Fragrance Wardrobe: Tata Harper on the Scent That Eases Her Mind These Days

Tata Harper

Your perfume isn’t just how you smell—it’s how you feel. Usually, it's an accessory to how you present yourself to the world, but these days, it can serve as a source of comfort and nostalgia during days spent at home. In the upcoming weeks, we're sharing a new version of Fragrance Wardrobe, our series in collaboration with The Fragrance Foundation that highlights the rotating perfume “wardrobes” of tastemakers through key points in their life. In this new take, we'll be asking them to share their favorite scents through the lens of comfort and their at-home routine. Get to know them better via the scents they choose to wear during this uncertain time.

Before "natural" became a movement (and then the norm), before Sephora announced its Clean Beauty Seal, before "clean" and "luxury" felt like a natural pair, Tata Harper was concocting skincare in her 1,200 acre farm in Vermont. Harper, who was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, started her line of luxe, results-driven, all-natural products after her stepfather was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2005. At the time, the beauty industry had yet to catch onto the natural living wave, and the selection of skincare products that were free of toxic ingredients were far and few, much less ones that looked nice on your vanity and were made with cutting edge technology. Harper changed all of that with the launch of her line, which soon amassed a celebrity following with everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Jessica Alba singing her praises (both of whom have natural beauty brands of their own now).

In the current eco beauty revolution (because it is indeed a revolution, where industry norms are challenged and reigning powers that be are struggling for their hold), Harper is often deemed one of the leaders, paving the way for a market that's now exploding with brands that prioritize non-toxic ingredients, sustainability measures, and efficacy—not to mention packaging that's just begging to be shown off in a #shelfie. Another element of Harper's line that's grown devotion? Every product's aromatic, uplifting scent. Knowing that Harper is a fragrance buff herself and curious about her transition from traditional perfumes to essential oils, we caught up with her and asked her to share her rotating Fragrance Wardrobe—as well as the scent that's keeping her grounded during this challenging time. Keep scrolling to find out what it is.

Tata Harper
Courtesy of Tata Harper

The fragrance you remember most as a child:

"The most memorable fragrance from my childhood is my grandmother’s perfume Anais Anais Cacharel. The memory of that scent brings me back to all of the moments I spent with her hosting spa and beauty parties at home in Colombia. She is such a strong, confident woman, and her perfume represented that. Her fragrance is why I believe that having my own signature scent is important and each one that I've worn represents a different milestone in my life."

The first fragrance you bought for your fragrance wardrobe:

"The first perfume I remember buying is Spring Flower by Creed. It had a fruity and fresh scent that made me feel glamorous and feminine. I bought this perfume when I was in my early twenties and first moved to the US. I discovered it at a department store in Miami when I was shopping with my friends and when I wore it, it gave me a sense of confidence in a place that was so new to me. Miami was a magical place for me and my perfume matched perfectly to all of the new adventures I was experiencing. 

The fragrance you wore when you fell in love: 

"I fell in love in Colombia wearing the captivating Aedes Ambra di Venezia perfume. I chose to wear this scent because I loved the fruity undertones and the fact that it made me feel beautiful and free. I was in Colombia for my high school reunion when I fell in love and if I were to smell that perfume again today, it would l take me right back to that special moment under the stars walking through the sparkling streets of Barranquilla."

The fragrance that helps you de-stress: 

"I’ve been avoiding synthetic fragrances for about 15 years, which was hard at first since I have always loved perfumes. I started using essential oils instead and decided to create my own natural aromatherapy treatments. The one that’s with me always is our Stress Treatment; it’s filled with calming and grounding essential oils, like bergamot and neroli, that keep my sane during long travel days. We selected the ingredients for the Stress Treatment by looking at their effect on the mind so the combination of scents would inspire feelings of inner peace. A recent travel memory of me using this was when I was flying home from Paris Fashion Week before the European travel ban. I was stressed, but when I put the treatment on, it eased my mind, and I was able to take a moment to relax."

The fragrance that boosts your mood: 

"Essential oils not only smell good, but also make you feel good. When you breathe them in, they’re really incredible mood boosters. Our Irritability Treatment is good for everything because it has essential oils like Jasmine and Geranium that promote positivity and wellness, which is always a good thing.

The fragrance helping you power through the day: 

"When I have a really hectic, intense workday I always keep our Energy Treatment nearby. It has a combination of peppermint, siberian fir, and sweet orange essential oils that instantly make me feel alert and boost mental clarity.

The fragrance that comforts you: 

"When it’s time to unwind after a long day, I use our Bedtime Treatment. This blend is all about inspiring tranquility and peacefulness with lavender, chamomile, and other essential oils that help relax the mind. I like to use this treatment when I am traveling to a new time zone or need to find tranquility to sleep. I rub a bit of the treatment onto my hands, hold my hands up to my face, and take a few deep breaths. I find that this small step helps me to relax instantly and encourages me to take a moment to clear my mind before bed."

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