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 unscented Baby Mild 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.

370 thoughts on “I Wash my Face with Castile Soap

  1. I think I may be using too much (more like half a teaspoon)? I’ve been using this soap on my face for about a week now, and my acne is way worse than when I started.

    • An initial outbreak is actually quite common when starting with the Tea Tree. It is cleaning out stuff deep in your skin. Give it two weeks before making your decision.

    • I’ve now been using only a pea-sized -diluted- amount twice a day for about a month. Although I do have the occasional break out, my skin is dramatically more clear. The spots are not white, black or irritated. This mostly occurs when overly stressed, during my menstrual cycle or when I deliberately did not take off my makeup before bed. I know the soap is working and I’m now a customer for life. This is the liquid tea-tree formula, followed by pure apple cider vinegar to tone. It removed 100% of my makeup plus dirt with no aggressive scrubbing. Thank you for your help! I’m only upset it took 38 years to discover this product!

  2. So, after reading through the comments section, it’s clear I’m using WAY too much product and not allowing it to lather whatsoever before applying. I was simply taking a “generic small amount” of the liquid tea tree soap and then washing my face with it, no diluting!
    Secondly, the reason I still have acne and scarring at 37 is due to very oily skin. Thus, in again reading others’ opinions I’m terrified t put coconut oil on my face.

  3. Hello,

    I recently started with the tea tree Castile soap and it has worked wonders but after 4days of using it morning &a night, I have this red, irritated, dry, & burning area on the side of my face that is really broken out. After I use the soap, I use a witch hazel toner, & pure shea butter sometimes bio-oil. If you can please help me out.

    • Hi Karina – You may also need a moisturizer after the soap. I did for a while until my skin adapted, and I used our Lavender Coconut lotion. Dryness can cause break outs just as much as excessive oil. Another treatment I like, and this is going to sound weird, is an overnight coconut oil masque. I know there is a lot of “oil is bad” info out there, but oils are actually what our bodies use to moisturize our skin. It just has to be the right kind of oils. Hemp is another fabulous one. It just has to be refrigerated, which can be a pain. I use a pea-sized amount of coconut oil massaged into my face, and wash it off in the morning. My face is totally renewed after this.

  4. I just bought the tea tree oil soap, not the liquid for my acne. Will this work on body acne also? I was thinking about using this in place of my body wash. Is it okay to use this as an all-over soap for the body to get rid of acne, but also bacteria and odor?

    • Hi Dee Dee – Yes, it is fantastic for that. Use a washcloth as well for some gentle exfoliation.

  5. I am 70 and my face is feeling dry. Do you recommend Castile Lavender bar soap for a face wash? If not, what would you suggest? Thank you.

    • Hi KJW – That sounds lovely. The bar soaps are slightly more moisturizing than the liquid castile. However, if you find your skin is still dry after a two week trial period, consider our Organic Sugar Soaps. The sugar, as well as the shikakai extract act as nourishers and moisturizers to our skin.

    • Lisa, I am wondering if the baby soap with twice as much olive oil would be even better. Thank you.

    • They’re really both excellent. Very gentle and nourishing. It’s really a matter of personal preference. You could cut down the middle and go with the unscented Organic Sugar Soap which is based on the castile, but if that’s not floating your boat, try the pure castile.

  6. I’ve felt with acne for a few years now and it’s getting on my nerves. Recently I had a friend tell me about the rose pure Castile liquid soap. What are your thoughts on this particular one ?

    • Hi Jesus – All of our Castile soaps are the same base with the only difference being the added essential oils. The exception is the unscented Baby Mild which has double the amount of olive oil in ratio. So, the Rose has the same base as the rest, just with a blend of floral essential oils added to it.

  7. I have just come across this soap. I have always struggled with acne. Can you use any of the scented ones like lavender and almond to help clear it up or just the original tea tree one?

    • Hi Beth – You can use whichever one you like best. I generally caution against starting with the Peppermint as pure essential peppermint oil can be a bit strong. The Tea Tree has that extra punch, and when I was getting over the initial hurdle of clearing up acne, it is what I used and worked best. For maintaining healthy skin, though, I grab whichever one I feel like. Or is handiest.

  8. I have heard really good things about the liquid soaps and have wanted to try them out for my face. I have combo skin, (my t-zone gets pretty oily which is annoying, so as soon as I try to use any skin care product for oily to combo skin my face freaks out and the rest of my face dries out a lot). I have semi-acne prone skin, overall a decent amount of redness and a lot of acne scars. I was considering the Tea Tree but I was afraid that was going to dry out my skin. What would you suggest?

    • Hi Alyssa – I think the Tea Tree does a great job of balancing out combo skin, but you need to give it a couple weeks to get everything in shape. You might need a light moisturizer in the meantime. I used the Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut Lotion.

  9. I bought the lavender bar soap today I used it this morning and once I took my shower before bed my skin feels so good and I look great, I only suffer with oily skin and that gives me break outs I hope this will keep my skin dry from all the oils, I want to try the body wash one day, been trying to wait for a sale on it, I been watching it every week because I work for Walgreens, but I luv it I’ll keep you guys posted on how it’s working for me 👍🏾

  10. Hi, I recently started using the hemp baby unscented pure Castile soap. I have sensitive combination skin, some acne, and acne scars as well. I was just wondering if this soap will address the problems in my skin or if I should maybe change to another one, like the tea tree one you’ve mentioned previously. Thanks.

    • Hi Anaeli – Tea Tree oil is very therapeutic for acne prone skin. Give it a try and see.

    • Hi Jun – Yes, the Tea Tree Castile will help. Give it two weeks to show improvement. Along with that, though, be sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and eat good food, exercise and reduce stress. Those basics help more than anything.

  11. hi do you think the lavender coconut lotion would break out combo/oily & acne prone skin? im at least hoping to use it as a night cream.

    • Hi Brodie – It didn’t for me. It was just the right light moisturizer. One other thing I’ve discovered, though, which was really surprising for me, is how well my skin responds to an overnight treatment of pure coconut oil. I don’t do this every night – maybe just a couple times a month – but I rub in a pea-sized amount before bed and then wash it off in the morning. It balances my skin out really well.

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