I was excited to try this product as I love several NIOD products, cleansing balms and pasty textures. I know little about Ayurveda but anything herbal and medicinal intrigues me as I've grown to love many East Asian skincare products. The saponis has something wonderfully raw and earthy in its color and smell. I had high hopes me and Sanskrit Saponins would be the best of friends, but unfortunately this cleanser isn't for me..
NIOD Sanskrit Saponins
SS focuses on exceptionally cleaning the bare skin from dirt, dead skin cells and oils. Does not remove make up but is potentially a good option for a morning cleanse or 2nd step in double cleansing. Packed in a sealed tube. Part of NIOD's Yesti range. 90ml retails for 27€ / 180ml for 41€ on NIOD website (international shipping!).
AVOID THE EYES
The packaging clearly instructs you to not get any product into your eyes, bolded and underlined, but unfortunately this slipped out of my mind while I was rinsing the product and opened my eyes. The NIOD website has a disclaimer there might be mild sensitivity that disappears within a few minutes, but not in my case. It stung, it stung very badly. My eyes were red, itchy and irritated up to an hour and I had a moment of panic did I just damage my sight. Apparently not, but constant rinsing was no help and I make sure to never repeat my mistake.
USING SANSKRIT SAPONINS
When you rub your hands together the SS forms a pasty texture. Apply this to your damp skin and rinse with your eyes closed or leave for 5 minutes on dry skin as a mini mask for a deeper treatment. Personally I went with the instant rinsing as SS is mildly drying. According to NIOD website this temporary dryness should be short-lived and skin returns to normal, but I have little tolerance for drying cleansers. I can't help it, but it's one of my cosmetic peeves: anything smudging, stinging or drying in an instant turn off for me.
What I find stripping and drying might be satisfying and purifying for more combination to oily skin types. However, I'm left confused with SS, because the information on their website seems contradictory. NIOD warns about aggressive cleansing ingredients, but at the same time SS aims to intensely remove skin's natural oil and sebum. While the point of the product is to deeply cleanse the pores and encourage the reproduction of protective oils, aggressive cleansing can also result in excess dryness and skin's compensation by overproduction of oil. I think SS crossed my personal balance of what's comfortable for my skin type, without having a visible effect on my pores and congestion.
The scent is interesting: earthy, almost muddy and reminds me of crushed coffee beans. I understand if someone can't get over the smell, but oddly I enjoy it. What can I say - I'm a simple girl, anything that reminds me of carbs, cats or coffee is a good thing in my book.
Aqua (Water), Sapindus Mukurossi Fruit Extract, Stearic Acid, Arginine, Glycerin, PPG-26-buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acacia Concinna Fruit Extract, Balanites Aegyptiaca (Desert Date) Fruit Extract, Gypsophila Paniculata Root Extract, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
The formula is high in Sapindus Mukurossi Fruit Extract, which I understand is the same as the saponis plant, commonly known as Chinese soapberry or washnut (pesupähkinä in Finnish). I feel shocked I didn't realise earlier I had been this exotic sounding ingredient for years - for washing my laundry. The washnut is a high in compound called saponin, which has natural cleansing properties. They're sold in most health/eco stores at least in Finland. You can put ~4 dried fruit shells into the washing machine in a fabric bag or boil eco friendlier dish wash. It's an excellent mild detergent if you're prone to allergies sensitive or to harsh chemicals, soap or fragrance.
I could find little information about the skincare benefits of saponis other than being a cleaning agent. The rest of the ingredients are mostly emulsifiers, surfactants and preservatives with a couple other fruit extracts.
I think the NIOD Sanskrit Saponins had the potential to become an instant favorite, but in the end I didn't see or feel improvement in my skin. The overall cleaning abilities just didn't feel that exceptional and I shy away from anything that can potentially irritate my eyes or dry out my skin. I might have high standards, but I want my cleanser to be a pleasure to use, gentle and effective. SS was worth of a good try, but otherwise than reviewing purposes I just don't reach for it. Maybe better suited for oilier skin types or larger pores. I think I'm going to pass it on.