Dr. Bronner's

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile vs. Sugar Soaps

castile vs sugar soaps

If Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap is so versatile, why make another kind of soap, the Organic Sugar Soaps? Which should I buy?

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is an extremely simple soap. It is my grandfather’s original, and if you have only heard of one Dr. Bronner’s product, it’s probably the Castile Soap and probably the Peppermint. Its method of reacting oils with a strong alkali is millenia old; someone from the middle ages looking at our soap-making process would understand exactly what we are doing. The art of creating the perfect Castile Soap, though, lies in the choice and balance of oils as well as other processing methods. When you have the perfect Castile Soap, it is the most versatile cleaning agent possible. If you had to choose only one cleaning product for every aspect of your life, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile soap is it. However, through the years, we have repeatedly heard a few requests:

  • “It would be nice if the Castile Soap were thicker.”
  • “It would be nice if it were more moisturizing.”
  • “It would be nice if it worked in a pump.”
  • “It would be nice if it were USDA certified organic.”*

Enter the Organic Sugar Soaps

The Organic Sugar soap is based on the Pure-Castile Liquid Soap but the addition of a few ingredients makes all four of these desires a reality.

The Organic Sugar Soap drops the water from the Castile Soap and adds organic white grape juice, organic sucrose, and organic Shikakai powder.  Here’s how each benefits:

Organic White Grape Juice:

  • Acts as a humectant, which is something that helps the skin retain its natural moisture.

Organic Sucrose:

  • Also a humectant (which is why sugar scrubs are so popular for the body).
  • Caramelized sucrose keeps the soap from coagulating and clogging the pumps.

Organic Shikakai Powder

  • Conditions skin and hair as it cleanses – Shikakai is derived from a south Asian tree, the Acacia concinna, and has long been used in traditional Indian body care as a moisturizing skin and body cleanser.
  • Thickening agent.
  • Read more about the amazing qualities of Shikakai on my post, Benefits of Shikakai Powder for Hair and Body.
unscented sugar soaps

Why use one soap over the other?

Personal care

The Organic Sugar Soap is more moisturizing and works in a traditional pump dispenser. Other than that, it is mostly a matter of personal preference. The two soaps feel different. They smell different. They react differently on different skin types. If you are in love with the Pure-Castile Soaps, chances are, you are not going to like the pumps. If you’ve turned away from the Pure-Castile Soap because of dryness or intensity, the Organic Sugar Soaps are your answer.

House cleaning

The Pure-Castile Soap is the only way to go. Your household surfaces do not need to be moisturized (for the most part), and the ingredients that provide the moisturizing after feel on your skin make it a little more difficult to rinse off of hard surfaces. Also, the very slight graininess of the Shikakai powder (kind of like cinnamon) might clog spray bottles.

A final note

There is no difference in the formulation of the two sizes of Organic Sugar Soaps. The 12 oz. bottle is more conducive to sink-side, hand-washing use, and the 24 oz. lends more towards in-shower, whole-body washing. There is also a refill half gallon size.

*A few questions that might come to mind:

Why doesn’t the Pure-Castile soap have the USDA organic seal?
In order for a product to qualify for the USDA organic seal, it must be made with 95% organic materials. However, for our Castile soap making process to work correctly, we must add over 7% of the alkali (sodium or potassium hydroxide) to the oil blend. Also bear in mind that substances such as water, salt, and hydroxides are all by nature inorganic, which means they do not come from a plant source. Therefore, the term “organic” can never apply to them. The water content in the Pure Castile Soap is not included in the organic percentage calculation. The Pure-Castile Soap does carry the label “Made with Organic Oils”. However, the Organic Sugar Soap does not use water, but rather organic white grape juice, for the reasons mentioned above. The organic white grape juice does count in the organic calculation and brings the pump soaps above the 95% threshold.

Why not replace water with white grape juice in the pure Castile Soap?

The beauty of the Castile Soap is its simplicity. And it is this very simplicity that makes the Pure-Castile Soap so very versatile. Once we start fancifying it with anything, the soap will lose some of its attractiveness as well as its usefulness.

Is the Organic Sugar Soap as effective as the Pure-Castile Soap in eliminating germs?

Yes, the cleaning action of the Organic Sugar Soap is just as effective as the Pure-Castile Soap. They both latch on to germs and grime and carry them away. The recommendations for cleaning hands are the same: wash for 20 seconds, rinse well, and dry.

Further reading

Benefits of Shikakai for Hair and Body

Warding off Dry Skin with Dr. Bronner’s Soaps

12 Personal Care Ingredients to Avoid

Shaving with Dr. Bronner’s

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Karen says:

Hi! I was wondering about the Tocopherol that is added to each product. I am concerned because there is no indication that it is either organic or even non-GMO. From where is the Vitamin E sourced? Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Karen – Thanks for your question! We use natural Tocopherols (or Vitamin E) derived from non-GMO sunflower oils.

Priscilla says:

Hi I’m looking for a facial cleanser suitable for dry, sensitive skin with rosacea. And do you recommend your lotions for this type of skin? Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Priscilla – I think the Tea Tree Castile soap is the best option for you. It balances and strengthens skin. Give it about two weeks for your skin to acclimate before you decide if you like it. For moisturizing, currently I’m sold on using a bit of coconut oil overnight once a week as a deep treatment. During the day, the Lavender Coconut Lotion provides a good amount of moisture.

Alyssa says:

Hi Lisa, I am looking into purchasing the Tea Tree Sugar Soap to use as a face wash to help with my acne. I have tried the Castile Soap version, but it always leaves my face very dry and stripped of its natural oils. I believe this is because I have very hard water in my area. So I was wondering if using the Sugar Soap will have the same reaction, or because it is more moisturizing it won’t read the same way with the water?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Alyssa – The Sugar Soaps have the addition of the sugar and shikakai powder, as well as the white grape juice, all of which nourish and soften the skin. I don’t think it’s the hard water you were feeling so much as the simplicity of the Castile soap. Depending on what you are switching from, the super-clean rinsing nature of the castile, leaving no residues behind, can be quite a change. I do advise you to give the Sugar Soap a try. I apologize for my late response to you.

Andrew says:

Hi Lisa – What product do you recommend for dishwashing for folks who use a built-in dispenser at their kitchen sink? (non-foaming)

Sal Suds, Castile or Sugar Soap or something else entirely?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Andrew – The Sal Suds would work great for that built in pump. Keep in mind that Sal Suds is very concentrated, so you wouldn’t need a full pump of it to wash your dishes – probably just a couple drops per dish. Or you could dilute it so that you wouldn’t use too much. Using too much isn’t dangerous – just wasteful. And bubbly. When you dilute, check out the dispensing speed. If it is too thin, I can envision it squirting out and making a mess. Maybe cut it in half and see how that goes.

Gina says:

I have a DIY recipe that calls for Dr. Bonner’s Shakakai Soap. I don’t find an unscented one. Do you make an unscented one? Also I notice a lot of “sugar” soaps. What does that mean?

Paula says:

I am trying to find a shampoo solution for my adolescent daughter. She has EXTREMELY thick, long hair and tends to get really oily, flaky scalp with regular shampoo. (It’s not dandruff from dry scalp, I think it’s more residue from the shampoo creating a fungus.) Would the Shikaki be better for her or the regular castile watered down?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Paula – Rafi, on our staff, wrote a great explanation to identify and treat scalp issues. Take a look:
“Many times dandruff and dry scalp are lumped together, but they are actually somewhat different, and need to be treated differently. How can you tell? Flakes from dry scalp are usually white in color, and people with dry scalp will often have dry skin on other parts of their body as well (and the condition is made worse by dry or cold conditions). Dandruff is a symptom of oily skin: the scalp produces too much oil, and dead skin cells form oily clumps, which is seen as dandruff. These clumps are often larger than the flakes produced by dry scalp, have an “oily” consistency, and can be yellowish in color. People with dandruff often suffer from oily skin on other parts of their body, including eyebrows, eyelids, ears, and nose.
“Unfortunately, many people with dandruff have a tough time finding natural remedies, but it is worth trying a “drying” regimen. Our soaps are naturally drying, so that could work, using less of the acidic conditioning rinse (which moisturizes). For dandruff, many people also recommend changes in diet and supplements. If the problem is dry scalp, then a moisturizing regimen is needed. Many people have success skipping the soap entirely and washing with acidic rinses, such us our Citrus Conditioning Rinse or diluted apple cider vinegar. The acidic rinses help to moisturize. In addition, treating the hair and scalp with something like coconut oil, can help keep the skin moisturized and prevent dry scalp from occurring. We recommend doing more research on websites such as, where people discuss symptoms and recipes in detail. Everyone’s hair (and scalp) is a little different, and often finding a natural regimen that works requires some tinkering.”

Paige says:

Hi!! Loving the Shikikai soaps for hand washing! I have three little boys, so I wash my hands… A TON! My hands are always clean, soft, never dry. ?? had a quick question… my kiddos do better with foam soaps, are the Shikikai soaps able to be diluted into a foam diapenser? If so, what ration do you recommend? Thank you so much!!
Paige B.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Paige – Glad you’re enjoying them! As far as using them in a foam dispenser, you’ve got me pondering. I never have put them in a foamer. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t. On the one hand, the Shikakai is not designed to be diluted like the Castile. But on the other hand, that doesn’t mean it can’t be diluted. All that to say, you could try it and see if it works.

I use Castile in all my foamers at a ratio of 1:3.

Gabi says:

Hi, I’m leaving soon to do fieldwork and am looking for some good soap. I used the liquid castile soap last time I was in the field, but it left my hair and and skin feeling a bit dry. Are the pump soaps safe to use outside (far from a water source) like the castile soap? And would the pump soap help with the dryness that I experienced with the castile soap? Also, are your lotions non-comedogenic? And (last question!) how long do you think a pump soap might last? Trying to calculate how much I should bring if it turns out to be the right one! Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Gabi – Yes, the Organic Sugar Soaps are more moisturizing than the castile. They also, however, have that higher pH which is what makes your hair feel a little rough/sticky/tangly. The solution to that is an acidic rinse, but that might not be an extra step you want to take while travelling. If you happen to have vinegar or lemon juice handy, that will help do the trick. The lotions are non-comedogenic. I use them on my face all the time. The pump soaps don’t dilute as much like the castile does, but you would still get a lot of washings out of a 12 oz. bottle. I would think it would last you two weeks, if you were using it exclusively head to toe.

Arislaw says:

Hi, what will you recommed for people with psoriasis skin conditions?

Thanks. AL

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Arislaw – My brother suffers from it, too. He recommends any of our Castile soaps except the Peppermint which is too intense, and our unscented Magic Baby Balm is a must. He also says that any way you can reduce stress is great.

Kim Hahn says:

Hi, Mark,
I also have a faulty Shikakai pump
Could you please send me one that does not leak?

Many thanks.

Neha says:

Hi, I am thinking of making my own shampoo for curly hair. I have a lot of hair fall so thinking of adding Rosemary oil in the Castile soap. What do u suggest. Also I need conditioner. Can Castile soap work as a conditioner.
Also if I get a non scented Castile soap I want to make my own scented shower gel.
What proportions of water and Castile soap would I use to make shampoo and shower gel.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Neha – I don’t know what impact rosemary oil will have on reducing hair fall. It’s what we used to use in the soaps as a preservative, so it mixes with the soap just find. The Castile soap will not work as a conditioner. The pH is too high. You’ll need something acidic for a conditioner like apple cider vinegar, or our Citrus Hair Rinse.

You can definitely scent the unscented Baby Mild soap with whatever essential oil you like. For shampoo, I recommend 1/2 a tablespoon. The water in your shower will provide the dilution. For body washing, I recommend a good squirt on a washcloth for the whole body. Again, the water in your shower will provide enough dilution.

Kelly Lynn Hacker says:

I’ve tried to dilute the regular Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soap before, but the water in the county where I live causes it to separate and unsaponify! (No vinegar was added whatsoever.) Has anyone else had this happen in areas with very hard water or where lots of chemicals are used in the water treatment? (Fairfax County, VA where I live, uses lots of chlorine in the water treatment, so much so that there is a slight chlorine smell when I take a shower.) I’m guessing the pump soap would work better in this situation.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kelly Lynn – It is entirely possible that your water is acidic, which would possibly unsaponify the soap. Kind of disturbing, isn’t it? You could get a pH test and find out, but it sounds like your experience is telling you. In this case, I would recommend using distilled or R.O. water for diluting the soap for foamers or an All Purpose Spray. As far as for your shower, don’t predilute the soap. Just squirt it on a really wet washcloth. You could consider a whole house filter, but that’s a bit of an expense. I’ve gone the R.O. route under my kitchen sink. I make all my solutions there.

Melfa says:

Hi, I’ve been using the baby organic pump soap for 1 year plus on my toddler for body and hair and it’s great! Wondering if the soap is safe for keratin treated hair?


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Melfa – I’m sorry, I don’t know the details of how keratin treatments work.

Perhaps another reader can weigh in on this one??

goi says:

Hi there,

The Shikaki looks interesting. But reading thru the comments, it can’t be used for colored hair? And I prefer to use with a foaming pump. Which one do you recommend?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there – Unfortunately, the pH of the Shikakai (aka the Organic Pump Soap) is also alkaline which makes it not recommended for colored hair. Any true soap is going to be alkaline. You’ll have to find something that is designed for color treated hair, which would be a slightly acidic detergent.

Our pump soaps were designed for regular pumps. I’ve never tried them in a foamer, but they might not work great in them because they’re not meant to be diluted. The shikakai powder also might irritate the apparatus. Maybe another reader has tried them, though, and could comment on that.

Maria in Kentucky says:

I just bought my first pump and love it as a hand soap!! I’m interested in showering with it but wonder how best to do that.. apply to skin, washcloth, net, or sponge? How many pumps? I don’t want to waste any figuring it out if someone already has!
Also, can it be used in any pump?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Maria – So sorry on my delay here. Yes, they work great in the shower and can be used in any normal pump. Not so much in a foamer, though. I squirt it on to a washcloth so that I don’t lose any through my fingers. A net or sponge would probably work as well. I probably could wash my whole body with two pumps of the 24 oz. bottle, or 3 of the 12 oz. pumps.

Kierah Simpson says:

Just wondering if the pump soap could be used to make washing liquid? I purchased the pump soap thinking it was pure liquid Castile soap… thanks 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kierah – The pump soaps aren’t meant to be diluted. They contain organic grape juice which makes them more nourishing (natural sugars are humectants that draw moisture into our skin). This works almost as a diluting agent to the soap base.

Kierah says:

Thanks so much for the reply.. I’ve made hand soap and also a face and body wash with this pump soap adding essential oils and then adding water. So by not recommended to be diluted.. do u mean adding water or any other ingredients it won’t work as effectively. Is it meant to be used alone as a pump soap? Thanks 🙂

Lisa Bronner says:

Yes, it is meant to be used “as is”.

Lisa Bronner says:

Time for true confessions, folks. It is February 9, 2017, and I have missed several months of comments for the simple reasons that things went a little crazy around here. I very much apologize. I am tackling them now for the sake of those faithful and new readers who might actually read them all. I am going to start with the most recent. Bear with me.

Humayraa Ali says:

Hi, I have a very odd skin type and i have been looking for an organic cleanser to use as a facial wash. My skin can sometimes be very dry and sometimes very oily, it changes every day. It is also sensitive and acne prone.
I currently use the Dr Bronner’s bar soap for my body but find it quite drying on my face.
Please advise as to which soap would be most suitable for my face?
Thank you

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi there – I wrote about my own journey to find the perfect facial wash here: The Tea Tree Pure Castile does a great job of balancing out skin types. It needs about two weeks of twice daily use to get the skin in shape. At first, you may need a light moisturizer like the Lavender Coconut lotion, or what I do now is just a once-a-week nighttime masque of coconut oil. I use about a pea sized amount of oil over my face and wash it off in the morning. My face is totally rejuvenated.

JJ says:

Hi Lisa,
I am not sure which soap is better suited for my hair.
I have dry, dull and frizzy hair. I have natural black hair. I had my hair colored about 6 months ago. I think I have dry scalp as well. What will be your advice?
Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi JJ – If your hair is colored, our soap may remove your color because it has an alkaline pH. Generally, shampoos that are recommended for color treated hair have a slightly acidic pH. One treatment that may help, though, is a coconut oil hair masque. If your hair is about down to your shoulders, take about 1/2 tsp. of coconut oil – not too much – and work it into your hair. Wrap your hair in a warm towel and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then wash it out with a shampoo. It will make your hair very soft and smooth.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jill – No, I don’t recommend that. The shikakai extract in the pump soap is actually the consistency of cinnamon – a superfine powder. This would potentially clog a foaming pump.

Jessica says:

Can the Sugar pump soaps be used on dyed hair on a once a month basis for clarifying purposes?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jessica – The Sugar Pump Soaps also have an alkaline pH of 8.7-9.7, so they are not recommended on color treated hair.

Elaine says:

I tried the Castile soap, mixed with water (3 tablespoon soap, 200 ml distilled water). It was ok, but it didn’t feel smooth or lubricated as I hoped to be. I tried putting some sweet almond oil in the mixture but not much help.
Do u have any solution?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Elaine – Was this solution for a foaming dispenser? If so, make it a little more concentrated: 1 part soap to 3 parts water.

Celene says:

Hi – we’re looking for dish soap that’s also easy on our hands and find the castille soap too drying, but the sugar soap just right. Can we use this on our dishes and baby bottles even though I know they don’t need to be moisturized? Would the sugar and grape juice counteract any cleaning effect on our dishes, or would they get them just as clean or cleaner?

Paul says:

Can the organic pump soap be diluted and used in a foaming pump dispenser? If so, what ratio to water would you recommend to start?

Irene says:

Hi There,

I intend to purchase and use for shampoo purposes.
I have acne/oily skin and my back have acne/scar.
Can’t decide whether to use Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree or Lemongrass Lime?

Need your professional advice.
Thank you.

Vinny says:

I will be moving onto a sailboat soon and I have discovered that the boat’s kitchen sink and bathroom sink and shower drain overboard. The previous owners did not use soap so they were just draining fresh water but I would like to find a safe, natural, non toxic and biodegradable soap to use on my dishes and my body. Do any of the Dr. Bronner’s soaps meet these requirements?

Pennie says:

Hi Lisa! I have very sensitive skin and also oily skin which can break out and itch. I want to try the organic pump soap but am wondering about the PH of the product? Would the PH be too high for the face? Also how is the PH for down below hygene?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Pennie – The pH of the Pump Soaps would be fine for your face. However, have you checked out this post: about my journey to using Castile Soap for my face? The Tea Tree in particular works really well for sensitive yet oily skin. Regarding washing down below, again the pH is fine, but I would caution against using it as a douche if you are trying to get pregnant. Any change to pH in that situation can have an impact on things.

Sue Hamilton says:

Thank you Lisa! Yes I do have hard water. BTW I live among a lit of evergreens and found Sal Suds to work great on getting the sap off the car roof!

Lisa Bronner says:

Great tip! I have not-so-fond recollections of parking a pop-up trailer under pine trees and having the top turn black with sap and dirt. Sal Suds to the rescue!

Sue Hamilton says:

I’m using the Castille Peppermint Soap to hand wash dishes. I feel an oily film on them. Is that normal? I have an olive oil dispenser will with full strength Soap and then put some on a sponge to clean the dishes…am I using to much? When I us a little it doesn’t feel like I’m getting them clean specifically the Popcorn Pot which has Coconut oil on the bottom.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sue – Do you happen to know how hard your water is? With hard water, the soap reacts with the minerals and can leave a film on the dishes. I have hard water and so I only use the Sal Suds to wash dishes, but another option is that after you rinse the soap off, dip them in rinse water with a cup of vinegar mixed in. Regarding the popcorn pot (and, just to say, popcorn with coconut oil is AWESOME), you might want to put a couple drops of pure soap in that pot to snag the residual oil.

Isadora says:

Is the Dr Bronners Shikakai spearmint peppermint pump soap supposed to be brown? This is my first bottle.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Isadora – Yep! I know it’s kind of strange, but that is the Shikakai powder itself that causes the color. Shikakai is a a ground up tree bark, roughly the texture of cinnamon. It has been a long used part of traditional hair and skin care in India because it is naturally very soothing and softening to the skin. If you ever see a supposedly “shikakai” product that isn’t brown, there’s not very much shikakai in it at all.

Judi says:

Hi, I’m confused. Before I found this website, I tried the Peppermint on my color-treated hair, once. Ok, so not again. But my skin is very dry, can I use the peppermint liquid soap? Which, if any, of the soaps is best? Is there an after shower lotion to use on damp skin? Thank you

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Judi – I’m glad you asked. Peppermint oil is naturally drying. I know that sounds counterintuitive because of the idea that oil makes skin, well, oily. However, different oils have many different properties. The Peppermint Dr. Bronner’s castile is super awesome if you have oily skin, or after a hot and sweaty day. It’s a recommended assist for battling poison ivy because it dries out the oils from the ivy. However, if you don’t have oily skin or any of these other scenarios, it probably isn’t the right one for you. Personally, it’s not right for me most of the time because it does dry out my skin, causing it to feel tight and look ashy. My daily shower soaps are the Citrus or Almond. If you like more floral, check out the Rose.

My after-shower moisturizer is just a bit of pure coconut oil. Not too much, and it feels and smells absolutely awesome.

Kat says:

Hi, do I need to dilute the shikakai soap to use on hair/body/face please? Thanks.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kat – No need to dilute the Shikakai. We formulated the Shikakai Pump soaps a little differently so that they could be used directly from those pumps. I hope you enjoy them!

JoLynn says:

Hi Lisa,
Can the Dr. Bronners Shikakai soap be used in the Cuisipro foaming dispenser, or only the Pure Castile?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi JoLynn – I haven’t tried it, but I wouldn’t recommend using the Shikakai soap in a foaming dispenser. Shikakai is a very fine powder, about the texture of ground cinnamon. I think eventually it would irritate the foaming apparatus. I would stick with the castile.


Does the castile liquid soap has to be diluted for use on the face and hair? or Can I just use it without dilute?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kyung – I don’t predilute for the face and hair. I just use a few drops for my face and squirt for my hair. The water that’s already on your face and in your hair dilutes it.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Cory – While I wrote about using the castile on babies here:, I haven’t addressed the pump soaps. Newborn skin is so delicate that you want to use as few ingredients as possible on it. That’s why I would opt for the castile instead of the pump soaps. Not that the pump soaps’ ingredients are harmful, quite the opposite. However, I just like to keep things simple for babies. Also, as I say in the post on babies, our soaps are not tear-free so please take care not to get them in anyone’s eyes.

Apple says:

Hi Lisa,

I find that a combination of Dr Bronner soap and distilled water causes my foaming soap pump to jam up and get stuck a lot. Any suggestions? I followed manufacturers’ recommendation of 1:5. I’ve also tried another brand at 1:4. Both end up with the same issue, the pump mechanism gets stuck!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Apple – I’ve had that happen as well with a variety of foaming pumps. I think it has to do with the quality of the pump. I’ve switched to the Cuisipro pump which I bought from Amazon and it is working fabulously well.

Apple says:

Thanks Lisa, but cusipro is plastic? Do you have a suggestion for any glass pumps?

Lisa Bronner says:

I don’t, but since it’s really the pump apparatus that you need and not the bottle, you could snag the pump off the Cuisipro and see if you can find a glass bottle or jar that it fits. I haven’t seen a good working foaming pump apparatus that isn’t made out of plastic.

mimi says:

1:10 works for me. Tip container back and forth before using to ensure soap is evenly distributed in the water.

Jane says:

Hi, just wondering if the shikakai soap can be used on the face (my skin has a tendency to be dry). Or, is there any other product available that can be used as a face wash? Thanks!

Tammy Hartman says:

The description of the Peppermint Pure Castile Soap states that it cools the skin. The Peppermint Organic Pump Soap does not have the same statement. I am looking for a product that could be used in the summer that could have a cooling affect. I also need a pump dispenser to use in the shower. Would either of these soaps work for what I need?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tammy – The Peppermint Castile is definitely what you want for the cooling effect. The Peppermint Pump Soap has a different mint blend with Spearmint and it’s just not quite as cooling and zingy. That would be a good thing for people who find the Peppermint Castile too zingy, but for summer cooling, nothing beats the Peppermint Castile. And here’s another awesome tip – The Peppermint Lotion – – also has that same cooling effect, so even if you can’t hop in the shower, but need a midday refresher, rub some of the lotion behind your neck and it will have a similar effect.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jeanne – Sure! It is a very mild and moisturizing soap. As with all soaps, please take care to keep it out of the dog’s eyes.

cheryl says:

Hi…I have extremely sensitive skin and a lot of allergies to soaps and detergents. At present I can only use Dove unscented for sensitive skin to bath with. Can you tell me what ingredients exactly is in your pumps? Thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Cheryl – Here are the ingredients for our unscented Pump Soap: Organic Sucrose*, Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Coconut Oil*, Organic Palm Kernel Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
**None remains after saponifying oils into soap & glycerin..

Sue Hamilton says:

I’m trying the pump soap as a facial cleanser. Do I need to use a toner and moisturizer after the cleanser? If yes, what do you recommend?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sue – This all depends on your skin type, weather, time of day, what your skin has been through. The Pump Soaps are very nourishing, and personally I don’t find that I need an additional moisturizer when I use them. However, if your skin is really dry or irritated, you might need a follow up. Start with the lightest option and work up from there. Simple is often better.

Liezl Bruwer says:

Hi there, I would like to know your advice as to which one to use specifically as a shampoo? I have fine blonde hair. I do not dye my hair. My roots er on the side of oily however my ends can be dry as per my hair being finer. I am very stuck as to whether to get the liquid castile or the pump? And which one of the recommend variety? Thank you:)

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Liezl – I apologize for my delay in responding. I recommend the liquid castile soap for you. You’ll also need a follow-up rinse of either apple cider vinegar or the Dr. Bronner’s Hair Rinse.

Jeff says:

Hi Lisa
I really like Dr Bronners peppermint castile soap. How much would you recommend diluting it for a dry beard. How much should I dilute it, in order to make it gentle enough for daily use? I really want to make this my go to beard wash. Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jeff – I asked some of the fellows around the office and have some suggestions for you. Several said that they don’t specifically dilute it for the beard, another said he uses a 50% or 30% dilution of peppermint, and another said he uses the Dr. Bronner’s Pump soap, which comes in peppermint, because it’s more moisturizing. One guy very much recommended a beard balm follow up, and uses the Dr. Bronner’s Body balm for that.

Merry says:

Hi! We use your pure castile soaps in our soap dispensers at my workplace. I’m afraid that we are not diluting the soap enough. Do you have a recommendation for how much to dilute the soap for general hand washing for large batches?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Merry – I apologize for my delay. Our Liquid Castile soaps only work in foaming dispensers. Dilute the soap at a 1 part soap to 3 parts water ratio.

Sue Hamilton says:

Do you recommend a specific type of face lotion to use after cleaning with Organic Pump Soap?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sue – I apologize for my delay. The Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut lotion works great as a very light facial moisturizer.

Kirsty says:

I am trying to find a natural cleanser for my shoulder length coloured/highlighted hair and was wondering if Dr Bronner’s Shikakai soap would be safe?
Thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Kirsty – Unfortunately, the Dr. Bronners Shikakai (aka Organic Pumps Soaps) are not recommended for colored hair. All soap has an alkaline pH which causes the hair follicles to open and the dye to leach out. You’ll have to look for a mild shampoo that is designed for color treated hair. The Skin Deep database is a good place to look for non-toxic options:

Kirsty says:

Thank you Lisa I will check out the link you sent me.

Mark says:

Our house really loves the Shikakai (now “pump”) soaps – they are at each sink for hand washing. However, once in awhile, one leaks like crazy. It oozes out of the column of the pump mechanism (not the end where it’s supposed to come out) or from where the pump screws onto the bottle. I’ve tried making sure it’s really tight, but it seems to be a pressure thing (the bottle ends up compressed) and so I unscrew it a bit to relieve the pressure and have tried leaving it like that – but no luck. This looks exactly like the bottle I have trouble with:
Any ideas what I can do to stop it from oozing out? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mark – You’re not alone. It turns out we had a funky batch of the pumps, and they leak. We’d be happy to send you a new pump apparatus, or snag one off an old bottle that you know didn’t leak and use that. If you’d like me to send you one, please send me your mailing address. We are very sorry about that mess.

Mark says:

Thanks, Lisa. But that’s not at all necessary. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed I don’t get a bad one next time!

Eric says:

Are the Shikakai soaps still available? I don’t see them anymore on Dr. Bronners website.

Mimi says:


Another question. I would like to use the castile soap for hand washing for children. What is the best dilution for this? (1or 2 drops doesn’t work as it is too complicated for 4 and 5 years olds.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Mimi – A foaming pump dispenser for the tub works great with kids. Start with a dilution of 1 part soap to 3 parts water, but you might even want to try a more diluted formulation.

Colleen says:

What is the best thing to use with Dr. Bronner soap for taking showers? A washcloth, or a netted loofah ? Thank you

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Colleen- It’s all about personal preference. Dr. Bronner’s works great on both.

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

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