Editor's note: While the "Read the Label" series provides an overview of the ingredients cosmetic manufacturers use and their related claims, without use levels or access to clinical studies, the author is drawing conclusions based on speculation—albeit from training, formulating experience and, in some instances, evidence in the literature. The following is offered for your consideration and further verification.
Sood is a UK start-up brand whose philosophy is to create products that are good for consumers and for the planet. Not only does the company source ingredients from ethical sources, but the packaging is also fully recyclable and has been designed to reduce carbon footprint by fitting through the letterbox (or mailbox). The brand was focused on doing more with less, so it created multifunctional formulas to be used on multiple areas of the body without compromising efficacy and quality.
The cleansing powder is a highly concentrated surfactant blend. Usually, when consumers buy a shower gel-type product, powdered surfactants have been diluted with water to create a liquid product but in this case, the mild powder surfactants can be poured straight into the hands and mixed with water (say, from the shower) to create a lather that can be used across the whole body.
The brand claims the Squeak cleansing powder is a 100% waterless formula containing coconut-derived, sulfate-free surfactants; moisturizing and soothing ingredients such as squalane; and conditioning panthenol. The product is designed to be travel-friendly due to its powder format and multipurpose applications where it can be used for both the hair and skin. Sood also states the product nourishes the skin, removes light makeup and dirt and smoothes the hair.
Imgae source: justsood.com/
Looking at the ingredients listed below, those in bold are the ones I believe are strongly contributing to the product's performance and claims:
Ingredients: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Tapioca Starch, DL-Panthenol, Inulin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Squalane, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel Oil Expressed, Citrus Sinensis (Blood Orange) Seed Oil Expressed, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Linalool.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
This is a mild, sulfate-free surfactant in powder form (available also as noodles, pastes and other formats). Sodium cocoyl isethionate produces a dense lather that contributes to the overall foam stability of the product. In a standard liquid wash product, usage levels of it would be between 1-5% but in this concentrated cleansing powder, it is making up the bulk of the formula (> 60%).
Zea Mays (Corn) Starch
Corn starch is mostly used for its ability to absorb excess oil. It is a soft white powder that reduces sebum on the hair and skin.
Tapioca has the special capability of carrying nourishing oils in a formula and then depositing them onto the hair and skin after application. This helps to support nourishing and moisturization claims whilst keeping the formula dry, and in powder form in a pack.
This ingredient has a molecular weight of 205.251 g/mol—meaning it will likely penetrate into the top layers of the skin according to the 500 Dalton rule, which states most materials less than 500 Daltons in molecular weight are able to penetrate deeper into the skin. Panthenol (vitamin B5) supports moisturization and hydration claims all while providing conditioning benefits to the hair and skin.
Inulin is a vegan prebiotic, meaning it encourages the growth of friendly bacteria on the skin’s surface. Derived from chicory roots, this natural not only supports the microbiome, but also moisturizes the hair and skin. In this product, it will help to smooth the hair cuticles and soften the rough surface layer of the skin.
Formulating with natural, sulfate-free surfactants can be difficult but adding this raw material can make formulating easier. It is amphoteric, naturally derived and mild on the skin. It is mostly used as a co-surfactant as its foam performance is standard but in liquid systems, it thickens with electrolytes. Therefore, this ingredient plays a crucial role in the viscosity of sulfate-free systems.
Squalane is chemically very similar to squalene, a molecule that the skin naturally produces as part of its natural moisturization factor (NMF). Squalane is, in fact, more stable than squalene and more easily "accepted" into the skin, meaning it will absorb quickly into the surface layers to provide moisturization and suppleness. The grade used in this product is derived from renewable sugarcane feedstocks.
Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride
This naturally derived conditioning agent can be used in shampoos, conditioners and leave-in conditioners. The material provides deposition due to its cationic charge, which allows other oils within the formula to stay on the hair shaft/skin surface. The ingredient leaves the hair soft and glossy, and leaves the skin smooth. It has a low build-up effect on the hair and repairs damage while increasing combability.
Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel Oil Expressed and Citrus Sinensis (Blood Orange) Seed Oil Expressed
These essential oils have been selected to fragrance the product with the intention of creating a vibrant, refreshing scent that can be used by all.
This ingredient is a powdered preservative that has been incorporated to protect the product against microbial growth.
To use the product, the consumer shakes the bottle to loosen up the powders. They then open the cap and carefully pour an appropriate amount of product to damp hands. Adding a few drops of water, the user rubs their palms together until the powder fully activates into a creamy lather; the longer it is activated, the more the lather is generated. Finally, the user thoroughly massages it onto the wet scalp, face or body and rinses the product. As noted, the product can be used as a cleanser on the face, hair and body, or as a shave cream.
The Sood Squeak cleansing powder can be purchased on the brand's website for £14.99 for 40 g.
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Disclaimer: This article was produced in the UK and therefore the INCI listing and INCI names comply with European labeling requirements.