Does natural soap work? Everything you need to know about Soapnuts!
Can you imagine a time without your favourite soap bar? Or shaving soap? It’s hard to! You might be wondering, how did people clean their clothes and bodies? The simple answer is natural soap. The use of soapnuts in skin cleansers, otherwise known as Indian Gooseberries, were one of the most popular cleaning methods in ancient times. And now, we’ve come full circle and are once again using these powerful soapnut berries in our hygiene routines. And what’s more, organic skincare brands are calling to question whether soapnuts can replace commercial soaps and detergents with more environmentally friendly laundry detergents and increasingly sustainable skincare.
In this article, we're exploring soapnuts. Their history, how they work and how we can all use them to make our lifestyle routines more eco friendly. And, we'll be sharing how Clean U Skincare uses soapnuts to make your favourite natural, vegan and plastic free cleaning products!
So, what are Soapnuts?
Soapnuts are natural soap berries mainly sourced from North India. The berries grow naturally on shrubs and small trees and are native to tropical and sometimes temperate regions. They logically get their name from their unique cleansing abilities. You might know these natural skin cleansers as soapberries or ritha. However, did you know there are 15 species of soapnuts worldwide, and all are members of the Sapindaceae family (Hsu, Chiang, Liu, & Chiang, 2021; Clean U Skincare, 2021)?
Soapnuts are natural berries sourced from north India, their shells can be used to make vegan soap. All soapnuts are safe for sensitive skin, acne prone skin and reactive skin. They are 100% natural, plastic free, and vegan, which is why we love them so much!
How do Soapnuts work?
A Soapnut shell naturally contains saponin, a surfactant. Surfactants are surface-active agents that work through emulsifying oils and suspending dirt and grime. In short, soapnuts perform a process that washes away undesirables such as stains, filth and unwanted bacteria. Although you might not be familiar with the term surfactants, their gentle effect and success at removing dirt mean they're present in most skin cleansers. (Begoun, 2020).
Products made from soapnuts are natural, vegan, and hypoallergenic
Saponins are in a range of plant species. And are present in bark, leaves, stem, roots, and flowers (Moghimipour & Handali, 2014). For decades, scientists have studied saponins in plants due to their properties and health benefits.
When eaten, people describe Saponins as having a bitter taste. And when in contact with water, the berry reacts and acts as a natural soap, creating suds that help clean you and your clothing.
After sewing, cultivating and harvesting soapnuts in their berry form, they get dried out. During this stage, they turn a reddish-brown colour. Removal of the black kernel inside the berry is necessary before use in cosmetic and cleaning products; this is because it doesn't contain the saponin we require.
The Benefits of Soapnuts
Soapnuts have multiple benefits for both your skincare routine and your lifestyle.
Eco friendly skincare
We choose to use soapnuts because they're an eco friendly alternative to petroleum (Vasant, Tukara, Prakash, & Bhagwan, 2016). And soapnuts are hypoallergenic, meaning they're safe for all skin types. If there's soapnut in your face cleanser, skin cleanser, soap bar or even shaving soap, you can be confident it will be kind on your skin.
Soapnuts may heal wounds
Sapindus mukorossi and Sapindus trifoliatus oil in soapnuts promotes healing. These natural oils contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. And studies also show these substances have a positive effect on cell proliferation.
Disposing of soapnuts
After use, you can dispose of your soapnuts in your food waste, green recycling or compost. It’s all-natural so there’s zero waste.
Clean U Skincare soapnuts products
Our Soapnut & Green Tea Soap Bar combines the deep cleansing power of soapnuts with green tea to gently exfoliate the skin. And our Soapnut & Turmeric Soap Bar contains turmeric to prevent acne and congestion. Studies show that forms of Ayurveda skincare, such as soapnuts, can benefit those suffering from vitiligo, psoriasis, and eczema (Vasant, Tukara, Prakash, & Bhagwan, 2016).
Soapnuts can be used as part a zero waste, plastic free laundry routine
A natural remedy steeped in Indian history and culture, soapnuts have benefitted skincare and the environment for centuries. When combined with other natural ingredients, soapnuts provide even more benefits! So adding soapnuts to your hygiene and laundry routine is simple with our natural soap bars, face cleansers and environmentally friendly laundry detergents. Make an eco friendly switch to soapnuts to benefit your body and the world around you today.
And to be even more eco friendly, you can now purchase loose soapnuts for your laundry. The absence of synthetics and chemicals makes soapnuts a kinder detergent for your skin. If you struggle with skin issues or suffer from a skin condition or reactive skin, soapnuts can make your laundry days stress-free! Simply put four or five soapnuts in the muslin bag supplied and put it in the middle of your laundry. You can then run your wash cycle as usual, without harming your body or the planet!