Tara Smith: Beauty begins at the roots

By Sydney Radclyffe for Box News

The beauty industry isn’t typically associated with ethical values, either social or environmental, but Tara Smith is guiding this particular market towards meaningful change.

The Hollywood institution-turned-entrepreneur’s eco-friendly, vegan line, Tara Smith Haircare, has redefined expectations of ethical beauty. Tara’s brand proves that consumers can be kinder to themselves and the planet while enjoying a high-quality product.

Box Media spoke with the 3rd-generation hairdresser to learn about her journey and the values which shaped it.

How things got started

The seed for her company was planted early in Tara’s life. Spending time in her grandmother’s salon as a child, she noticed how regular use of traditional, chemical-laden products aggravated the skin. Tara soon realised that this was happening to all our bodies on some level.

Decades later, this troubling knowledge would push her to start her own line of vegan hair products. Tara’s desire to drive change manifested in a company culture that doesn’t prioritise financial success or visibility. Instead, she genuinely champions industry and consumer responsibility for the health of individuals and the planet.

Foundations in Hollywood

For almost 20 years, Tara worked as lead and personal hairstylist on over 35 major film titles. During this time Tara formed connections with some of Hollywood’s most prominent creative names.

Although she started her career journey in a very different place, working in the film industry provided the foundation for Tara Smith Haircare. Tara’s wealth of experience helped to demonstrate the gap in the market for healthy, eco-friendly hair products delivering a world-class standard of quality. Based on the high demand she saw from this small group of professionals, Tara knew that the public would undoubtedly take an interest too.

Helping to start the ethical self-care revolution

Winning the 2006 Celebrity Hairdresser of the Year award gave Tara the momentum to finally launch her brand. At the time, the vegan movement was in its infancy and not quite yet a buzzword, let alone a widely-available option for everything from dairy to cleaning products.

In Tara’s words, “What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your mouth.”

This quality formed the backbone of her business’ ethos, and in many ways presaged the ethical self-care movement. While many, at first, were sceptical of the appeal of vegan haircare, ethical products have since flooded the mainstream.

Others have, of course, realised the value of ‘vegan’ and ‘ethical’ as labels. But Tara has never approached this as a trend. For her, caring for oneself and the environment is vital to a healthy, happy existence.

Tara Smith Haircare is cruelty- and animal product-free and non-toxic. It won’t harm the ecosystem through the water supply, unlike the majority of beauty and cleaning products. Whether or not others share her commitment, Tara laid the groundwork for other vegan companies to grow. Tara was at the beginning of the movement to make ethical products more accessible and affordable for the average consumer, not a privileged few.

A lifelong commitment to doing good things with good people

The positive impact of Tara’s company is almost impossible to calculate, yet she never intended to become an innovator. Throughout her career, she’s stuck to the principle of “doing it from the heart”, whatever “it” might be. 

Tara’s radical, non-discriminating care for people and the planet has grown in tandem with her resources, and she believes in taking the opportunity to “pay it forward” whenever possible. 

Having worked in the past with actress and activist Patricia Arquette, Tara joined the board of GiveLove, an NGO headed by Arquette which is working to improve global sanitation. 

Above all, Tara is proof that you don’t have to choose between ethics and success in business. In fact, by uniting the two, you can make more of an impact than you ever thought possible. 

From this angle, the positive impact of Tara’s company is likely impossible to calculate, yet none of her work was thought up just to make waves, and she never intended to become an innovator; throughout her career she has stuck fast to the principle of “doing it from the heart”, whatever “it” may be. Her radical, non-discriminating care for people and the planet alike has only grown larger in tandem with her resources, and she is a firm believer in taking the opportunity to “pay it forward” whenever possible. Having worked in the past with actress and activist Patricia Arquette, she joined the board of GiveLove, an NGO headed by Arquette which is working to improve global sanitation.

Above all, Tara is proof that you don’t have to choose between ethics and success in businessin fact, by uniting the two, you might make more of an impact than you ever thought possible. 

Visit www.tarasmith.com and get to know Tara Smith Haircare.