Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tata Harper Review. It's Complicated

Tata Harper photo
Short story? Although Tata Harper Skincare's products work beautifully I really struggled to complete this review. Why? It's complicated.

Long story? This brand with its lovely logo, evocative pictures and eponymous label showed up every time I searched for body care products and companies committed to using safe ingredients. More impressively Tata Harper received a recommendation from and had a link on a very reputable site, No More Dirty Looks. When I checked the brand in Skin Deep's database each product received a no-to-low risk (zero to 2) hazard rating. All very good so far.
Tata Harper photo
OK... so my expectations were high. I navigated to the beautiful and informative company website and was exceedingly impressed with their safety standards, environmentally conscious practices and the health and beauty radiating from founder and spokesperson, Tata Harper. I saw the company is very involved in supporting the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011. I even found a wonderful video done by and for Vogue Italy. Very very good.

 As excited as I was to try the products I'm enough of a skeptic to want samples before committing to any expensive items. And Tata Harper is a high end product. When I learned a 5 hour drive to New York City was my closest option for samples I emailed the company.

Happy surprise- their representative responded to my email. This was something no other company had done so far...which is why I mention it here... My good feeling about Tata Harper was getting stronger by the minute!

Tata Harper photo
I only requested samples of a cleanser and moisturizer. They generously sent a whole regime in this happy little green Santa's sack: The Deluxe Trial and Travel Set, $65.00 worth of product arrived on my doorstep in record time. And like Santa's sack it was full of wonderful goodies. Eight to be exact. Very generous. Very good.

With great anticipation I lined the pretty little glass jars up in order of how they were to be used and prepared for my trial with the travel sizes. But each time I opened a jar my olfactory radar went off!  Every product had its own very distinct very strong scent.

It's funny how the brain works. Mine anyway. I think I'm such a skeptic, but the press, the beautiful images had worked on me. I was already sold on this product before I opened that first jar. So instead of trusting my own responses, closing up the product and chalking the whole thing up to experience I was actually reminding myself of the low hazard ratings, the beautiful web site and pictures, the association with trusted others, the great press, the video, the New York digs, the farm in Vermont...

I pressed on and followed the regime as described in the enclosed instructions. First the Regenerating Cleanser. Hmmm... strong, artificial orange smell. Next the Hydrating Floral Essence. Was that really the same smell as "parfum" at the old Woolworth Store in my college town? Then onto the Rejuvenating Serum and finally the Rebuilding Moisturizer, each with their own strong scent...and that was really all I could tolerate. My head was spinning.

Too much does not adequately describe the overwhelming effect of the co-mingling of these strong aromas. Each was really already too much on it's own. I tried to rinse off as much as possible. But one of the good things about these products, how quickly they're absorbed was working against me at this point.

Here's where it all became extremely complicated for me. Yes, it's true, I was practically sold on Tata Harper before I even tried the first product. Although I'd always thought I was a total  skeptic I know now that I'm just like every other consumer. But great advertising and positive associations can only go so far. I quote my own words here when describing myself for this blog, " Ridiculously hopeful and relentlessly searching for the truth behind beauty products hype and myths".  So shoot me.

Yes, I really, really, really wanted to love these products and to post a positive review. So here comes more complications. Aside from my own shortcomings, the scents and all that mess- fact is the products really worked. The cleanser ever so very gently exfoliated. The floral essence, a light spray, felt lovely as a follow up toner and moisturizer. The serum was smooth and light, as was the final moisturizer. Each formulation required very little actual product and absorbed quickly into my skin. As I peered into the mirror, trying to ignore my pounding ears and the oncoming freight train of a headache, my skin looked and felt fresh and dewy. And after I washed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed? Same thing...although some of that may have been due to all the rinsing.

Confusing, right? Yeah. It's obvious this brand and the products are more than just beauty industry business as usual. Yes, it really feels to me like they're selling (hard) a brand and an enviable lifestyle. But besides the reality that Tata Harper is a smart, creative, gorgeous and glowingly healthy woman who lives on a beautiful farm in Vermont, has an apartment in New York City and was featured in a enticing video for Vogue Italy, there is real substance to back up the products. All that and a whole lotta' scent...

I looked up Tata Harper Skincare again in Skin Deep's database. This time I was more thorough. I read the entire page for each product and made sure to see how the scents were actually listed and rated. Here's what I found for the scents related to the Regenerating Cleanser, Rejuvenating Serum and Rebuilding Moisturizer


Data: None

Natural essential oil blend (fragrance from 100% clinical grade essential oils).

There was nothing in the database relating to the fragrance for the Hydrating Floral Essence. Does that mean the scent comes naturally from the ingredients? It was the strongest scent of them all.

End of story? I didn't even get to the rest of the generous products that were sent to me. Hopefully Tata Harper Skincare will break down the specific ingredients scents and essential oils in her otherwise lovely products because they did work as promised. I can only imagine how well since I couldn't follow the regime. Someone with less sensitivity might do really well with them.

Here again is the link to Skin Deep's review of Tata Harper products so you can make your own comparisons. The ingredients are all in there along with the ratings. Please follow the many links presented earlier in this review to learn more about the brand. Maybe you'll have a fresh perspective on things. The ingredient information is also available at the Tata Harper website and Spirit Beauty Lounge

And if it's not as complicated for you-  will you please let me know?