Mo wants to know… I came across an excellent brand called Biotique and all their facial cleansers are soap and surfactant free. The primary ingredient in all their products is “Sapindus / Soapberry/ Soapnut.” Is Soapnut a good cleanser?
The Right Brain is nuts about soapnut:
Actually, Mo, soapnut is one of those natural ingredients that may really be worth the hype. So before we talk about Biotique we’ll give you some background on non-soapy soapnut.
Soap to nuts
Soapnut, also known as soapberry, is a plant belonging to the genus Sapindus. You can extract a chemical called saponin from the plant’s berries which is a natural, low-foaming detergent. Saponin belongs to a class of chemical compounds known as amphipathic glycosides, for those of you keeping score at home. They can be found in may parts of plants including leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, blossoms, and even fruit.
Are saponins good for skin?
Although they don’t foam much, saponins are good, gentle cleansers. So while they may not be powerful enough to remove waterproof mascara, they are very good at gently cleansing skin to remove excess oils. And, the benefits of this natural extract may extend far beyond mild cleansing. There are numerous studies on the medicinal properties of saponins; for example, according to this article on saponins from Pubmed, certain types of saponins from red ginseng can counteract the effects of ultraviolet B-induced skin aging in hairless mice and have a positive effect on skin thickness, elasticity, and wrinkle formation. Interesting!
Baffled by Biotique
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any specific list of ingredients for any Biotique products. Without that crucial information we can only speculate about how they use soapnut. One possibility is that they really do use soapnut as their primary cleansing agent leaving out any soaps or synthetic detergents. In that case, it may be a very mild cleanser (although probably low foaming). Another possibility is that Biotique uses soapnut as more of a marketing ploy to differentiate their products in which case they may be adding small amounts of soapnut to formulas that contain typical cleansing agents. A quick review of a Biotique ingredient list, if we can find one, will make the answer obvious.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Soapnut (also known as soapberry) is a valid, gentle, natural cleanser but we don’t know how Biotique is using it. We’ll keep our eyes open and if we find an ingredient list we’ll update this post.
Has anyone bought Biotique or any other soapnut based products? Leave a comment and share your experiences with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.