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Hands-on Gear Review
Huggies Pure & Natural Review
Price: $0.36 List
Pros: Organic cotton cover, soft, fragrance free
Cons: Pseudo-green, absorption, SAP leaks
Bottom line: Other green diapers scored higher for a similar price
Pure & Natural has an attractive look and feel, a relatively high price, and what we feel is a bait-and-switch on an eco-health promise. Pure & Natural rated average for absorption, below average for leaks, and the lowest in eco-health out of all the green diapers we tested. Given that there are so many other higher quality and legitimately green diapers available, at similar prices, we see no reason to buy this product. Our Editors' Choice, BAMBO Nature, had one of the highest absorption scores in our tests and is a true green diaper that rated best overall with a score of 82 out of 100, for a similar price, this makes it hard to justify buying Huggies nod to the green demand.
RELATED: Our complete review of disposable diapers
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Pure & Natural diaper is the green model of the three Huggies varieties; which also include Huggies Snug & Dry and Huggies Little Snugglers. Pure & Natural has a soft natural feel, markets the use of organic cotton (however, the fine print is important as the cotton is only used on the outer cover, which we feel is misleading), and is perfume free. Huggies has a perceived value and quality due largely to brand recognition and popular use that have made them a go-to diaper for many. Pure & Natural is Huggies answer to the consumer demand for a more eco-friendly/baby healthy disposable diaper.
Absorption and Leaks
Pure & Natural did not do well in our in-house testing for absorption; it scored a 5 of 10, ranking it just 15 out of the 24 diapers tested in regards to absorbency. Based on the popularity of Huggies products, we had expected it to do better. It fell right in the middle of all Huggies products with Snug & Dry managing a 7 of 10, and Little Snugglers eeking out a 4. It had the worst score for absorption out of the 4 diapers in it's price range, with Nature Babycare getting the top nod with a perfect 10 of 10.
The absorption test for Pure & Natural (left) versus Nature Babycare (middle), and Earth's Best Tender Care (right) are shown below. The larger green area indicates more surface moisture; less green indicates better absorption.
While the absorption score was nothing to get excited about, the leak score was downright pitiful. With a score of 3 of 10 for leaks it came in below average compared to all the diapers. It was last for leaks out of the diapers in its price range, and close to last for the green diapers tested. Only Seventh Generation Free & Clear and Babyganics Rear Gear scored as low. Alternatively, other green diapers scored higher in this metric with little to no price increase. Earth's Best Tender Care, a Best Value winner, which has the same average price as Pure & Natural, scored an impressive 9 of 10 for leaks, and BAMBO Nature, this year's Editors' Choice, scored a 7.
Comfort and Durability
Comfort is really where Pure & Natural shines. The outer cover is made with 100% organic cotton and is so soft we wanted to use it as a pillow. The materials are very cloth like both inside and out, and it sports smaller tabs for added protection against baby rubbing on any rough edges. However, it only scored slightly above average with a 6 of 10 overall; it didn't really lose points, it just didn't gain any extra points. Meaning the overall elastic, leg cuffs, and breath-ability of the side materials were nothing to sing about. It did however, manage to score better than both Pampers Swaddlers and Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive, which each received a 4 of 10 score.
In its price range, Pure & Natural scored higher than other diapers for comfort. But there were several cheaper diapers that scored better; including Walmart's White Cloud, which earned an 8 of 10 score, and even Huggies Little Snugglers with a 7. Several of the more expensive diapers did score higher, and given their higher eco/health scores, you might consider them as an alternative if comfort is a concern in addition to eco-friendly. Our Editors' Choice, BAMBO Nature earned a 7 of 10 rating and carries a similar price.
Durability might just be this diapers biggest drawback, (with the exception of it's misleading marketing, but we'll get to that in a minute) it received a mere 3 of 10 for this metric. The diaper might just be too soft as it didn't fair well in our in-house testing or according to the Amazon user reviews we read. The primary concern is the amount of "jelly blobs" escaping from the diaper once it gets wet, which diapers have a tendency to do. These jelly blobs are made of SAP; at best they are just mildly annoying, at worst, potentially harmful. Either way, we'd just as soon not find them on baby's bottom, or anywhere else outside of a diaper for that matter. Pure & Natural wasn't alone in its poor durability; cheaper and more expensive diapers ranked equal to or lower than it. However, both one of our Best Value picks Cuties (one of the cheaper diapers we tested) and our Editors' Choice, BAMBO Nature, came in with an 8 of 10, proving price had little to do with durability. Perhaps you should just use it as a pillow.
Eco and Health
We categorized this product as a green diaper in our selection, but in the end we felt it was really just pseudo-green, as it appears to be more of a marketing ploy to sell a higher priced version than a real attempt at creating a green diaper. Pure & Natural received a 3 of 10 score for the eco-friendly metric, which isn't that great for a green diaper; though it wasn't the lowest, with Babyganics Rear Gear earning only a 2. By comparison, Nature Babycare was dramatically better earning a 7 of 10, demonstrating that eco-friendly can be achieved in this price range.
Pure & Natural is perfume free, uses less ink, and is made with an organic cotton cover. Unfortunately though, it makes no claims on being free of chlorine or latex. In addition, it only uses a small amount of renewable materials in the inner lining and it doesn't claim any biodegradable materials. All of which means its a diaper that fails to impress, or come close to meeting the bar set by the other green diapers we tested. BAMBO Nature, Honest Company, Attitude, Nature Babycare, Broody Chick, and Nurtured by Nature all scored higher. Which shows just how lacking this diaper is in the green department; while the package might be green, the product it contains really isn't.
Pure & Natural scored 3 of 10 for health, tying with other green competitors Nurtured by Nature and Seventh Generation Free & Clear. While it boasts the use of "organic cotton", the organic cotton is only on the outside of the diaper, not the inner liner that touches baby's sensitive bits. The liner closest to baby's bottom also contains a lotion that includes aloe and vitamin E. We would prefer a product advertised as "pure" be devoid of extras like lotions. We think that if your baby needs a lotion, you should be able to choose and apply it yourself as needed. Even more disappointing to us, as mentioned above, this diaper makes no claims about its use of chlorine or latex. The only real nods to baby's health were the lack of fragrances and the use of fewer dyes. BAMBO Nature, scored a 8 out 10, and Earth's Best Tender Care scored a 4, both higher than Pure & Natural, both free of fragrance, chlorine, and latex; which proved it is possible to create a baby healthy diaper for around the same price.
Parent's looking for a green diaper in a well-known brand will likely be drawn to Pure & Natural. It is significantly more expensive than the other Huggies choices, but is on par price-wise with many other green diapers. If the price range of this diaper is acceptable, and you are sincerely looking for a good green diaper for your baby and the environment, you would do better looking elsewhere. Earth's Best Tender Care a Best Value winner, has a similar price and scored better on all metrics except for comfort. BAMBO Nature, this year's Editors' Choice, is also an excellent green diaper in this price range.
Overall, Pure & Natural ranked 16 out of the 24 diapers we tested. It is more expensive than any other Huggies or Pampers variety, and scored lower than most of them for absorption. Though it had one of the softest outer covers and attractive packaging, it failed to rank high in any green metric either eco or health; making it a diaper that is overpriced, overvalued, and only pseudo-green.
We assume that the draw to this diaper is the green promise and the Huggies name. Given that it fails to measure up to the other green diapers in its price range, or other popular traditional brand name diapers, we cannot recommend this diaper. If eco-friendly and health advantages are what you are looking for, you'll get a better diaper for a similar price with our Editors' Choice, BAMBO Nature, or our green Best Value winner, Earth's Best Tender Care, it is cheaper and it is a name most parents are familiar with. If the brand name is what you're looking for, then we suggest you look at Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive which cheaper on average and has better absorption and leak scores, with an 8 and 6 of 10 respectfully.
If you are interested, Huggies also offers Huggies Little Snugglers and Huggies Snug & Dry. In general, the Little Snugglers performed about the same as Snug & Dry, and both performed better then Pure & Natural. However, Huggies offerings failed to impress overall and with several diapers scoring better in every metric, there are simply better diapers out there. Especially, if being green is your bottom line; none of the Huggies varieties are really green.
We suggest BAMBO Nature, our Editors' Choice. It has the about the same price as Pure & Natural, the second highest absorption score of any diaper tested with a 9 of 10, health score of 8 of 10, eco-friendly rated a 8, and it had the highest score overall (by a wide margin). If you just need the best green diaper out there BAMBO Nature is it.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: June 3, 2014
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