Ten years ago, about to become a parent for the first time, Ashley Perkins wondered how she could help her family lead a healthier, toxin-free life. Having begun her career as a chef, she was passionate about wellness and no stranger to the farmer’s market. “I’ve always been really interested in healthy living and food as medicine and all of that,” she recalls. “That’s always been a big part of my life.”
From a culinary perspective, Ashley keenly understood the impact that natural, non-toxic products have on one’s health. As she began to realize, however, eating well is only one piece of the puzzle. “Everyone’s so focused on what they put inside their bodies, but not a lot of people are focused on what they’re putting on and around their bodies,” she explains. “The two really go hand-in-hand because when you’re putting things on your skin, it’s like you’re eating them…your skin is absorbing all of that.”
Before Ashley’s oldest daughter was born, she “started looking at personal care and things that we’re using in our homes to clean our homes, and how we can remove the toxins from those things.” Personal care products became a major focus area after learning about the ease with which they can be absorbed into our systems. “If you’re thinking about all the lotion and perfumes and all the stuff we’re exposing ourselves to, those really have harmful effects on our health,” she adds.
Ashley became an AADP Certified Holistic Health Coach and started her own consulting business, helping people clean out their homes and providing tips on healthy living. In the process, she noticed a need for more personal care products that don’t use harmful chemicals or cause skin irritation, hormone imbalances, and other health concerns. While she loved working with her consulting clients, Ashley Perkins had discovered a new goal: she hoped to create a line of zero-waste products that could be kind to both our bodies and the environment.
Just last year, after welcoming her third daughter at the height of a global pandemic, she saw that dream realized. Ashley launched Natur in the fall of 2020, an innovative line of non-toxic, plastic-free, salon-quality haircare products that currently includes a clarifying shampoo bar, deep moisture conditioner bar, and sustainable wooden dish. Each product is not only free from synthetics and preservatives; they are also entirely free of plastic. “I’m really passionate about our planet and limiting plastic use when it’s not necessary,” Ashley explains. “I feel like hair care is going in this direction… I think that it’s just an exciting time right now, that people are really thinking about the planet in new ways and thinking about how you don’t have to sacrifice performance to be eco-friendly.”
Performance certainly is essential to the Natur brand; each product is just as effective as it is environmentally friendly. To Ashley Perkins, foregoing plastic and using high-quality, natural materials adds to the product’s luxurious feel: “All of those things just make the experience so much better and so much more meaningful than if you reached for something plastic.”
Ashley’s first piece of advice for those hoping to live freer from toxins and remove harmful chemicals from their personal care routines is to eliminate synthetic fragrances. “The word fragrance, when you see it on a label, could mean 1,000 different chemicals…and they’re not from nature,” says Ashley. “Those fragrances could cause skin irritations or asthma. They also disrupt our endocrine system. [It’s] easy for people to look on their labels and see that word and know that that company is not being transparent with what they’re putting in.”
In the last decade since her wellness journey began, Ashley has observed the impact that sustainable, health-conscious living has had on her family: “I feel like all of this supports a healthy body and a healthy microbiome. You’re more balanced. You are limiting your environmental toxin load, so your body doesn’t have to work as hard. Your immune system’s stronger. Your body can work on other things, and it doesn’t have to work on removing these toxins that you’re putting on yourself.”
Ashley hopes to eventually expand the Natur line to include more personal care products; some specifically geared toward babies and kids. In the meantime, she is successfully balancing her roles as both an entrepreneur and mother. She recently spoke at her children’s school for an Earth Day event, much to her oldest daughter’s excitement. “It feels good to have your kids also be excited about what you’re doing,” Ashley says. “I just feel like it’s so important this whole sustainability [effort] and being eco-conscious and also teaching our next generation to keep the planet in mind with new innovations.”
Shop Natur on Fox Holt HERE