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All-Natural Soap Does, In Fact, Grow on Trees (Soapberry Trees, That Is)

soapberryToday, most skincare products contain dangerous chemicals like BHA, BHT, paraben, and petroleum. Even natural skincare products often contain synthetic lathers that can be harsh for sensitive skin. Luckily, that’s all changing with the launch of a new, gentle soap from Tree to Tub, made entirely from botanicals and featuring the all-natural lather of the soapberry.

What’s a Soapberry?

If you’ve never heard of the soapberry, it’s probably because while you can find it in some foods, for example in Indian ice cream, soapberry cosmetics have yet to be commercialized in the U.S.


That said, the soapberry actually has a long history of use as a skincare product in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicines. The fruit, which grows naturally in India and Taiwan, has long been used as a safe, gentle cleanser and as a treatment for skin conditions ranging from psoriasis to eczema.

Not only is it naturally antibacterial, it also produces a natural lather when rubbed, creating a gentle, all-natural soap.

The Roots of Tree to Tub

Tree to Tub co-founder Michael Koh grew up using soapberries as a cleanser in his native Taiwan.

“During my childhood in Taiwan, my grandmother never had to worry about chemicals harming my sensitive, fragile skin,” explains Koh. “She relied on nature – all we used was a fruit called the soapberry. She would trek deep into the forest, harvest the berries, and bathe me in its rich, nourishing lather.”

He teamed up with Brian Quach, a fellow UC Berkeley alum, to create Tree to Tub, an all-natural, cruelty-free, vegan soap made from soapberries harvested from family farms in Taiwan.

These berries are blended with organic ingredients like açai and aloe vera to create five different products, ranging from a facial cleanser to a shampoo reinforced with gotu kola extract to ward against hair loss and chamomile to help with itchy scalp to a shea butter body lotion.

“You’re washing with completely botanical lather that we think can replace all chemical lather in the future,” says Quach.

Tree to Tub is committed to fair-trade business solutions, creating a business model that allows local populations to benefit from the popularity of this berry; the founders travelled to Taiwan to meet the local families and help them with the harvest.

“We’ve become almost family with the farmers,” says Quach. “It’s really a different approach to business. When you do business here, you kind of have this informal contract, like ‘We’re gonna work things out together,’ and ‘We’re here together.'”

An Organic Future

Most of Tree to Tub’s ingredients are certified organic, with one major exception: the soapberries themselves. While the certification has proved a challenge to obtain — mainly because the soapberries are picked from the wild and not grown agriculturally — the team knows how important this certification is and is constantly working towards this all-important label.

“Right now it’s more of a fact of getting all our ducks in a row and getting ready for the audits,” says Quach. “We’re prepared; it’s really important for us.”

If you’re intrigued by this new, all-natural skincare product, try it out yourself. In honor of its Indiegogo launch, Tree to Tub is offering a discount to EcoSalon readers, so that you can discover the world’s most gentle soap.

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Images care of Tree to Tub

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