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.

708 thoughts on “I Wash my Face with Castile Soap

  1. I just started using the tea tree soap as you recommended and so far it’s been irritating my skin just a little around the areas that I have pimples. Do you think it’s a good idea for me to continue using it? It’s only one side of my face that’s being affected, everything else is fine.

    • Hi Marieme- I’ve combined your questions here to respond to. It is likely that the area of your skin where you have already broken out is sensitive and irritated by the breakout. In addition to being super gentle with your skin washing (just use your hands with circular massaging movements to wash – no scrubbing), I have a couple suggestions. You might try only washing your face once a day with the Tea Tree in the evening and use a milder Castile for morning – the Unscented Castile is the mildest of all. Also, you may be more sensitive and broken out because your face is dry. That’s the case with me. It sounds counterintuitive, but dry skin is prone to break outs. So you would need to use a gentle moisturizer until your skin is healed and settled. Do you have one? I use the Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut, but sometimes I use a tiny bit of pure coconut oil at night. I hope these tips help.

  2. I have sensitive skin acne and eczema prone skin. What do you think is the best soap to use?

    • Hi Teri- We have received very positive comments regarding our Unscented Baby Mild Castile soap and Tea Tree Castile soap from our customers with sensitive skin, eczema, acne, and such.

  3. I have sensitive skin, and tried just washing my face with coconut oil I broke out bad. I know this has it in it but do you think I’ll have the same reaction. I was thinking of using the peppermint one but I don’t want my skin to react bad.. so should I start with the unscented one or the tea tree one ? Can I do a patch test and where at ?

    • Hi Meaghan- I’m so sorry you had that reaction! Our soaps are made from several vegetable oils, including coconut. However, the soaps do not contain relevant amounts of the actual oil. Rather, oils are saponified, that is, they are turned into soaps with very different physical and chemical properties. Soaps are highly water soluble (oils are not) and do not form the films that oils do and which may be comedogenic. Peppermint essential oil is intense and can be very drying. Because you have sensitive skin, try Unscented, as it does not contain any essential oils and is slightly more moisturizing than our other scents.

  4. I was inspired to buy the 18 in 1 rose Castille soap. I love the mild rose scent. Looks like I will have to give the tea tree a try. What’s the difference between using soap bars and liquid version?

  5. Thank you and the whole Bronner’s team for the amazing soaps. Your Tea Tree Castile is the only thing that seems to work for my skin type (and I’ve spent over half my life dealing with skin issues). I’m so happy I’ve found it and now I recommend it to everyone around me. Thank you so much!

  6. Hi there,

    Someone recommended Bronner’s soap, along with drops of oil of oregano and water for wiping my dog’s face after having eaten raw food. Can you recommend the ratio of soap to water?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Heather- The GIY Baby Wipes would be a good starting place for cleaning up after your pup. Find the recipe here: https://www.lisabronner.com/giy-baby-wipes-video/. Take care using essential oils on dogs. Because of their potency, they should be used diluted and then rinsed off. If using oregano oil around your pup’s face, touch base with your vet for a safe concentration.

  7. I used the peppermint on my face avoiding the eyes. Would peppermint clear the skin also?

    • Hi Scarlet- If the cause of your breakouts is naturally oily, the Peppermint Castile will help to dry it out. However, sometimes acne is caused by naturally dry skin that is producing extra oils to compensate. In which case, the peppermint essential oil would dry out skin too much, causing more breakouts. If your skin is normal to dry, the Tea Tree Castile soap reduces breakouts without drying out skin.

    • Hi Ora- None of our soaps will help to reduce dark spots. But, Castile soap will help promote healthy skin that is more able to heal itself. Protection from the sun by wearing hats, UPF clothing and sunscreen is really best way prevent future dark spots.

  8. HI, Lisa! Do I need to use another cleanser after using Dr Bronner’s to remove makeup? Just wondering if it is enough to just use one cleanser to wash face that is with makeup on.

    • Hi Yi- I find the Castile Soap removes my makeup quickly and easily in one washing.

  9. Great post! So I have very dry, sensitive, blemish-prone skin and a whole bunch of the peppermint Castile soap (I got the Costco 2-pack which will last for a while) and I noticed it was a bit too drying for me so what I ended up doing was mixing it up in a little dropper bottle with some plain jojoba oil and wow. My skin is GLOWING and clear after a week of using this, and feels so soft. Once I run out of the peppermint Castile, I plan to switch to a more naturally hydrating formula for my face that’s also good for blemish prone skin like the sugar soap or shaving soap in the tea tree scent. I just love everything Dr Bronner’s makes.

    • Hi I am currently having the same dryness issue with the peppermint Castile soap. I’m just wondering what how much jojoba oil you mixed in with the soap? Thanks!

  10. Hello,

    Is this safe to use under your eyes? The skin there is a lot more sensitive and prone to wrinkles


    • Hi Ann- Yes, our soaps are gentle enough, but do take care to avoid getting soap in eyes.

  11. Hello Lisa,
    I recently acquired the Dr Bronners Peppermint Castile Soap to be used as a shampoo and the result has been tremendously amazing, I’m still in awe. However, I was wondering if it’s also safe to use the Peppermint Castile Soap as a face wash. Many Thanks!!

    • Hi Valentina- Excellent! The Castile Soap is great for promoting healthy skin! If your skin is on the normal-to-oily side, you’ll like the Peppermint. If you lean towards the dry side, try one of our more mild scents, like Almond, Citrus or Rose.

  12. Hello Ms. Lisa Bronner,
    Using the unscented and tea tree soap has cleared away most of my acne! I am just wanting to know if it is safe to use 2x a day or should I stick to 1x a day with the soap if my face feels tight? Also which soap would you recommend to clear away acne scars that I have left? Thank you!!

    • Hi Myleena- It’s great to hear of your experience with the Castile Soap! It is safe to use twice a day. If your skin is dry, give the Organic Sugar Soap a try or use a light moisturizer such as our Organic Lavender Coconut Lotion. No soap will take away scarring, but with time and healthy skincare habits – keeping skin hydrated and using sunscreen – they will fade. Also, Castile soap helps promote healthy skin that is more able to heal itself, so you’re on the right track there.

  13. I’ve been using the Dr. Bronners Tea Tree liquid soap for a while now and its the only thing that has kept my face clear. I love it! Just curious, do you ever make an at home facial and if so what do you use? Was wanting to try something but unsure of what to use….thanks!!!

    • Hi Jenn- It’s great to hear the Castile soap is working for you! A lovely facial is to add 1 Tbsp. Tea Tree Castile Soap to a bowl of steamy water and use a towel to cover your head and trap the steam. Enjoy for several minutes, then follow by washing your face with cool water. This is great for opening up pores – and nasal passages as an added bonus!

  14. Hello Lisa,

    I’m thinking of using my unscented castile soap for my face. However, I use several benzoyl peroxide products after I wash my face every night. I’m not sure if they are able to or should be combined with the soap though. What do you think is best?

    • Hi Taylor- The soap rinses off completely, so there will be no interaction with the benzoyl peroxide.

  15. Hi Lisa my name is Sherrie, and my question is I have a T zone on my face that is very oily but then my cheeks are dry and under my eyes are dry and I get little pimples on my chin and my forehead do I need to use the Teatree for this? Or can I use the rose hemp castile soap I just bought? Please let me know thank you so much Sherrie PS I love your products

  16. Hello I been using Hemp pure Castile soap almond for 4 weeks now the first two weeks I noticed my skin clearing up and all of a sudden I’m breaking out again.

    • Hi Ale- There are many causes of a breakout, including diet, hormones and stress. Just to be sure soap is not the cause, keep on with the Castile soap for another 2 weeks and try to adhere to a healthy skin practice to weed out other causes.

  17. Hello I’m new to Bronners products, however I’ve been breaking out with the Tea tree one… is this normal? Will it go down? How much to dilute?

    • Hi Abi- Castile soap tends to dig down deep into our pores and bring stuff out. This can result in an initial breakout, but this will clear and your skin will better off for it. Give it about 2 weeks. Tea tree is gentle on skin, but if it doesn’t clear, give the Unscented Castile a try. Personally, I wet my face, lather up 2-3 drops in my hands, then wash. It’s a starting point, so use more or less as needed. Let me know how it goes.

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