How to use castile soap without getting a greasy film
Castile soap seems to be the ultimate Swiss army knife of anything DIY these days. And that’s great!
But one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that no one mentions that you can use castile soap very wrong, very easily. And it can make or break you when first starting your natural lifestyle switch. It almost broke me.
If you have yet to dive into the lovely uses of castile soap, or if you’re having issues with this popular natural ingredient, you’re in the right place. Read on to see how to use castile soap the right way.
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What is Pure Castile Soap?
Castile soap is made of two ingredients: Olive oil and lye, or sodium hydroxide. That’s it. Both of these ingredients are completely natural and non-toxic. Some companies also use hemp or jojoba oils, and that’s okay too. It really depends on your personal preferences.
Historians think that castile soap first got its start in ancient times in the Meditereann. However, there may be evidence to suggest that even the Egyptians used castile soap. Regardless, this simple soap has been around for about a millennia, and people still use and love it today.
Of course, castile soap can be made of more ingredients than lye and olive oil. Essential oils are often added to give scent and an extra boost. This extra boost can range from antibacterial to moisturizing to aromatherapy.
But there are even more great things about this soap.
The Benefits of Castile Soap
Why is this soap better than the other soaps we have today? There are lots of reasons! Despite its simple ingredient list, castile soap is a pretty powerful force in natural living.
Castile soap is ideal for sensitive skin. With only two ingredients that have been proven to help nourish skin, you won’t have to worry about a thing. So if your skin seems to hate just about any soap out there, castile soap is a great option for you to try.
It has great antibacterial properties. The antibacterial properties of olive oil mixed with the lye makes a great germ fighter! A study even proved that castile soap is effective at healing wounds almost as well as a saline solution.
It’s effective at anti-aging. Olive oil is rich in vitamins A and E, which help keep skin’s elasticity. This will help keep degeneration of your skin at bay, thus making your skin look younger for longer.
Anti-inflammatory power comparable to ibuprofen. Olive oil has a highly anti-inflammatory compound in it called oleocanthal. This gives castile soap the ability to soothe most skin conditions, like psoriasis, eczema, and others.
All of these benefits make for a great soap that’s been around for perhaps thousands of years. But what options do we have today?
The Best Castile Soap Company
There are plenty of castile soap companies out there that are really good, and really bad. You want to stay away from companies that have ingredient lists larger than three or four things. In other words, if it has stuff other than an olive oil base, lye, and some optional essential oils, run far, far away!
It’s okay if you see more essential oils not listed on the label and other plant extracts on the ingredient list. Just keep an eye out for things like “fragrance” and sulfates. The plant extracts are just leftover from the process of making the soap, and the company wants to keep you safe from improper use of essential oils by using essential oils properly.
So what is the best company for pure, quality castile soap? This is obviously an opinion, but I think most people will agree that Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (not an affiliate) is top notch!
Dr. Bronner’s has one of the simplest ingredient lists that I’ve come across in my natural living journey. And all of their ingredients are 100% organic, which is a double score! If you’ve ever come across a recipe for any kind of home and beauty product that could involve castile soap, you’ve probably come across Dr. Bronner’s.
You can get both bar and liquid castile soap from Dr. Bronner’s at a pretty good price. And it doesn’t matter which one you should get. It just depends on what you’re making and your own preference. You can get liquid soap in just about any size, from airport security-approved to 1 gallon jugs!
And the best part? Dr. Bronner’s makes a lot of beauty products using their castile soap. You can get shaving cream, hair styling cream, lotion, even toothpaste!
My Experience With Castile Soap
Have you ever used castile soap on your hair, or anywhere else for that matter, only to feel a thick, greasy film afterwards? Yeah, I had that happen to me for a while. At first I thought that it was just a part of transitioning to a natural lifestyle, but that wasn’t the case at all.
When I first started my journey with natural living, I was determined to make my own shampoo. I somehow had it stuck in my head that all store-bought shampoo was the devil, and making my own was the only solution.
So I found two different kinds of DIY shampoo recipes online that seemed pretty easy to make. One was only baking soda and water on my roots, and the other was diluted castile soap. I quickly learned that I shouldn’t wash my hair with baking soda on a regular basis, so I gave the diluted castile soap a try.
I found some rose-scented castile soap (my favorite smell!) and put one tablespoon of it in a squeeze bottle to dilute it. I washed my hair normally, and everything seemed fine. Until my hair dried.
My hair felt so waxy and weighed-down that it looked like I hadn’t washed it at all!
I thought that my hair wasn’t clarified enough from my old chemical-laden shampoo, so I tried to combat this with apple cider vinegar rinses, and the problem still persisted. I became so beat down from it all that I almost gave up on going all natural.
The Ultimate Key for Good Castile Soap Uses
After a bit more research, I found out that castile soap can also react to the minerals in hard water and leave a waxy, greasy film behind. My poor hair was not to blame at all! I live in an area with pretty hard water (most people do), so that was my greasy hair culprit.
After a little inner turmoil, I decided to find an all natural shampoo that I could buy from the store. Lo and behold, there were plenty of options! The first shampoo I ever decided to buy was from an online store called Just Natural. I even reviewed Just Natural pretty positive.
So to sum up, if you have hard water, then you need to be careful how you use castile soap. Hard water is a natural living lover’s enemy. But there are ways to make it easier, or even eliminate the problem altogether.
Invest in a Water Filter
Depending on where you live, you might have really soft water. And that’s great for homemade castile soap shampoo! Sadly, this isn’t the case for most of us.
One thing that works for some is to invest in a shower head filter. Or even a water filter for the whole house if you can afford it. My parents got a reverse osmosis filter for their house, and their water quality is much better!
A shower head filter will take most of the minerals out of the water that reacts with the castile soap. And I do mean most of the minerals. Depending on the level of water hardness, there still might be some remnants left over and thus create that annoying greasy film. It happened to me even after my parents got reverse osmosis water.
In most cases, you can wash your hair with castile soap if you have a shower filter for a certain period of time. I’ve read that you can go for a week or two until the greasy film slowly builds up on your hair. Then you’ll have to clarify and start the cycle all over again.
If you’re determined to make your own shampoo that’s not baking soda, then you could scrape by with a filter if it seems like it’s working. But please be very careful with this. If it seems like your hair doesn’t like castile soap after a week or so, stop immediately before you ruin your hair.
So where else should you not use castile soap?
Don’t Use Castile Soap in Certain Areas
Out of all the things you should not use castile soap on, your hair is definitely my number one. As for the rest of home and beauty supplies, it’s really up to you.
There’s nothing to use but common sense for the rest of it. If you don’t want a greasy film on something, don’t use it. Or, if you can mix filtered water with it, then great! There are plenty of other castile soap DIY’s that you can get away with.
I use castile soap in home and beauty DIY recipes all the time with no issues! You just have to make sure that things are a certain way for them to work properly. Castile soap is unfortunately a little finicky, but it’s an amazing natural living asset when used properly.
Castile Soap Uses for Cleaning
I love to use castile soap for cleaning! It’s by far my favorite thing to do since I learned how to use castile soap properly.
The antibacterial properties of the soap make this a gentle yet effective cleaning agent. Just use it as a base for whatever cleaner you want to make, and add some water and essential oils. The general rule that Dr. Bronner’s recommends is one tablespoon of soap per one cup of water. But you can adjust that ration if you want things a bit more soapy.
You should also be be careful not to mix castile soap with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar. Although all of these ingredients are completely safe to use, mixing these things together with castile soap will create a chemical reaction that makes the cleaning supplies useless. As always, use your best judgement
Use It In Almost Every Household Cleaner
The things I love to use castile soap in the most are my all-purpose cleaner and mopping solution. My countertops are granite, which is great for a castile soap-based cleaner. Other homemade cleaners recommend vinegar, but that can corrode the granite.
The recipes for these cleaning products are so simple, too! Just fill an empty spray bottle with bottled or filtered water, keeping the one tablespoon of soap to one cup of water ratio, and add essential oils.
The same thing goes for mopping solution. Just use hot water instead. I don’t mind using water from the sink for this, because I’ve never had the greasy film make my floors look bad. I’ve actually found that my floors look cleaner and smell great compared to regular mopping solution.
Castile Soap Uses for Beauty
Despite my affinity for using castile soap as shampoo, there are still some great beauty uses for it! Basically anything that you really want to clean without any irritation, castile soap is a great option.
I learned how to use castile soap as a face wash, makeup remover, body wash and hand soap. The same method for making beauty products is the same as cleaning products. Just use soap and water as a base, and put in some add-ons.
And if you’re feeling fancy, you can even get a foaming soap container for foamed soap instead of regular! I love to use this for seasonal hand soaps that I make every year.
There are just a couple of things to remember when using castile soap in beauty to avoid any adverse reactions on your skin. Don’t worry, they’re pretty easy and simple.
Keep an Eye on Moisturizer
One thing I’ve noticed if I use castile soap on my skin is it feels pretty dry after, especially if I used it multiple times, e.g. washing my hands a few times over the course of an hour. Because of this, I don’t recommend Dr. Bronner’s hand soap dispensers.
The same goes for using castile soap anywhere else on your body. You might not feel too dry, but your skin will be just a little bit thirsty after. But there’s an easy fix for this. Just add some kind of moisturizing agent to your mixture!
For hand soap and body wash, I highly recommend adding honey. I know, it might sound crazy, but honey is both moisturizing and antibacterial. So you’ll be both moisturized and clean after using your own handmade body wash. I even made my own decadent pumpkin spice hand and body wash using this method.
As for makeup remover and face wash, I recommend adding a carrier oil that mimics your skin’s oil. Almond oil and jojoba oil from Rocky Mountain Oils work great for this. If you’ve never heard of RMO, I wrote an in-depth review of Rocky Mountain Oils that details everything.
Just add a tablespoon of carrier oil to a cup of castile soap, and shake, shake, shake! Your skin will be clear of all bacteria that cause breakouts, and you might not need moisturizer after.
Some Final Thoughts on How to Use Castile Soap the Right Way
Castile soap can be great for natural living, but if you don’t use it the right way, you’ll end up with a greasy mess. This is because the minerals in your water react with the soap that leaves behind a waxy, greasy film. And this is terrible on your hair!
I highly recommend finding a company that you trust for shampoo and conditioner. I still use and love Just Natural, the first company that I found when I switched to natural living.
Sometimes a shower filter helps, but not always. Because of this, I don’t recommend using castile soap shampoo. But you can still use it all over the house! I use it in my all-purpose cleaner and mopping solution. You can also use it in face and body wash and makeup remover.
Just make sure that you have a moisturizing agent when using it on your body, because castile soap can be very drying. I love to put honey in my body wash, or I put jojoba oil in my face wash and makeup remover.
Feel free to have your own experiment with how to use castile soap! My only goal is to shorten your learning curve. And when in doubt, if you don’t want a greasy film, just don’t use it. There are plenty of other options besides using castile soap in everything.
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