The American press is all over Tata Harper; formerly a industrial engineer, who was inspired to make an all natural line after her father was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t want to take in any more chemicals via skin products, quite understandably. Columbian born Harper grows many ingredients on her farm in Vermont, where the products are made.
I’ve recently tried a couple of products and despite truly wanting to love them, I found them distinctly average. It’s a tricky one: natural and organic brands are made for all the right reasons but personally, I don’t think they deliver to a level that is exceptional. In fact, I sense a shift away from organics and natural products now, not only on price terms, because they do tend to be expensive (a 50ml cleanser from Tata Harper is £40), but also because they’re just, not, er, very good compared to non-natural products. There, I said it out loud. So, I may as well continue. The Tata Harper Cleanser was fine; it didn’t give a squeaky clean cleanse, but it did clean my skin. But fine isn’t exceptional. When I first used Omorovisca cleanser, I was blown away..the same for Oskia. You could just tell they were exceptional performers that delivered over and above expectations. Tata Harper didn’t. And if ‘fine’ is okay because you want to opt for natural above all other criteria, then knock yourself and your forty quid out. And telling your average cancer patient that it’s going to cost £72 for a body oil (Tata Harper’s Revitalizing Body Oil) to keep them ‘healthier’ is just not on.
I didn’t like the packaging either. The Tata products come wrapped with a paper label that you pull away to reveal instructions. When I pulled mine away, it took most of the instructions with it! Lucky it was just the cleanser.
I don’t have an illness or anxieties over what chemicals are going into my body via my cleanser – maybe if I did, I’d think differently. But for me, the organic bubble has well and truly burst and I’m just not up for shelling out on products that don’t perform as well, or better, than non organics. I feel rather differently about sustainable and recycled packaging – there are many beauty brands that could take a leaf out of the organic sector’s book and start being more consciencious about their packaging as well as leaving out half the leaflets that nobody reads anyway. It’s just pure laziness on the brand’s part to print instructions in every language known to man and shovel the whole thing in a box when that’s really not necessary. I don’t need to know in Chinese how it works, so why not just print a smaller leaflet in the language of where it is sold. Massive paper saving.
If an organic product does perform as well as another non counterpart, and the price difference is minimal, maybe I’d choose the organic option, but not necessarily. If it really felt so vital to be entirely chemical free, then I’d be living in Alaska in a yurt.
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Absolutely brilliant entry. Thanks for saying out loud what many others won’t dare to. I have to agree with you as well, since according to my experience all-natural organic products haven’t worked as good as some of the rest. Keep up the good work!
Well said. Finally some impartial remarks on organic products and their effectiveness – not to mention the high prices. Have you noticed that organic products don’t make a lot of best of beauty type awards for their effectiveness? Unless there is a special green product award?
Totally agree,I could not care less about if my products are organic or not. More important to me is the amount of packaging, the stance of a company on animal testing and overall ethics.
It may be a bit naive but I try to get products from companies such as M&S or Waitrose which have policies I agree with.
I’m a fan of Trilogy, Weleda and Organic Surge. I think they perform as well as or better than comparable non-organic products, and yes, there’s a certain degree of feel-good in knowing your not paying for a bottle of chemicals. If that’s a reasonable way to put it. I agree some organic brands are expensive; Trilogy is a good example, but the average face cream is now pushing £30 on up so it boils down to what your prepared to spend.
Having said that, I don’t use organics exclusively, nor do I think I would want to.
This particular brand you’ve reviewed sounds very poorly thought out and that will only hurt it in the end.
Wonderful post. I am so glad you have the courage to say it out loud. I can’t justify paying premium for an average product, and to add insult to injury they package it as if it was drugstore level. Tata could have at least made the effort to come up with some nice organic packaging since she’s charging that large amounts. But in the end, if I am expected to pay more for a Tata cleanser than for a Sarah Chapman or Emma Hardie then it has to perform better!
A great post, I love your honest reviews! x
Glad to hear you say this. I was in Space NK a year or so ago (in Los Angeles) and they were really pushing this brand. Jump to I just finished reading “Ugly Beauty”
(great read) the marketing machine is fierce!
From my perspective as a formulator, developing organic / natural products that perform as well as non-natural products is a challenge for us but not entirely impossible (more diffcult for certain products. It does however take time and skillful formulating to get it right! I wouldnt loose faith in natural products completely though as more and more natural ingredients are being developed to enable us to create beautiful and luxurious textures without the usual synthetic materials. In saying that this is the “new natural” movement which is not so much about pandering to unfounded safety concerns but more to do with sustainability and using green chemistry to minimise the impact of cosmetics on the environment which should quite rightly be the focus!
It is true though that there was a bit of fad at a point as nearly every range I was working on needed to be organic but now this is hardly ever requested -Performance is key, no compromises! 🙂
The Beauty Chemist