I Wash my Face with Castile Soap

Enjoy only 2 cosmetics: enough sleep and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap”.

While there may be many things on my grandfather’s label that are rather enigmatic, this statement is as straightforward as it gets. I would only add a third element: drinking plenty of water. When it comes to a clear complexion, this has been my recipe.

For about 15 years I ran in circles trying to clear up my complexion. Between acne and general redness, I was fighting a losing battle. As a teenager I tried all the big name products: Noxema, Neutrogena, Clean and Clear, Cetaphil, various salicylic acid ointments, even Estee Lauder and Clinique. When I entered college, I sought professional help and used prescription Retin-A and Erythromycin. After that I used Dermalogica products. None of these were a long term solution. I just lived with the acne, covering it up as I could.

When I began answering the customer service emails for Dr. Bronner’s, I decided I needed to be trying out for myself the solutions I was offering to customers. One of the most common topics dealt with using the castile soap to alleviate acne, eczema, psoriasis, and general redness. My recommendation was to wash with the Tea Tree Pure-Castile Soap, or to use the Baby Unscented Pure-Castile for general irritation or for sensitive skin.

Now I can say from firsthand knowledge: this stuff really works.

In this age of specialization, the idea of using one product on hair, face, and body sounds pretty naïve. But experience speaks.

I began using the Tea Tree Pure-Castile Soap on my face twice a day. I found that it removed make up easily and completely. The soap will even remove mascara. After a week, my blemishes were disappearing and no new ones were forming.

At first, my face did feel tight after I washed. I think this was due to the change from the intense facial washes I had been using, as well as the creams, masks, and who knows what else. (Not even I remember all that I had applied.) So during the early months I also used the Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut Lotion – a very lightly scented, lightweight moisturizer. It was just right.

At a month out, my skin was smooth, my color was more even. With all that I had been through, I was somewhat astounded that the answer was so simple and had been right there in front of me, quite literally, for much of my life. (Not my whole life since Tea Tree wasn’t introduced until my later childhood.)

I also discovered a pretty direct correlation between the amount of sleep I get, the amount of water I drink, and the condition of my skin. During crazy times, when sleep dwindles to 3-4 hours a night (bear in mind I have three young kids), my tiredness breaks out all over my face. When junky treats creep in to my diet and water creeps out, my face tells that story as well.

Now, several years later, I still wash with castile soaps. I don’t need the lotion any more except when the crazy Santa Ana winds sweep across California in the Fall.

In summary, here’s my technique:

  1. I wet my skin with warm water.
  2. I take about three drops – yes, three drops – of the Tea Tree pure castile soap and lather it up on my hands.
  3. Then I rub it on my face in gentle, circular motions, taking extra time where my make up was and on historically problematic areas. I do not use a washcloth or scrubbie of any sort. I find that it irritates my skin.
  4. However, as the label emphasizes, keep the eyes closed. Let me say that one again, Keep the eyes closed.*
  5. I rinse my face with warm water in my hands with about five splashes.
  6. I dry by blotting my face with a towel.

As I’ve said before, you have to figure out what works for you, and perhaps you need to be more vigorous or more gentle than I have been. It’s a bit of trial and error, but be persistent. It’s completely worth it.

575 thoughts on “I Wash my Face with Castile Soap

  1. Hey Lisa!
    I’m a teen with combination,acne-prone skin.I use the tee tree oil castle soap.It heals my acne, but after that i have acne spots from the acne and the tee tree oil soap doesn’t prevent the acne.I’ve heard that the pepermint one does prevent it.I think to by the pepermint soap for preventing and healing acne and the citrus soap to heal the spots.I will
    use the pepermint one in the evenings and the citrus one in the mornings.What would you recommend ?

    • Hi Venecian – Citrus is gentle on the skin, while the Peppermint can be more drying. If you have sensitive skin, you may find the Peppermint irritates it. Time is the best treatment for acne spots, and I know it can be hard to be patient. I would recommend sun protection to help prevent spots. A healthy lifestyle with lots of fresh foods and plenty of water and sleep also helps to promote healthy skin.

  2. Hi Lisa, my acne consists of mainly a LOT of whiteheads all over my forehead and chin with other breakouts around my face and I am wanting to try out the liquid pure Castile soaps. I was wondering what scent would be the best option for me since I have oily, acne-prone skin but it is extremely sensitive and gets irritated easily? I am looking for the best option for sensitive skin. Thank you

    • Hi Peyton – The Tea Tree is helpful for oily and acne-prone skin, but if your skin is very sensitive, you may prefer the Unscented Castile soap. I always like to remind people to give your skin two weeks to adjust to the new routine.

  3. Hello, I would just like to ask what your skin type is! If you could get back to me, that would be wonderful. Thank you!

    • Hi Elizabeth- That’s an interesting question, as my skin type changed overly the years. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s soap for all these years or if it’s due to a healthier lifestyle, or both. When I started this blog, I had combination skin with adult acne. But now I can say its well-balanced and I rarely experience acne… unless I eat too much junk food.

  4. Hi Lisa,

    I have been battling roseacea for years now and cannot seem to find any cleanser to wash my face that doesn’t irritate the roseacea and make it worse. Would the Castile soap work for washing my face and what would be the best option for my face?

    • Hi Diane- I have had mild rosacea flare ups as well. As you probably know, there are a lot of things that can trigger rosacea. Because it is partially an inflammatory reaction, the Tea Tree Castile is the best option. Tea Tree essential oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties. This will not prevent flare-ups, but can help soothe them. If you find this is too strong, our Baby Unscented Castile soap is another good option.

    • I had mild rosacea about 6 years ago when I started the hunt for something natural and that is when I discovered Dr Bronner’s. I started using the tea tree castile soap and after a couple of weeks it cleared and I have never looked back. I also use a natural moisturiser and argan oil on my skin. I wouldn’t use any other soaps now and also use the Sal Suds and b/soda, vinegar etc for cleaning. This is all due to your website Lisa.

    • Hi Rosemary- That’s great to hear! Thanks for jumping in here to share.

  5. Hello lisa!
    I was wondering which soap would be best for my skin type, I have oily skin with almost no acne but my skin is very sensitive. It would be really good to Hera back from you!

    • Hi Joana- The Tea Tree Castile can be helpful to those with oily skin. Most people are not sensitive to Tea Tree, but if you’re unsure, start with the Unscented Castile, which is gentle on sensitive skin.

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