower extract, Salix alba (Willow) bark extract*, Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) flower*, Borago officinalis (Borage) flower*, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) flower*, Filipendula ulnaria (Meadowsweet) leaf & flower*, Tilia europaea (Linden) leaf & flower*, Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender) extract, Arnica montana (Arnica) flower*, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder*, Galactoarabinan (gum derived from Larch tree), Sclerotium gum (derived from root vegetables & corn), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (derived from coconut), Cetyl palmitate (wax derived from olives), Sorbitan palmitate (wax derived from soy), Soy peroxidase (derived from soy), Superoxide dismutase (derived from horseradish root), Ethyl alcohol (from corn origin), Natural essential oil blend**
Buy: Tata Harper All-Natural Regenerating Cleanser ($50.00, Amazon.com)
I like oil cleansing, for several reasons. First, it is gentle. Second, like compounds dissolve like compounds, and sometimes it takes an oil-based cleanser to remove all of the makeup and debris from your face. That said, I don’t recommend home-based oil cleansing for most people – it’s too easy to overdose on castor oil and get some nasty side effects.
That said, Tata Harper All-Natural Regenerating Cleanser is solid. It contains oils that dissolve makeup and debris well, without the worrisome task of having to mix the oils yourself at home.
The thing is, if you normally spend $50 or more per skin care product, then Tata Harper All-Natural Regenerating Cleanser is a buy. No question. But if you normally spend $30 or less per product, then I would invest in the Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence – or a high-powered serum or moisturizer from another brand – instead. It’s almost always better to invest in leave-on products, with the only exception being if you’re a wash-and-go kind-of person (in which case, I hope you also remember to apply sunscreen!) 🙂
Although I’m not a stickler for all-natural or organic products, I completely get the Tata Harper appeal. She’s fresh-faced, home-grown, down-on-the-farm, and it’s impossible not to like her. (See her About page).
With that said, I would buy her products for cleansing and hydration for dry skin/winter months only: i.e., her Tata Harper All-Natural Regenerating Cleanser, Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence, and Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer.
But if I were looking for products with superior anti-aging abilities, in particular an anti-aging serum or moisturizer, I would not at this time choose her products. This could easily be corrected if she would extract high concentrations of proven anti-agers from plants and include them in her products (i.e., vitamin A, vitamin C, etc.), and then quantify the results in clinical studies. But with concentrated products with loads of data backing them from brands like Skinceuticals, Murad, Rodan+Fields, NIA 24, Olay, and many others, it’s hard to justify buying Tata Harper products to treat fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and the like. At least at this time. Who knows? In five years, I may sing a different tune. But for now, I recommend these for cleansing, toning, and winter hydration – nothing more, nothing less.
Hope this helps,
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