NSF Organic Products from Saint Francis Organics

In a world where the terms “natural” and “organic” are tossed around like hacky sacks, I’ll applaud those who go through organic certification. It’s not an easy process. There’s apparently no process in place that is appropriate for color cosmetics (see rms beauty’s FAQ). It can be costly for smaller businesses, and while an “organically certified” product doesn’t automatically mean “purest product ever that will absolutely work with my skin”, it can be, in my opinion, a pretty good heuristic when looking for a healthy, green product.

That being said, Saint Francis Organics is in the process of being certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and have launched several new products in line with the NSF Organic regulations. This means if the phrase “contains organic ingredients” is used, then the product must contain at least 70% organic content.

A word that summarizes all of the products I tried: non-stripping. Two words: incredibly non-stripping.

The shampoo, body wash, and hand soap are all incredibly non-stripping and foam very gently. My hair, body, and hands never feel dry after a wash–rather, they are always left feeling very soft. That being said, it’s almost the kind of soft where you are not sure if you have rinsed anything off. I end up using more of the body wash than I do with my Dr. Bronner’s because even though the texture of the wash is quite thick, a little does not go too far. As for the shampoo, my hair has been well-nourished for the past month, though my roots tends to look and feel slightly greasy the morning after a shower. I do sweat very easily and thus can have a pretty oily scalp–so perhaps this shampoo is better geared towards those with very dry scalps (my hair loves the Acure shampoo geared towards drier hair, so perhaps this is for those who think that even that shampoo is not moisturizing enough). The body lotion is solid–it sinks in fast and lightly moisturizes my hands, not on the same level as Weleda’s intensely moisturizing Skin Food but light enough where I can moisturize my hands without worrying about having greasy hands for the next several minutes.

The star ingredient replacing the villainous foaming sulfates in the shampoo and body/hand soaps? Soapberry fruit extract. It’s a saponin, a natural surfactant, i.e. a naturally occurring compound that doesn’t undergo any chemical modification to get its scrubby-scrubby on. Indeed, there is a bit of foaming action, but again, it is very gentle–nothing like the huge bubbles you will get from conventional hand washes, and that is fine. In a study investigating soapberry’s foaming properties in comparison with SLS, it was found that while SLS removed 90% of sebum, crude saponins removed 60% (shows how stripping SLS can be!). Overall, the saponins from soapberries were concluded to have excellent foaming properties and to be an effective preservative against the bacteria that causes staph infection.

In addition to this alternative foamy character, there is a nice array of extracts and moisturizing ingredients in each product, including rice, green tea, cucumber, avocado, and mango extract as well as shea butter, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and sweet almond oil. That’ll be antioxidants, cooling effects, and extra moisture on the side, thank you very much. And at the top of each list: aloe vera. This makes sense–altogether, the moisturizing ingredients in combination with the gently foaming soapberry extract result in very gently foaming formulations that moisturize as they clean.

It should be noted that the preservative in the Body Lotion is honeysuckle extract–so for those of you concerned with the potentially paraben-like effects of honeysuckle, beware. As for scents, all of the formulations are very non-offensive and the scents come from oils, such as lemon oil or peppermint oil, which is great (it kills me when candle makers say that you can’t possibly scent a product with essential oils alone–lies!).

The prices for each product are projected to be quite affordable, with the shampoo (12oz) in the $15-17 range, body wash $11-13 (12oz), and hand soap $8-10 (8oz), to name a few. For reference, that places the shampoo as more expensive than your average Acure shampoo, but less expensive than your Yarok or beloved Rahua.
tl;dr Not foregoing my Acure shampoo or Dr. Bronner’s soap, but will applaud SFO for seeking organic certification and utilizing an SLS-alternative in very gentle and non-stripping formulations.

What are your thoughts on organic certification? Do you feel it is necessary? If so, in the spirit of brotherhood, check out SFO’s IndieGoGo campaign page, should you so please: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/saint-francis-organics

Disclaimer: I typically review products that are nearly empty. However, this is a time-sensitive review as Saint Francis Organics’ IndieGoGo campaign to support the launch of their new NSF Organic products ends on November 8, 2014. SFO kindly provided these samples to me for review. I am not being compensated in any way for my words. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The image of the shampoo label and pricing were kindly provided.

Ingredients:
Peppermint/Vanilla Body Lotion: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sodium Stearyl Lactylate, *Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, *Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and) *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, *Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), *Tapioca Starch, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, *Vanilla (Botanical), Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Guar Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid.

Peppermint/Vanilla Hand/Body Wash: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil,*Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract,*Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and) *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, *Vanilla (Botanical), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid.

Lemon Shampoo: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Decyl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, *Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract, *Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, *Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and) *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), *Citrus Limonum (Lemon) Oil, GuarHydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid.

Lavender Hand/Body Wash: *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Gel), Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract,*Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (and)  *Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (and) *Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract (and) *Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, *Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Oil, *Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Oil, *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid.

* Certified Organic

Additional Sources:

Chao-Hsun, Yang, et al. “Foam Properties, Detergent Abilities And Long-Term Preservative Efficacy Of The Saponins From Saoindus Mukorossi.” Journal Of Food & Drug Analysis 18.3 (2010): 155-160. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Fevola, Michael J.1, ct•author@allured.com, et al. “Sustainability: Trends In Polymers And Surfactants For Hair Care.” Cosmetics & Toiletries 127.1 (2012): 34-40. Applied Science & Technology Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Montgomery, Katherine. “All In A Lather: Herbal Soap Plants.” Herbarist 76 (2010): 34-38. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

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