Thursday, September 04, 2008

Be Label Savvy!

From 1901 to 1918 and 1934 to 1948 Watkins published an Almanac and Home Book filled with valuable information for all Watkins customers. Times have changed but Watkins still loves to share helpful tips that are safe for your home and the environment!

In the personal care segment many companies are applying "natural" to their product labels. Without a governing agency to set natural standards for personal care, any brand on the market can call itself natural, regardless of its ingredients. Definitely deceiving to consumers!

Without set standards it is easy to see why consumers are confused! With Watkins you can trust our entire line of 95% and above natural personal care products are natural. But just how do you decipher the truly natural products from impostors? Watkins Natural Personal Care Product Manager Andrea Buckner sat down with me to explain and offer a few helpful tips.

What makes a personal care product natural?

The ingredients in a product determines if a product is truly natural or not. At Watkins, we believe that in order to call a product natural, the product as a whole needs to be formulated using natural ingredients. In an ideal world, all of our products would be 100% natural, and that is something we are striving for; however, there are circumstances when a natural substitution is not available. We take into consideration the origin of ingredients, as well as the processes that it may under take to be a useable ingredient in personal care products. Just because a product contains one or two natural ingredients, doesn't mean it's truly a natural product.

What are the clues we should be looking for on the label that tell us the product is not truly natural?

Because the market is not regulated, being label savvy is really important when it comes to natural personal care products. If you see parabens (Methyl-, Propyl-, Ethyl-, Butyl-), petrochemicals (petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin), chemical sunscreens (Oxybenzone/Avobenzone),or phthalates, you can be sure the product is not natural. Also, be apprehensive when you see a personal care product that says all-natural, made with natural, contains natural. . . .etc. Check the ingredients!

What if a product contains a natural ingredient? Is it natural?

Definitely not! There are companies out there who do this exact thing. Their lotion contains natural lavender oil, so they call it a natural lavender lotion. This is very deceiving to the consumer, but because natural personal care is not regulated, companies get away with stuff like this. This is why we put our natural percentage bar on each product that we have. We are honest with the consumer.

But it says "natural" or "organic" on the label.

Correct, and legally the companies can call it what they want. Recently, however the Natural Products Association (NPA) has stepped forward with a set of guidelines that have defined what 'natural' means. At Watkins, we are in the process of having all of our natural personal care products certified by the NPA, which will allow us to put a seal on each product. This seal ensures the consumer that the products they are purchasing are truly natural. It also helps to separate those who are not natural companies. I encourage everyone to visit their website at it contains a wealth of information on natural personal care.

What ingredients should we steer clear of?

As mentioned above, there are a handful of ingredients that natural products steer clear of. At Watkins, we have developed what we call our Freedom Code. We adhere to this code in the development and formulation of J.R. Watkins Natural Apothecary.

Chemical Sunscreens
Petro Chemicals
DEA/TEA-synthetic stabilizers
Formaldehyde Donors
1,4 Dioxanes
Chemical Preservatives

Bottom line, read your labels! As the old saying goes, you can't always trust a book by its' cover, or in this case, a natural personal care product by its' label.

Shop for Watkins Natural Products at

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