Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Comprehensive Review of a Brand You Should Know: J.R. Watkins Naturals Apothecary

Given the fact that modern skin care products and an indiscernible list of ingredients (at least for a non chemistry major, like me) now seems to be a given, it’s always a lovely treat to discover a range committed to providing trustworthy, natural products. Enter J.R. Watkins Naturals a brand that proudly states “back to the garden beauty from a company as old as eve.” The brand laid down roots in Winona, MN in 1868 and became what is now regarded as America’s first natural apothecary manufacturer—that's over 140 years of experience! 

I should begin this post with a disclaimer that as long as a product leaves me feeling moisturized and doesn't upset my sensitive skin, I'm not too hard to please! Nevertheless, my reviews are effusive because I've been thrilled with my experience with J.R. Watkins thus far: these beautifully perfumed products are as gentle as they are effective!

(Clockwise from left): J.R. Watkins Hand Soap in Grapefruit and Aloe & Green Tea (USD $4.99 each), Shea Butter Hand Cream in Lemon Cream (USD $8.99) and Hand & Cuticle Salve in Lavender (USD $8.99)

Between the cooler weather and very fastidious washing habits my hands start to show the season almost immediately. J.R. Watkins hand soaps are foamy cleansers that smell pleasant but don't linger too long after use—both huge pluses in my book. As lovely as the hand soaps are, since I started using them several weeks ago the real stars of the show have been the Shea Butter Hand Cream and Hand & Cuticle Salve. 

Due to the climate I call home I make sure to have a tube of hand cream with me at all times. The thick formula of J.R. Watkins hand cream is magnificent and the name of the scent is dead on: this product smells exactly like lemon curd! In conjunction with the Lemon Cream lotion I've been applying the soothing lavender Hand & Cuticle Salve in the evenings and my cuticles have never been happier. The formula is much more emollient than it's Burt's Bees counterpart (Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream), though I prefer the thin consistency of J.R. Watkins for ease of application it is considerably more thin and takes longer to absorb into the skin.

(Left to right): J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Hand Cream in Lemon Cream and Hand & Cuticle Salve in Lavender

Since I first discovered NUXE Huile Prodigieuse while living in Paris I’ve been a body oil convert. Though lotion moisturizes the skin it doesn’t have the same long lasting benefits that a rich, emollient body oil does particularly during the cold winter months. Unfortunately dispenser design can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to applying oils. The liquid flows quickly rendering pouring the product out of a traditional spout a bit like a high stakes game of Russian Roulette and pumps are no better. J.R. Watkins Body Oil Mists are conveniently packaged in plastic bottles with sprays not unlike sprayable sun screen. Application is a dream and as is to be expected, the oil quenches the skin like a dream leaving behind a pleasant and subtle fragrance. Though I’ll enjoy the Grapefruit fragrance during the warmer months, the soothing Coconut Milk & Honey offering is my current go-to as the temperature plummets and winter approaches.

(Left to right): J.R. Watkins Body Oil Mists in Coconut Milk & Honey and Grapefruit (USD $8.99 each)

Given the sensitivity of my skin I typically aim for body scrubs and exfoliators that leave behind a moisturizing layer. J.R. Watkins Sugar and Shea Body Scrub does just that: after application and gentle scrubbing the sugar crystals give way to am emulsified shea oil that coats the skin and protects the legs from chaffing and drying once you’re out of the shower or bath. I can only think of this as a plus as the added moisture on my legs is noticeable from the moment I apply my moisturizer. Fans of body scrubs that do not leave a moisturizing film behind take note as J.R. Watkins Sugar and Shea Body Scrub will not be for you.

A body butter is a body butter in my book, it’s the fragrance and natural ingredients in the J.R. Watkins product that make it stand out. I adore apricots and the fresh, slightly zingy scent is refreshing as it is pleasant. If only I could bottle this particular scent and wear it as a perfume I would! I’ve been applying this product in the evening after I bathe and enjoying the sweet perfume as I fall asleep. The only downside? I wouldn’t apply this product prior to wearing another fragrance that could potentially compete with the strong but beautiful aroma of apricots.

(Left to right): J.R. Watkins Sugar and Shea Body Scrub in Grapefruit (USD $12.99) and Body Butter in Apricot and Pequi Oil (USD $11.99)

While experimenting with J.R. Watkins products I learned that natural doesn't have to be boring. I suppose that sounds a bit dramatic, but many of the items I use that I would class as natural are unscented and to be honest they just don't excite me. From fragrance to quality and package design J.R. Watkins Naturals Apothecary really is a lovely hand and body care brand that offers a little something for everyone at an affordable price point.

So dish: have you tried any products from J.R. Watkins Naturals? Do you have a favorite you'd like to share? I'm eager to explore the brand a bit more: their website offers a veritable cornucopia of exciting skin care products that I'm looking forward to trying!

*These items were provided by PR for consideration. The ideas and opinions expressed are my own. Do not hesitate to reference my policies in the event that you have any questions.