Why we created Sans Savon

Why we created Sans Savon

For those of you who don’t know, Erica and I were part of the founding team at Hairstory, the creators of New Wash. When I first tested the product that eventually became New Wash, I was blown away. New Wash is a cleansing cream that both cleans and conditions your hair without any detergents and therefore no foam. As different from shampoo as Oatly is to milk, it was the most unique, differentiated and wonderful beauty product I had ever experienced, and I loved it immediately.

In early 2023, many years after that first New Wash experience, Erica and I stepped down from day-to-day management of Hairstory. We had recently bought an amazing property in the Charlevoix region of Quebec and were starting to contemplate not only life after Hairstory but life after kids. Our eldest had recently moved out of the house and our youngest had just over two years before he would follow. The Charlevoix is exceptionally beautiful, remote, and wild – steep mountains, dramatic gorges and fjords, the vast Gulf of St. Lawrence pulsing with the tides and teeming with life. We had discovered this northern paradise four years prior and fantasized about becoming locals ever since.

Erica and I had loved building Hairstory, and our years working together had been the best of our life. Looking toward this next chapter of life, we decided to start a new business together – something that would represent our values, interests and passions and would both enable freedom and create structure as we entered this new phase.

Inspiration struck one dry, cold winter day as we navigated through deep snow blanketing the Charlevoix. For as long as I can remember, my hands get exceptionally dry in the winter – itching then cracking and often bleeding. Part of the problem is that I don’t care for them well enough, applying hand cream regularly, because it seems futile: every time I wash my hands I undo the benefits of the cream.

Gripping the wheel extra tight as we slipped and slid down the steep hills (Quebec mandates snow tires from November through March, but we hadn’t complied and were now facing the consequences), we had our eureka moment. Erica and I already knew soap (foaming detergent) is the enemy of good hair; maybe it was also the enemy of healthy skin? And, we thought, if there are new detergent-free formulations that can clean and condition hair, why couldn’t there be soapless formulations to clean and moisturize your skin?

Quick research showed that, while there were already many non-foaming face cleansers (for exactly the reason that soap depletes your skin of moisture), there were none for the body and the only non-foaming hand cleansers were all alcohol gels like Purell which are even more drying than soap!

Inspired by the incredible natural beauty around us, we decided then and there that this new brand would celebrate Charlevoix, protecting and manifesting the balance of nature in every way possible. We reached out to an incredible French Canadian formulator to bring our vision to life, and within a few short months of experimentation Sans Savon was born.

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