Vietnamese Students Start Up Uses Soap from Almond Leaves

A group of students at Kien Giang University are using Indian almond seeds and leaves to make natural soaps.
Vietnamese Students Start Up Uses Soap from Almond Leaves
The team has come up with a stable production procedure and launched a business. (Photo: Thanh Nien)

For Vietnamese, Indian almond trees are associated with childhood as the trees are planted in most schools across the country.

Le Khanh Ngoc, 22, a student of Kien Giang University, said the idea of Indian almond leave soaps came to her because she wanted to use the benefits of the familiar trees.

When studying Indian almond trees, Le Khanh Ngoc found out that its seeds could support the treatment of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and constipation.

Many scientific studies show that the leaves contain vitamin E, which fights aging and hydrates the skin.

The leaves have antibacterial and antifungal substances and are often used to treat skin diseases.

The leaves have strong antioxidants that repair and protect cells, and are used in many folk methods to reduce skin redness and acnes.

Ngoc then studied the skincare market. She realized the trees had not been used much in natural skincare products.

Therefore, she cooperated with three other students of Kien Giang University, To My Huyen, Tran Phuong Thao, and Nav Bonly to make bath soap from the leaves.

Vietnamese Students Start Up Uses Soap from Almond Leaves
After months of researching, working on the production process and packaging, the team launched the soap under the name "Phoebe Bang". (Photo: Thanh Nien)

The team spent more than six months researching in the laboratory. During the process, they were instructed and supported by Ngo Thi Cam Tu, a lecturer in biotechnology at Kien Giang University.

To make soap from Indian almond trees, the team used three main ingredients, including powder made from the leaves, oil from the seeds, and soap powder.

“The process of making Indian almond leaf powder includes many stages such as sterilizing raw materials, drying the leaves, chopping, and grinding. All steps must be done at an appropriate time and temperature so that the powder retains the natural green color of the leaves," said Ngoc.

The most difficult part is to find the perfect proportion for all ingredients so that the soap bars do not become too soft or too dry.

According to Ngoc, the group uses white tea extract to enhance the natural scent of Indian almond leaves and oil in the products.

Vietnamese Students Start Up Uses Soap from Almond Leaves
The Indian almond leaf bath soap won the first prize in the Innovation Startup Contest in Kien Giang in 2021. (Photo: Thanh Nien)

After months of researching, working on the production process and packaging, the team launched the soap under the name "Phoebe Bang."

Before reaching consumers, the product has to meet the standards of drug, cosmetics and food regulated by the Department of Health in Kien Giang province.

“It was surprising that when we launched the brand, as more than 100 products were sold. Most of our customers are beauty centers, spas, and department stores," said Ngoc.

Ngoc's group currently mainly uses leaves and seeds ordered from Con Dao because of their high quality.

In the near future, she and her team will continue to research and use Indian almonds planted in her province.

Kien Giang held a contest for innovative startups in Dec 2021. Ngoc's project beat 40 other contestants to win the prize.

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