Although botanists haven't entirely agreed on the origins of the soya bean (Glycine soja), it is believed that the plant derives from Glycine ussuriensis, a Chinese legume.
Soya has been eaten and cultivated in China since 2800BC, and it was considered one of the five substances essential for living. During the 18th century, missionaries sent soya beans back to Europe and one of the earliest widespread uses of the bean was a cheap source of protein during the First World War. Today, it is popular in the western world as a dairy substitute.
Today, the USA is the main grower of soya, and over 90% of the crop is used for animal feed. A whole soya industry has developed around the bean and various materials made from it are widespread today – soya milk, soya oil, soya sauce, soya lecithin, miso, tamari, tempeh, tofu and textured vegetable protein.
The plant can reach 2 metres in height and produces white or purplish, self-fertilising flowers. There are many varieties of bean, ranging from yellow to multicoloured, but most of the commercial varieties have brown seeds with up to four seeds per pod.
Soya milk is made by soaking the beans, filtering off the ‘milk’ and boiling the liquid to remove the taste of beans. Finished soy milk tastes pleasantly creamy and slightly nutty. It can also be made from soya flour or soya protein.
The milk contains B vitamins and isoflavones, which act as antioxidants in cosmetic use. It soothes and conditions in hair and bath products.
In Japan, soya-based beauty products are marketed as skin-lightening.
We’ve used soya milk in our Sex Bomb Bath Ballistic and Ne Worry Pas Bath Ballistic to create a creamy and indulgent bath time experience to soften your skin.