NIOD is one of the pricer lines under the DECIEM umbrella, and while I was a little curious about it, having only tried the more affordable The Ordinary and Hylamide lines, I wasn’t keen to shell out C$50+ for curiosity’s sake.
However, during a Sephora sale last year, I picked up Sanskrit Saponins, one of the least expensive items in the NIOD range at CA$29 for 90 mL (I ended up paying under $25).
I actually ended up liking the cleanser a lot, so during DECIEM’s recent Boxing Day sale, I picked up the jumbo-sized (180 mL) for $9 each! Whew, I won’t have to buy cleanser for a while.
What originally sold me on Sanskrit Saponins was the backstory that DECIEM provides on their website. I know, I fell for the marketing! But honestly, it sounds cool. The active ingredient is Sapindus mukurossi (soapnut) fruit extract. The saponins found in this extract are a natural surfactant, so they have been used as a cleaning agent since ancient times. A study has also indicated that soapnut extract (though not necessarily the saponin component) acts as an insecticide.
SS is a viscous and intense cleaning balm for the face formulated with highly-concentrated, very-unrefined Ayurvedic plant surfactants unsupported by any modern cleaning technology. SS contains no purified or synthetic surfactants, sulphates, oils, esters or micellar technologies. It is a pH-balanced suspension of the amino acid, Lysine, in saponins from the Ayurvedic plants shikakai and sapindus mukorossi.
I’m not one for mindlessly elevating naturally-derived ingredients and dismissing synthetic ones, but the biology student in me was intrigued by the idea of using saponins the way ancient people did.
(As an aside: in this product’s write-up, DECIEM mock the use of the word “cleansing” by the cosmetic industry—I smirked, but it turns out they have a bit of a point. Diction note of the day!)
Here is the full ingredient list:
Aqua (Water), Stearic Acid, Sapindus Mukurossi Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Arginine, Polysorbate 60, Acacia Concinna Fruit Extract, Balanites Aegyptiaca (Desert Date) Fruit Extract, Gypsophila Paniculata Root Extract, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Pentylene Glycol, Melanin, Sorbic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin
It is a vegan formula, and is free of alcohol, oil, and silicones.
Sanskrit Saponins comes in a metal squeeze tube, which gives an earthy, natural, and solid tactile impression—clever, when you consider the alternative would have been a synthetic plastic tube. The drawback is, of course, that metal tubes are a pain in the backside to use once there is not as much product left. Still, better a metal tube than a tub of any material, for housing a cleanser.
The product has a creamy consistency and is soft ochre in color. It’s not the most pleasant-looking product, but it does have an interesting, nutty kind of smell—quite light—that I like more than I would have thought.
Sanskrit Saponins is not meant as a makeup remover, so I tend to use it in the mornings, or as a second cleanser after an oil-based cleanser. (Cleanser, cleanser! I hope DECIEM aren’t reading this.) It does seem to be fine removing a light application of makeup, though.
It really works like any “normal” gel cleanser, except it has a creamy, slightly slick texture (read: it feels a little bit oily, even though it does not contain oil). It cleans my skin well and it does not leave it feeling in the least bit dry or taut, which is a godsend for someone like me, with forever dry skin.
I find it to be a really pleasant face cleanser that is well-suited for me, and I will most likely keep a tube of it around at all times. Even at the regular price—though I’d recommend waiting for a sale—I think it’s a worthwhile product. I have yet to find a less expensive product that works as well as this does for my skin type.
DECIEM NIOD Sanskrit Saponins comes in two sizes: 90 mL for US/CA$29, and 180 mL for US/CA$50. The formula is free of alcohol, oil, and silicones. The company is cruelty-free* and vegan.
DECIEM was launched by Brandon Truaxe in 2013. “We decided to do 10 things at once and called our craziness DECIEM, coming from decima, the [L]atin word for 10 in a sequence.” The company is based in Toronto, ON, Canada, and currently has stores in Canada, Australia, Mexico, South Korea, and the UK.
- While DECIEM remains Canadian and cruelty-free itself, American cosmetic giant Estée Lauder, which is not cruelty-free, bought a stake in the company in June 2017.