Sustainable Soap: Natural & Ethical Cleansing
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a new eco-friendly, sustainable and natural soap molecule that could transform the cleansing market.
Called Oleo-Furan-Surfactant (OFS), the renewable soap molecule reduces the need for synthetic chemicals in cleansing products that are washed through into our natural water supplies and harm the environment.
While typical soaps and detergents are created from fossil fuels, OFS is made from renewable sources – natural products such as soybeans, coconut and corn. Additionally, OFS forms soap particles called micelles that clean at low concentrations, reducing the environmental impact on rivers and lakes.
Beyond the formula’s eco clout, a study to be published in the next issue of the American Chemical Society’s leading journal ACS Central Science shows that OFS also performs better than market cleansers in cold and hard water, which can often turn conventional soaps cloudy and gooey.
A lack of foaming ability often deters consumers looking for a deep clean. Researchers tackled this problem by adding nanoparticle catalysts to optimise the soap structure for foaming capability. OFS was shown to foam with the consistency of a conventional detergent.
Cleansing makes up a significant portion of the beauty and personal care market, which was valued at €84,377m ($89,500) for Western Europe last year (Statista, 2016). With more emphasis on natural and sustainable models, formulas like this mean big business for both brands and developers.
For more on sustainable, natural and ethical beauty developments in the beauty market, see Future Beauty: New-Era Naturals. For research into the new ways in which water will feature in our beauty routines, see New Ways with Water.