How we developed the Sans Savon formulations

How we developed the Sans Savon formulations

When we first set out to create the Sans Savon formulations, we already knew that soapless cleansing was possible. The challenge would be making it affordable. The ingredients to enable this cutting edge technology were rapidly evolving and coming to market, but because the sustainable/ non-toxic innovation ecosystem is mostly small entrepreneurial chemists the costs are exceptionally high.

To clean anything requires amphiphilic molecules – molecules that are both water loving and oil loving. As you distribute the formulation all over whatever it is you want to clean, the oil loving side grabs on to all the oils and dirt and bacteria you want removed. Then, when you rinse with water, the water loving side grabs onto the water molecules and the entire clump of molecules and dirty stuff is pulled by gravity down the drain. That’s how we clean everything from dishes to cars, from hair to hands. The stronger the connection between the water and the molecules, the more cleansing power in the formulation. For some purposes, like cleaning a surgery room in a hospital, you want as much cleansing power as you can get. For others, like cleansing your skin, you want to balance cleansing power against the need to keep your body’s protective systems from being disrupted and stripped away.

The heart of the Sans Savon cleansing system is a proprietary blend of fermented oils, esters and glycerin derivatives. Naturally derived from upcycled avocados, olives, soy and rapeseed, these are all amphiphilic molecules that are strong enough to clean olive oil coated hands in one go, but don’t have enough cleansing power to strip away your body’s natural protective oil barrier the way soap and other stronger, foaming detergents will. And, because they are derived from vegetable based fatty oils and esters, they leave behind a beautifully light protective coating that renders skin moisturized and even more protected than prior to cleansing. Skin is smooth and soft, with a gentle shine and any sense of slippery residue is gone within seconds, absorbed into your protective barrier. This system balances cleansing with protecting.

Balance is also required to address the bacteria, viruses, fungi and other “germs” we want removed from our bodies and particularly our hands. Here Sans Savon has employed very new technology that, until us, has only been used in natural deodorants. Our antimicrobial system is dosed specifically to cleanse away 99.9% of all the germs you want removed, while leaving intact the core of your microbiome so it can remain dominant and protect you from invasion by non-symbiotic microorganisms. The problem with soap is that it strips away your entire microbiome, inviting any and every microorganism to rush in and populate your skin. This can lead to infestations by various bacteria or fungi that can be irritating and / or stinky. While many people don’t like to think about it, our bodies host trillions of microorganisms that have evolved to live in synch with our core functions and symbiotically thrive while keeping us healthy. We use probiotics to introduce those “good” bacteria back into our bodies when they’ve been killed by strong antibiotics and we feed the good bacteria with prebiotics to keep them healthy and thriving. The challenge for us was this: how do we strike the balance between removing dangerous microorganisms like e coli and staphylococcus aureus while protecting the good microorganisms like staphylococcus epidermidis?

The answer is dosing.

Sans Savon uses a powerful vegetable derived antimicrobial in varying concentrations to deliver targeted outcomes. To focus on bacteria as an example, the goal is not to kill the bacteria but simply to disrupt their outer membrane enough that they are no longer able to attach to your skin and get washed down the drain. The outer membranes of various bacteria differ significantly, making some easier to wash away than others. We were delighted to discover that the bacteria that create body odor are quite easy to wash away, while the bacteria that are part of your body’s microbiome are actually many times more resilient. Dangerous bacteria fall right in the middle. As a result, we have dosed our body cleansing formulations (the body wash and body bar) with less of our antimicrobial and our hand wash with more. Neither dose is enough to remove the good bacteria in the microbiome, but the end result is that our antimicrobial system has been clinically proven to remove 99.9% of the bad microorganisms while leaving the good microorganisms intact. We also add a prebiotic to the formulation, so the good bacteria that remain have extra food so they can remain healthy and keep the bad bacteria away longer.

By balancing cleansing power and antimicrobial dosing, we developed a tight range of Sans Savon products that deliver a shockingly different and yet very effective cleansing system that works with your body, not against it. This new way to wash is over 99% naturally derived from upcycled materials wherever possible, biodegradable and vegan. And our packaging system – 100% post-consumer plastic “forever bottles” that are refilled with large pouches – add beauty to your kitchen or bathroom while minimizing their impact on our environment.

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1 comment

A brilliant exposition! Like so much in life, it is a matter of balance, of having enough of the proper cleansing agents to remove the dangerous elements, while preserving the good.

steven e halliwell,

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