Earlier I blogged about my new experiment called "The Switch" which is basically an effort to switch, one item at a time, to more sustainable and environment-friendly products. I intend for it to cover a range of products and brands - from household cleaning to corporate needs to personal care.
So here's my second installment on personal care - Human Nature's Balancing Facial Wash: Orange & Elemi with Bamboo Scrubs. (The first one was also on Human Nature: Hydrating Facial Wash.)
While I would normally start off my reviews with the scent of a product, for this facial wash the first thing I noticed was the way it looked. It comes in a transparent bottle through which you can clearly see small green shreds (of what is assumed to be a plant) suspended in the gel-like transparent liquid. At the bottom you will find a heavier concentration of these green shreds which have settled to create a sort of green ring at the base.
It is not exactly the look that makes you want to grab it from the store shelf. But as I've already tried their hydrating facial wash, I was eager to try out this other variant.
What convinced me to finally buy it was the scent - a refreshing citrus-y smell mixed with an uplifting hint of mint. It's the kind of scent I would welcome when washing off the oil and tiredness at the end of the day. The little green things floating in the gel turned out to be another bonus - the bamboo scrubs are really gentle exfoliants that don't leave your face feeling raw and dry from scrubbing. Just be sure to give the bottle a good shake before each time you use it to redistribute the scrubs that have settled at the bottom.
Will I buy this again? Definitely, yes. While I had a less than ideal first impression, I easily got over it and was won over by the scent and gentle exfoliation.
Human Nature Balancing Facial Wash can be purchased through their dealers or through their official website. The 50 mL bottle goes for PhP 84.75, and the 200mL bottle for PhP 199.75 on their website. Human Nature products can also be found in select Rustan's Fresh stores, with a slightly higher retail price.
MORE ABOUT THE PRODUCT
The website describes this facial wash as specially formulated for people oily to combination skin: Bamboo beads and Luffa gently exfoliate and help regulate oil, Elemi oil has antibacterial properties, peppermint oil tops it all off with a refreshing tingly sensation while washing.
Ingredients: Water, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Bambusa arundinacea stem extract, Coco-glucoside, Gluconolactone, Xanthan Gum, Luffa cylindrica extract, Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Benzoate, Citrus sinesis oil, Mentha piperita oil, Canarium luzonicum oil.
Human Nature is one of those companies that really make an effort to educate their consumers about their products, ingredients and their advocacy. So although a lot of these ingredients sound so foreign to me, I was willing to try this product out anyway - on the good faith that if I go to their website, I'm sure to find some explanation of what these are. I guess good company ethos really does have a role to play in the consumer buying process.
MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY
Human Nature's philosophy is summarized in three main phrases: Pro-Philippines, Pro-Poor and Pro-Environment. All products are 100% manufactured in the Philippines, helping set up organic farms with Gawad Kalinga (GK) villages, and they are conscious about choosing locally sourced ingredients, or utilizing recycled materials for packaging and marketing needs.
I think there was a time when Human Nature's claim to fame was that it was created by the daughter of GK Founder, Tony Meloto. But through the years its been producing good products and educating so many people on its advocacy that, today, it undoubtedly has a name of its own.
To many consumers, the Human Nature brand stands for quality yet affordable organic personal care products. To a person like me who has observed the whole Philippine do-gooder world over the years, Human Nature is a sign of hope that the 'industry' has finally reached an important point in its evolution. That point is when we move away from begging or guilt-tripping people into buy ethical products ("It's not very pretty or of very good quality, but please buy us, it's for a good cause!"), and move towards selling good quality products that can compete in the market. And then we can say "By the way, these products are ethically made, they support a good cause, and they're proudly Filipino." How awesome is that?
ABOUT ORGANIC & BIODEGRADABLE CLAIMS
Now one of the reasons why I came up with "The Switch" blogpost series was to demonstrate how easy (or difficult) it is for a normal consumer to verify claims such as "organic" and "free trade" plastered on the packaging -- especially when there are still no certifying boards out there.
In my first post for the series, the one about Goodmaid's Bio Dishwashing Liquid, the label said 100% Natural Active Ingredients* and yet the explanation / footnote that should go with the "*" was nowhere to be found -- not on any other part of the label, or on their website. Questionable marketing? Or just plain oversight? I don't know. I have yet to reach out to them and inquire.
There are many "natural" products available today, but surprisingly, there is no government regulation of the term natural. This makes it very difficult for ordinary people to discern what is genuinely natural and what is mostly chemical with a few natural extracts thrown in.
So while they, like many other marketers, created a nice catchy looking seal that says "Natural", unlike other marketers, they also took the time to spell out what this seal means:
As your guarantee of the integrity of our products, you will start seeing a new natural seal on our labels. To qualify for the seal:
1) The ingredients must be biodegradable and at least 95% natural (the same standard set by the Natural Products Association in the USA). Many of our products are in fact 100% natural. 2) The ingredient must come from a renewable resource with no petroleum compounds and be processed in a way which is not damaging to the environment 3) A "non-natural" ingredient is only permitted if there is no readily available natural alternative and the ingredient meets strict criteria regarding human and environmental safety and biodegradability.
Once again, the ethos of this company won me over. You can expect to have a few more Human Nature products reviewed on "The Switch", for sure :)