Before Kettle Care Organics Skincare & Wellness was founded in 1983 in Washington, the founder was already collecting herbs and creating her own skin creams, which ended up healing her lifelong eczema.
After experimenting with different herbs and ingredients, she realized the high concentration of herbal extracts and essential oils was responsible for the product’s effectiveness. The original herbal skin soother, made with calendula, vitamin E and comfrey, launched the company, and the recipe has remained unchanged ever since.
Decades later, Annegret and Klaus Pfeifer purchased the company, which had previously been relocated to the Flathead Valley.
Annegret was already a loyal customer before she and her husband purchased the company nine years ago, suffering from a chemical sensitivity to conventional skin care products.
“I really liked how natural she made her products,” Annegret said. “Especially considering she had done that through the 80s and 90s when nobody cared about healthy skin. I thought it was fascinating to have that kind of integrity.”
Continuing that philosophy, Annegret has maintained many of the company’s original products while also adding additional lines, like hair care and a men’s line.
Kettle Care uses raw, organic beeswax emulsifiers compared to a vegetable emulsifier found in other skin care products. The beeswax, sourced from local apiaries, is melted and filtered and is used as a main ingredient to protect the skin, especially against harsh Montana weather.
Products also contain less water than most skin care lines, using 45% aloe vera juice and 55% oils and waxes compared to 90% water and only 10% oils and waxes, Annegret said.
The Pfeifers source most of their herbs like chamomile and arnica from local farms, including Terrapin Farm, SpiritWorks Herb Farm, and Two Bear Farm to make extracts and oil infusions at the factory store and lab in Kalispell. The herbs they can’t get locally are sourced from other organically certified vendors.
Once Annegret has a vision for products, Klaus makes the products work. With a background as a chemist and physicist, he troubleshoots the products if an emulsion falls apart.
“Between the raw materials that come in and the finished product that goes out, we are one of the few vertically integrated skin care companies,” Annegret said. “We are one of the few that really make everything from scratch. This way we can control the quality and it allows us to use high ratios of extracts and essential oils.”
From start to finish, everything happens in the lab in Kalispell, including bottling and labeling.
This year, Annegret is working on rebranding the company and has released new packaging, labeling and logos while combining products into lines like the Sooth and Balance, Outdoor Essentials, Montana Men and Nourish and Fortify collections.
“The whole look is more cohesive,” Annegret said. “We wanted to reflect the area and our 38-year history.”
Kettle Care is also hosting a workshop on Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m. with a local holistic nutritionist to educate participants about the importance of reading product ingredients.
“Sixty percent of products goes straight into the bloodstream and it really affects the well-being of your body,” Annegret said. “People often disregard it and we encourage people to read the ingredients. If it’s a chemical dictionary, it probably isn’t as natural as you think.”
Kettle Care products can be found locally at Third Street Market, Sundrop Health Foods, Sunlife Health Foods, Withey’s Health Foods, Bigfork Drug and Mountain Meadow Herbs.
Kettle Care Organics Skincare & Wellness is open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 3575 U.S. Highway 93 in Kalispell.