In the last few years, people have begun prioritizing personal wellness. In fact, the number of searches for “self-care” has more than doubled since 2015, according to Google trends. The idea of “self-care” doesn’t stop at the foods you eat or the exercise routines you pursue, however. It also looks like buying personal care products, such as skincare products, haircare products, vitamins and beyond.

Personal care products are targeted to help improve bodily functions, both externally and internally. Some claim to improve your mood, boost your self-confidence, enhance your appearance and increase protection from harmful environmental factors such as chemicals, germs and skin disease. When searching for personal care products, you may be tempted by the trendy products in standout packaging, but sometimes the best route is choosing the option with natural ingredients. Safe and sustainable personal care products with natural ingredients can pave the way to a healthy glow, inside and out. 

Soy ingredients, like soy protein and soybean oil, are some of the more common natural ingredients. They offer a sustainable alternative to synthetic ingredients, and the isoflavones provide an array of benefits to users, such as protecting the skin from oxidative stress and delay the appearance of aging.

Why soy ingredients?

Many personal care products include chemical ingredients that are largely unregulated, posing a possible risk to public health and the environment. On average, women use 12 personal care products a day and men use six, meaning that women may expose themselves to 168 chemical ingredients each day, while men may expose themselves to 85.

Soy is a safe, cost-effective, eco-friendly and biodegradable alternative to these harmful toxins. Purchasing products made with plant-based ingredients, like soy, promotes responsible sourcing and reduces the amount of synthetic chemicals released into the environment during disposal. Additionally, soy can enhance the benefits of ingredients already present in your personal care products with its rich chemical makeup of protein, lipids, carbohydrates and vitamins.

Read on for more benefits of soy-based personal care products.

Soy in Haircare

Protein serves as the fundamental building block of hair. To achieve healthy hair, it’s recommended your products contain ingredients with protein.

Soy protein, which is found in a variety of haircare products, easily absorbs into hair strands to repair the hair shaft. With consistent use of soy protein products, hair becomes less prone to breakage. Earth Science Naturals Fragrance- Free Conditioner and Attitude Shampoo Volume & Shine are just two products that can help revitalize your hair’s natural strength. 

Soy’s potential in haircare products doesn’t stop at protein! Soybean oil is also a known remedy for maintaining a healthy head of hair. The omega fatty acids and vitamin E in soybean oil make it an antioxidant-rich solution for retaining moisture, promoting growth and enhancing hair’s structure. If you have naturally curly hair, consider applying warm soybean oil as a pre-shampoo mask to support its texture. 

Soybean oil has also been shown to improve cleaning, foaming and conditioning functions of shampoo products. Beyond traditional hair care, soy helps to keep body hair in check with its small proteases soybean trypsin inhibitor (STI) and Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI), which have been clinically proven to delay regrowth of unwanted facial and body hair when topically applied.

Soy in Nailcare

A soy-based nail polish remover like 786 Soy-Based Nail Polish Remover can effectively remove natural polish without the harsh, drying agents like alcohol or acetone. This leaves the nails feeling nourished, hydrated, and without any polish residue, thanks to the presence of essential fatty acids and vitamin E.

Soy-based formulas also carry a low vapor pressure, reducing the likelihood of inhaling harmful chemicals. Furthermore, nail polish remover and removal wipes made with natural ingredients, like soy, may be biodegradable, making them a more environmentally friendly option.

Soy in Body Care

Soybean oil contains naturally occurring surfactant properties. When used in body wash, the soy-based nutrients create a lather that cleanses the skin and leaves it feeling refreshed, revitalized and hydrated. Surfactants have a unique structure with both hydrophobic and hydrophilic components that work together to make surfactants excellent cleaning agents. The hydrophobic parts interact with dirt, while the hydrophilic parts trap the surfactant and dirt in water, leading to its removal. One example is the Glossier Body Hero Daily Oil Wash, which includes soy in its body wash formula.

Soy can also be found in a variety of body lotion products, including Aesop Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm. When applied topically, soy isoflavones have been demonstrated to enhance the skin’s connective tissue, which results in improved elasticity, smoother fine lines and a reduction in the appearance of dark spots, leading to skin that appears naturally radiant. The topical use of soy has also been found to effectively control oil production and hydrate the skin.

Soy’s benefits extend to your outdoor activities as well. On your next camping trip, you may be tempted to reach for a commercial bug repellent containing the common ingredient, DEET. Despite its efficacy, DEET is a highly toxic substance that can pose health and environmental hazards. Oil-based repellents that include soybean oil, such as Hello Bello Mosquito Repellent, have proven to be equally effective in deterring insects and are a safer alternative to products containing DEET. There is some evidence that suggests that repellents made with soybean oil-based ingredients provide longer-lasting protection than products with citronella. You can even make your own oil-based repellents using soybean oil and essential oils, which provide the added benefit of keeping your skin moisturized.

Soy in Supplements

Soy has also found its way into a variety of dietary supplements. Soy-based supplements may include soy protein, isoflavones, or other components and may help reduce the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes, but the effect may be small. Soy products also may enhance bone health, boost memory, lower high blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol levels.

Soy isoflavone supplements have gained popularity over the years as an alternative treatment of menopausal symptoms. Studies have demonstrated that taking isoflavone supplements may reduce hot flashes, decrease loss of bone mass density in the lower back, and potentially lower systolic blood pressure during the early stages of menopause. Given their general safety profile and positive effects on overall health, isoflavones are a viable treatment option for postmenopausal women who are unable to use hormone replacement therapy. One product, among many to consider for relieving menopausal symptoms is Best Naturals Soy Isoflavones for Women.

By selecting products made with plant-based ingredients, such as soy, you can support sustainable ingredient sourcing and reduce the presence of harmful toxins in the environment. Establishing a personal care routine with products made from natural ingredients, like soy, can help improve hygiene, appearance and self-confidence, while redefining what “self-care” means to you.

Ready to start building your personal care shopping list? Check out the Soy Products page for some ideas.