Category
Body

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 promote healthy skin plagued with acne, eczema, psoriasis, and general redness. My recommendation was to wash with the Tea Tree Pure-Castile Soap, or to use the Unscented Pure-Castile for general irritation or for sensitive skin.

Now I can say from firsthand knowledge: this stuff really works. My skin has never been more resilient.

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 Castile Soap wasn’t introduced until my later childhood.)

I’ve 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 Castile Soap and lather it up on my hands. If you’re a Castile Bar Soap user, lather up the bar soap on wet hands or washcloth. 
  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.

Further reading

This use and many more are in my book, Soap & Soul: A Practical Guide to Minding Your Home, Your Body, and Your Spirit with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, available now in hardback on DrBronner.com or at your favorite bookseller, and as an eBook and audiobook (read by me!) from wherever you download or listen.  

Download Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!

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Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!

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Deborah says:

WAIT! Am I reading this correctly?!?! I can brush my teeth with Dr Bronner’s liquid 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure Castile Soap??????

Geoff says:

Hi Lisa, that’s a big bottle! How does one easily dispense a couple of drops from it?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Geoff- The small hole in the lid helps to limit the amount coming out along with a gentle tip, rather than a pour. Using a foaming pump dispenser is a great way to get around this though. A foaming pump injects air into the soap solution, giving you a nice foaming dollop. For the solution, use a dilution of 1 part Castile Soap to 3 parts water. This works in the shower too, although I recommend a plastic dispenser there for safety reasons.

Cynthia says:

Hi Lisa,
I tried your Dad’s soap after hopelessly using everything (rx’s included) for rosacea and the newly formed acne that comes with it at 58.
Nothing worked. But so far after just two weeks, my skin is clearing. It’s amazing.

Thanks so much. I signed up for your newsletter as well.
Cheers and well wishes,
Cynthia

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Cynthia- Super to hear that our family’s soaps are working for you! Dr. Bronner is actually my grandfather. His youngest son, Jim, is my dad.

Roshan Hardin says:

I feel so inspired, and spoken to in this article. I am turning 41 this month, and have embraced natural remedies for some time now, mostly in what we eat, and the products I try to make at home verses purchase from the store … which is actually how I came across this article, I was researching using castile bar soap for DIY Laundry Detergent, over using liquid which is in most recipes I’ve found … and then I saw it, your comments on clearing acne. I’ve had breakouts on and off since high school and am currently in the middle of one – I’m so over it. I quite literally just ordered Tea Tree Castile Soap from Amazon and can not wait to make it my go-to. I’m HOPING it’s the simple fix I’ve been dreaming of!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Roshan- I’ve been there with the skin issues and feel for you. I hope you find success with our Tea Tree Castile Soap. Let me know how it goes!

Amy says:

I’m 45 and had adult acne for about the last year. I had not been bothered by acne since I was maybe 15. The cleanser I had been using didn’t work anymore, and I was trying diff ones desperate for relief. I found this article and decided to try the Tea Tree bar even though the thought of soap on my face terrified me. Hallelujah! It has completely cleared my face and gave me my confidence back! I gave one to my college age daughter to try and I just got the unscented for my pre-teen to use since she’s beginning to like makeup.

Lisa Bronner says:

Excellent! I’m so glad the Tea Tree did the trick for you too!

Alison Wyllie says:

Is this cheat sheet applicable to the lavender scented castile liquid soap or only peppermint as shown in picture?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Alison- The recipes and dilutions in the cheat sheet are for any and all scents! We tend to feature our Peppermint scent the most because it is the original scent created by my grandfather and also our most recognized scent.

Stacey says:

Hi,

So, I just want to make sure I get this correct. I don’t need to dilute the liquid soap in water like I have been reading on other sites? Just 2 or 3 drops of the liquid on wet hands and face?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Stacey- Our soaps are highly concentrated, so I often do recommending diluting first. In the case of washing face, hands, and body though, the water in your wet hands and on skin skin will do the diluting for you.

Sarah says:

Castile soap has worked wonders for my face. In only a few days I was noticing it was a lot more clear and glowing. I just wish I found out about this sooner, because the face wash I was using before made me break out.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Sarah- Excellent! It’s so great to hear the Castile Soap is working so well for you. Thanks for sharing!

Stephany says:

Hello!
I am totally new to Dr. Bronner’s famous soaps. I ended up learning about these products in Pinterest.
I am not 30 yet (lol) but I deal with acne & of course, acne marks. I also have oily skin.
What would you recommend me to use for skin care routine?
Thank you!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Stephany – Welcome! I’m glad you found Dr. Bronner’s. I was about your age when I was struggling with adult onset acne. No fun. I always want to be sure everyone starts with the life habits that promote skin health, because if these aren’t in place, no skin care regimen is going to work well: eating whole foods, drinking plenty of water, getting adequate sleep, exercising, and relaxing. (I wrote a whole article about them.) For skin care itself, Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Pure-Castile Soap is my recommendation. Give it a two week trial. You may also need a light moisturizer. I like a bit of coconut oil at night or the Dr. Bronner’s Lavener Coconut Lotion during the day.

AM says:

Is the cocounut oil good to use as a moisturizer on my face and skin?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi AM – I find coconut oil to be a fantastic moisturizer for face and skin. However, though I use it regularly on my body, especially legs, it can be a little heavy for daytime on my face. I usually use it at night and only need it about once a week. There are so many different facial skin types and needs among us though. If this does not work for you, consider a lighter option with our Lavender Coconut Organic Lotion.

AM says:

I am the end of 60+ and end of “Menopause.” My daughter uses the Tea-Tree Pure Castille Liquid Soap on my grandson, and she uses you other products for her. I am new to this and would like your recommendation for which one is best for my skin, face, and body.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi AM – If you are experiencing dryer or more sensitive skin, I recommend our soaps with gentler essential oils (they all have their personalities). These include the Lavender, Almond, or Citrus Castile, or the mildest of all, the Unscented Castile. However, an even more moisturizing option is our Organic Sugar Soap, which is what I use when my skin is particularly dry and tight. I go with the Lemongrass Lime, though they’re all wonderful.

Ashley says:

I have struggled with acne for years and finally learned of the tea tree Castile soap. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! This is all I use for a face wash now. It has drastically changed my skin and my face has never looked better. I even go without make up some days. When I do wear makeup, this take it all off and my skin is so clean. This is a must for acne.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Ashley- What a great testimonial! Thanks for sharing.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi BJ- Yes, adding essential oils is a nice way to customize the scent. We also sell a Castile Soap that already includes tea tree essential oils if you don’t want to add them yourself.

Katherine says:

Why do use the tea tree soap? Would lavender work just as good? Please help me understand.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Katherine- I recommend Tea Tree Castile for acne-prone skin based not only my personal experience but a good bit of emerging research about the antimicrobial activity of certain natural-based plant oils against the antibiotic-resistant acne bacteria, as in this study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31889869/ However, if you’re using the Lavender and it makes your skin happy, stick with it!

Marie says:

I have to tell you that Dr. Bronners citrus bar soap has had an unbelievable effect on my husband’s acne type rosacea. It was an unplanned happy side effect of using the soap. The redness and acne on his cheeks and nose are completely gone after using this every other day. We are still in disbelief after months of clear skin. The soap was the only change he made, so we are confident it was the solution. Cheers to Dr. Bronner’s soap!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Marie- This is so wonderful to hear! Thank you so much for sharing!

Loribeth G. says:

I have had the same results my acne and red blemishes have gone away. Its my go to for my morning and evening face wash routine. I use the citrus Dr. Bronners bar soap.

About Lisa Bronner

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

Learn about my book, Soap & Soul!

Learn More

Print Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

Dilute! Dilute! OK! But how much? Print this guide!

DOWNLOAD

Print Now!

Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!

DOWNLOAD