Quillaja: Nature's Soap

June 23, 2009 | By: Katie Schaefer
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Title: Quillaja: Natures Soap
  • Article

BioOrganic Concepts has introduced a skin and hair cleansing agent from the rain forests of Chile and Peru. Quillaja (INCI: not provided) is a foaming agent that provides gentle cleansing action without damaging the skin.

According to the company, the material can be used in shampoos, shaving creams, mousses, bubble baths, depilatory creams, soaps and facial cleansers. The thick inner bark of Quillaja saponaria, known as soap bark tree, lathers when it is rubbed with water. This discovery has earned quillaja a reputation among Andean tribal cultures as nature’s soap.

Derived from the Chilean word "quillean,” quillaja means “to wash.” The company reports that natives have long used the bark to cleanse delicate silk and wool garments that would otherwise be damaged by detergents. Quillaja is said to gently remove grease without stripping the hair or skin of its natural protective layer. Up to 10% of quillaja consists of saponins, natural carbohydrates that break down excess scalp oil, making it beneficial for shampoos. Applied topically, the product can soothe and protect the skin from dryness and cracking. In addition, it has been shown to relieve itching or insect bites. Saponins have demonstrated a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in cosmetics, hand and face washes, and moisturizers.