Simplifying the Shower

One soap from head to toe. That’s it. I use it on my face. I use it on my body. I use it on my hair.

It’s a common question we get, whether the soap is OK for this or that body part. So much marketing has gone into specialty face soaps and body soaps and hand soaps. Then there’s the realm of shampoo – do you need volume today or moisture?

I used to have so many different products in the shower that the little built-in shelf was pretty much a joke. And as we added little ones to our family, the problem multiplied. We had kid soap and baby soap and my soap (body and face) and my husband’s soap, and then the shampoos and separate male and female shave gels. Now there’s just a bottle of the liquid Castile soap and the Organic Hair Rinse. Occasionally the Organic Shaving Soap if I’ve remembered to stock up on it.

To answer the question, “What’s this soap for?” I have to say, “Everything.” I may get a look that says I must be naïve at best or at worst a nut on the fringe. Maybe, but nonetheless, experience speaks.

I’ve bought the gamut of facial cleansers that are supposed clear problem skin. Nothing worked until I came back to using only Dr. Bronner’s (Pure Castile Tea Tree when it gets bad, but any scent the rest of the time). And I was a really hard sell initially regarding using the soap on my hair. I’m no beauty queen, but I do have some vanity, and I thought washing my hair with soap would leave it frizzy and dull. But my hair is strong and healthy. (I wrote about my switch from shampoo to soap in another blog post, but I want to mention here that you do need the Organic Hair Rinse.)

I’ve already blogged about my switch to the Unscented Castile soap for my baby. My older kids are washed head to toe with it, too. It’s a lot easier on them as they learn to wash themselves. Hand them one bottle or bar and off they go.

I use the Organic Shaving Soap, when I have it on hand, which is about 50% of the time. It lathers more quickly and thickly than the Castile soap. And it is more moisturizing. It’s a nice treat when I’ve remembered to grab some. When I don’t, though, the Castile soap works well, although requires a bit more effort.

So our skin is clear, our hair is healthy. No one has dry skin or funny fragrances. It’s a whole lot more efficient just to grab one bottle – and a lot less to think about in the morning.

160 thoughts on “Simplifying the Shower

  1. My husband and I absolutely love the organic sugar soap in the shower. We also bought the citrus liquid castile soap. So far I used it twice in an Epsom salt bath and each time the soap immediately turn to solid, greasy residue. The first time i used about 1oz of the castile soap, 1 cup of Epsom salt, 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar and couple drops of essential oils. I thought that perhaps the vinegar caused the soap to harden, so the second time I skipped the vinegar but the same thing happened. There were solid greasy flakes floating in the tub and my skin was covered in oil and so was my tub. What am I doing wrong? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Joanna- I’ve been doing some research on this and learned something new. I didn’t realize that Epsom salt (or magnesium sulfate) is acidic. Castile soap, on the other hand, is alkaline. When the two were mixed in those quantities – a small amount of soap to a relatively large amount of Epsom salt – the pH of the Epsom salt overwhelmed the soap and reversed it. What you noticed were flakes of oil. The vinegar, which is also acidic, accelerated this reaction. Castile soap and Epsom salts are both great ingredients – but it turns out they are not great together. Thank you for asking this question!

  2. Hey i was wondering for a body wash do i have to dilute it if im wetting my body first? I was going to put it on my sponge and can i pour a good bit on my sponge to wash instead of a little bit.. and for my face can i just wet my face then add the soap?
    Which soap is best for dark spots for the body?

    • Hi Taaisa- A small squirt on wet hands, body or sponge is all the diluting our soap needs. None of our soaps will help to reduce dark spots. However, 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 are really the best way to prevent future dark spots.

  3. Hello,

    I have extremely sensitive skin- can you tell me which soap would be good for eczema skin?

    • Hi Tracie – I haven’t tackled eczema myself, but 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 and such. I also recommend our Unscented Organic Magic Balm (https://shop.drbronner.com/organic-magic-balm) to soften dry patches.

  4. Is there a safe and effective way to use the Castille soap as a feminine wash?

    • Hi Heather- The Unscented Castile or one of our more mild scents, such as rose, are gentle enough. For an external wash, use a couple of drops and rinse well. As a douche, the concern is that the soap has an alkaline pH and disruptions to the natural pH can be problematic. Also, rinse thoroughly as any leftover soap can be very drying and ultimately irritating.

  5. Can I use tree tree castille liquid soap on highlighted hair?
    Sometimes it is a tint and sometimes bleach.
    Would I need to water down for my acne prone skin and Hair and use the
    Diluted citrus rinse?..
    I new to this and desperate to use the products 🙂

    • Hi Rachel- Glad you found us! The Castile soap can be used on highlighted hair, but not with low lights. The alkalinity of the soap opens up the hair follicles, where the color resides. The color will drain out and fade quickly. For hair, you do need to follow with an acidic rinse – either a 50:50 dilution of water and apple cider vinegar or the Organic Hair Rinse. It does take time for hair to adjust from conventional shampoo to soap. For face and body, simply use a small amount in your hands or washcloth. The Castile soap “cheat sheet” will be of help to you: https://www.lisabronner.com/dilutions-cheat-sheet-for-dr-bronners-castile-soap/.

  6. Hi Lisa, summer is around the corner, as well school lice infestation, do you have any suggestion? I heard Tree tea essential oil keep those annoying bugs away .

    Thank you

    Amelia

    • Hi Amelia- Oh yes, lice is one of the nastiest four-letter words in my house. Grocery store chemicals just don’t work. I’m a fan of physically combing out nits (try the Nit Free Terminator Comb) or visiting a lice salon – because you’ll end up there anyway. Once you’ve done those things, some people have found that washing hair with Tea Tree Castile soap and using a very small amount of coconut oil in the hair can keep lice at bay.

  7. Hello, I just recently purchased the hemp citrus soap, a month or two ago. My skin has been feeling dry and slightly irritated. Not sure if my skin is irritated and dry because of the soap or something else. However, my shower is very dimmed and I cannot see how much I am actually pouring onto my loafa. If you could provide me with another way to make sure I am diluting it enough (i.e. a ratio of what to pour into a jar, or a mixture with something that will help moisturize while still cleaning my body), that would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Gaby- I’m glad you’re giving the Castile soap a try! Some customers find that putting the Castile soap in a foaming pump dispenser at a dilution of 1 part soap to 3 parts water works well in the shower. It might be that you have dry skin, as is common during these winter months (that is, if you’re in North America). In this case, the Castile Unscented soap omits essential oils and instead has double the olive oil, adding extra nourishment for the skin. For even more moisture, the Sugar Soaps have white grape juice and organic sugar added, which are natural humectants and draw moisture into the skin. It also comes with a pump dispenser, which is convenient for the shower.

  8. Is the Organic hair conditioning rinse suitable for color-treated hair? Also, is the liquid soap suitable for
    color-treated hair? Thanks much
    Nannette

    • Hi Nannette – The Hair Rinse is safe for color treated hair, but not the liquid Castile soap. The alkalinity of the soap opens up the hair follicles, where the color resides. The EWG Skin Deep Database at https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ can help you to find a color-safe shampoo.

  9. Such excellent information. I have recently changed to organic in every way possible. My husband and 10 year old daughter have terrific allergies and sensitive skin. We love the Lavender Castile soap and have had no problems at all switching over to it. I am so thankful and excited to have found Dr Bronner’s soap and now this fantastic website with so much information. Thank you for educating us. Jut wanted to clarify something from the previous post about the hair rinse. What I understand is that you can use the ACV rinse after shampooing with Dr Bronner’s Castile liquid soap OR use Dr Bronner’s hair rinse. One or the other for those of us with hard water. Is this right? I much rather use the hair rinse than a vinegar rinse. Not a fan of the smell of vinegar particularly.

  10. I just received my first bottles of Tea Tree. Used it head to toe in the last two showers – no issues. I’m curious about the rinse for hair – is it primarily for tangle purposes? I’ve used a spray leave-in olive oil conditioner so far.

    Also – would it be fine in an Epsom salt bath?

    • Hi Denise – Glad to hear you’re liking the Castile soap! While not true for everyone, many people find the soap leaves their hair feeling tangly and matted. This is because the outside of our hair is made up of cuticles: layers of cells that lay over each other like roof shingles. Washing with our soaps disturbs these cuticles but an acidic conditioning rinse tamps these cuticles back down. Our organic conditioning rinse is designed for this, but others use diluted apple cider. And yes, you can certainly use our soaps in a bath with Epsom salts!

  11. I would like to quit buying shower body wash and use a pre-diluted mixture of the Dr Bronners Peppermint soap in my present hand pump bottle. We have a water softener. What dilution should I use?
    Should I use a different dilution if I want to replace my hair shampoo also with it?

    • Hi Eric & Marilea – We don’t recommend that you put the Castile in a regular pump dispenser because it tends to clog and squirt out in unexpected directions, even if you dilute it. However, it does work well in a foaming pump dispenser diluted at a ratio of 1 part soap to 3 parts water. I personally don’t dilute it for my hair, but you can start by pre-mixing it with 1/2 tsp to a cup of water and then tweak from there to add more or less soap, depending on your preference.

  12. Hello,

    I brought the peppermint and tea tree liquid soap but did not dilute. I use about 3-4 drops on my wash cloth and then the water from my shower (about a handful). The soap feels like it is burning my skin, I believe I have given myself the equivalent to a chemical burn. My neck in particular now is very sore and red also under my arms. Should I have diluted the soap in a different bottle (i.e. 3-4 drops in a 16oz bottle and fill the rest with water)?
    Please advise!!

    • Hi Nacola – I am so sorry that happened to you. It sounds quite painful. Peppermint in particular is quite an intense essential oil and some people are more sensitive to it than other. Our more mild Castile soaps would be Almond, Citrus, Rose and Unscented. If you do give one of those a try, I would suggest diluting it during the first few uses or testing it on your inner arm with just a drop to see how you tolerate it. Another reason for the reaction could be an allergic response to one of the ingredients, which are listed on the bottle.

  13. Would distilled white vinegar work the same as apple cider vinegar for rinsing? I’m curious what properties make ACV different and (I assume) superior. Thanks for all the great info!

    • Hi Sydney – I’m glad you asked this question. Both types of vinegar will have the same effectiveness, however, most people find the ACV to be more pleasant smelling than regular distilled. Regardless of what type of vinegar you use, what is crucial is look for vinegar with 5% acidity or a 5% vinegar, as that’s best for rinsing.

    • Thank you so much for the information, Lisa! I actually prefer the smell of white vinegar so I’m happy to receive confirmation that it can be substituted!

  14. hi i suffer from light butt acne (so embarrassing and quite uncomfortable) i was wondering if i can use it on that and which one you would recommend for it?

    • Hi Monica – Tea Tree Pure-Castile soap is great at clearing up and balancing out problem skin. Give your skin about two weeks to adjust to the change.

  15. My daughter has keratosis pilaris and needs to constantly moisturize her skin. Would you recommend diluting with water and a natural moisturizing oil like coconut? If so, what would be the ratio?

    • Hi Efel – Our soap has natural oils in them that are nourishing for the skin. I’d suggest giving our Coconut Lavender lotion a try.

    • Hi Michele – I am so sorry to hear that. I know they can be quite painful. While our soap cannot offer a full treatment plant for boils, the Tea Tree Castile or Eucalyptus Castile are both good options for keeping the area clean, and have the antimicrobial properties to help contain them.

    • I love Castle Soap! Concerning Boils:
      My entire life I suffered with boils, canker sores, and eye styes. Several years ago, a friend suggested I drink parsley tea. I did it and have not had even a hint of any of these awful things since! I made a full pitcher and started drinking it in the morning and finished it before I went to bed. The first few sips didn’t taste good as parsley has such a pungent taste. However, after those first few sips, it was in my sinuses and wasn’t so strong. The more I drank, the more I craved it!

      Here is the simple recipe:
      1) Boil 1 Bunch of Organic Parsley for 5 minutes. (If not organic, you can wash in a large bowl of water with one ounce of hydrogen peroxide, then rinse.) Lisa Bronner, is there a soap that would wash non-organic parsley?

      2) Throw parsley away and pour tea into a 2 quart container and add cold water to fill.

      3) Drink the 2 quarts of tea throughout the day. Do not store over night.

      Occasionally, if I feel my lymph nodes are sore… or I’m just craving some parsley tea, I will boil just enough for a cup in the morning or before bed. I now find it yummy and all those blood-related issues are in the past.

      I pray you will try this and it you will benefit as I have.
      Blessings,
      Theresa

  16. Hello Lisa, I was wondering about the use of Dr. Bronners as a shampoo in places with hard water, I’ve read that the soap can react with the minerals in the hard water and become a problem in the scalp. What do you suggest to minimize the deposits caused by the soap plus hard water on the scalp?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Paula – Vinegar is the needed element when shampooing in hard water. I have hard water myself, and the acidity of the vinegar after I rinse out the soap gets rid of any minerals and makes my hair very smooth. I use a 50% apple cider vinegar solution. I use about a cup after I’ve rinsed out the soap. I let it sit a few moments and then rinse the vinegar out too.

  17. 18 in 1 hemp peppermint pure Castile soap, can I put it in a hand soap dispenser? Do I have to dilute or is it ok straight in and it dilutes when washing your hands in water?

    • Hi Louise – We don’t recommend that you put the Castile in a regular pump dispenser because it tends to clog and shoot out fast in unexpected directions, even if you dilute it. However, it does work well in a foaming pump dispenser diluted at a ratio of 1:4.

  18. Is the Tea Tree soap the best to use for body? I use the bar currently because I am confused on the measurements for the liquid. Can the liquid go in a plastic bottle? what are the measurements for soap and water mixture?

    • Hi Sandy – You can use whichever scent you like best for body washing. They all have the same castile base but differ on the essential oils. I’m usually in the mood for Almond or Citrus, but many swear by the Peppermint, and I think every scent has its own set of admirers. Go with the TEa Tree if you’d like. I don’t predilute the soap before the shower, because the water present in the situation dilutes it (and the dilutions are always cold!). I use a wet wash cloth and put a small squirt on it and wash away. The soaps are perfectly safe in plastic bottles.

  19. Hey, is it a good idea to put the soap in a lathering dispenser and dilute it sightly for body wash? thanks

    • Hi William – The soap does work well in a foaming pump dispenser. Dilute it at a ratio of 1:3 with water.

  20. So I’m still somewhat confused on exactly how much soap to use for my body, my scalp, and my laundry. I’m going to be traveling for a few years and I need to limit how much I can carry.

    A) exactly how much should I use for washing my body? I’m experimenting with different soaps to choose a 1-soap for everything. Is it like a cap full, or a quarter-sized amount in my hands? Does it have to be in a wash cloth?

    B) same question for cleaning my scalp. Does it absolutely need to be diluted, or can I squirt some in my hand, like a dime or quarter sized amount, and clean normally and rinse with water? Is the rinse absolutely necessary, or can I skip the rinse all together?

    C) same question for washing my clothes. I use a scrubba wash bag (dry bag) to wash my clothes. How much should I use for that? Is it necessary to use vinegar to rinse the clothes, or can I skip that and just use the soap and rinse with water?

    I can send pictures of what I’m using to give some frame of reference.

    Appreciate the timely response!

    • Hi Ryan – I apologize that this is a week later! I hope you haven’t left on your trip yet. I can save you the thought process and just tell you that the Castile soap is the one soap that can do it all and is exactly what you should carry on your trip. If you need extra convincing, though, I’ll answer your questions more specifically! I use a wash cloth so that I don’t use any soap running through my fingers, but it certainly isn’t necessary. In terms of measurement, I would say I use half a capfull of the 8 oz. cap. That works out to probably 1 tsp. For my hair, I apply it straight on my hair. My hair is pretty long (see pic above) and it takes probably another teaspoon of soap to get it all. My son, who has a buzz cut, just uses a few drops. You can triangulate from there if your hair is somewhere in between. My son does not use any sort of rinse and his hair is fine. I do, otherwise my hair would be pretty tangled. I don’t know how big your scrubba wash bag is, so maybe start with a couple tablespoons of the castile. You can rinse with just water. The vinegar is to help soften clothes, but that may not be a priority here. You also may want to consider the bar over the liquid. For traveling it has a couple benefits: it can’t spill, it’s more concentrated (only 5% water content vs. 63%), less wasted through loss, only a paper wrapper which is compostible. You can scrub hair, body, and laundry with it. For laundry, you might just shave off some slivers into the laundry bag with some water and let it agitate.

      Safe travels!

  21. Dr B was my inspiration to make my own liquid and bar of soap. I didn’t regret that I did because I enjoyed making it as well as using it.

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