Soap Nut Aqueous Extract is our shining star in our shampoo. It comes from soap nuts which have been well known for their gentle cleansing properties.
Soap nuts are the newest (or oldest) craze in the world of natural cleaning and living. Soap nuts are actually part of the lychee family and are considered a berry, coming from the tree Sapindus Mukorossi. They, however, do not contain "soap". Soap, by definition comes from a process of saponification and requires lye. However, soap nuts do contain a mild cleansing agent that is great for environmentally safe washing.
The tree that a soap nut comes from takes at least 9 years to produce berries that can be harvested. After that though, the tree will produce berries for almost a hundred years. The berries are harvested for almost 6 months of the year as well, meaning it a very sustainable choice for a cleanser. The Sapindus genus of tree is found throughout temperate climates of the world, mainly in India, China, Hawaii, Florida and throughout Asia.
The cleansing ingredient in the soap nut is actually a natural thing called saponin. This saponin acts as a mild cleanser and detergent, similar to a soap. When added to water the soap nut lathers and foams, giving a soaping effect. The saponins act as surfactants and that means they can easily dissolve dirt and clean your hair, skin and clothes. This is why a soap nut is called a "soap".
The soap nut is a very diverse berry and can be used in a variety of ways. It is a great natural alternative to a cleanser, laundry detergent and great for cosmetics like shampoo, where we use it.
Fun tip: You can throw loose soap nuts into a mesh bag and add them to your laundry for a natural detergent.