One day, while searching online for a healthier alternative to my brand of mosquito repellent, I chanced upon Human Nature (HN), a line of affordable, natural and organic beauty products manufactured right here in the Philippines. A quick tour through the website made me a convert. Here are my thoughts.
Human Nature is pro-Philippines.
Human Nature uses raw materials and ingredients which can be found in the Philippines. The company does so even if some of these ingredients can be bought at a much cheaper price from abroad. Many of the beauty secrets that can be found in high-end cosmetics like Mark Jacobs and Estee Lauder can be found right here in Philippine soil, in my own backyard even. Elemi from the bark of the pili tree, for instance, has been a well-kept beauty secret in European cosmetics. So are sunflower oil, moringa seed oil and of course, Carica papaya. Other very familiar ingredients being used are virgin coconut oil, lemon grass essential oil, Acapulco extract, cocoa butter, avocado oil, passion fruit oil and citronella oil.
I find exciting the prospect of these locally available and absolutely safe (food grade, that is) ingredients being tapped for my beauty essentials.
Human Nature is pro-poor.
Instead of buying from established manufacturers of essential oils from abroad, HN detoured from convention by tapping the services of inexperienced poor people. Human Nature builds partnerships with and provides training and facilities to Gawad Kalinga villages and several independent farming cooperatives in order to farm and produce their ingredients. Currently, there are farms which grow sunflower, passion fruit, lemon grass and citronella. The profits of two of their products—citronella bug spray and hydrating mineral lipstick—fund the development of processing machines, extractors and other facilities for their citronella and passion fruit farms.
I find joy in using their products, knowing that by doing so, I am helping to provide livelihood for Filipino farmers.
Human Nature is natural and organic.
Most of the toiletries that clutter our dresser may be advertised as having natural extracts of such and such herbs. The sad truth is that these are nothing but chemicals with a wimpy amount of natural extracts added in. Human Nature is different. They use essential oils in place of synthetic perfume, plant- or marine-derived antibacterial agents instead of chemical preservatives, plant oils in place of petroleum-derived mineral oil, and mineral iron oxides instead of artificial colors. These products are safe for health and good for the environment.
For years, I can only wish I could afford the Origins line of organic products by Dr. Weil. What a thrill to finally find a Filipino line of organic products!
Human Nature is a social enterprise.
As the founder of Human Nature puts it, Human Nature seeks to optimize rather than maximize profits, seeking to locally source their ingredients, provide jobs for Filipinos and bring down prices even if it means reducing the profit margin considerably. They also employ a conservative business plan based on direct selling, as this distributes the profits among many people.
I believe that if more and more businesses would have as much heart and conscience as Human Nature has, the Philippines would be a better place.
Human Nature is sincere.
Sincere– I could not think of a better word. If you’re familiar with Tony Meloto, that grand old visionary who built Gawad Kalinga villages for the poor and who was honored with the Asian version of the Nobel (the Ramon Magasaysay award), you would be delighted to know that the founder of Human Nature is his eldest daughter, Anna Meloto, now Wilk. Steeped in the family tradition of helping and empowering people, and recognizing the need for organic personal care products, Anna conceived the idea of building Human Nature.
Her husband, Dylan Wilk, also had a story to tell. Once one of the youngest British millionaires, he was splurging his money senselessly on fast cars when he suddenly got to a turning point. One day, he treated a Filipino friend to a fancy restaurant in Britain. Upon studying the menu, the Filipino reportedly backed out, saying that he couldn’t possibly eat in one meal what could already build one house unit for the poor in the Philippines. Jolted, Dylan Wilk visited Tony Meloto’s work in the Philippines– a visit which forever changed his life. And as a sweet ender to the story, he fell in love with Tony Meloto’s daughter, the very epitome of social responsibility which was sorely lacking in his life. Today, Dylan Wilk is actively involved in GK, Human Nature and many other Filipino advocacies.
Photo Credit: humanheartnature.com