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.

Now, as for the cleaning action of the Castile Soap: Our soaps are concentrated. A little bit goes a long way – but don’t let that phase you. Use as you would any other soap, just less of it. Here’s my not-so-fancy routine:

  • Deep breath. Quiet. Alone time. Thinking time. (Fellow parents, you know what I’m talking about!)
  • Body: Apply a small squirt of Castile Soap on a wet cloth and scrub away. I don’t pre-dilute the soap, as I find the water present in the situation does the diluting for me. I’ve also found that prediluted soaps are, well, cold.
  • With the Castile Bar Soap, lather soap into wet hands or washcloth.
  • Face: I use 2-3 drops Castile Soap in my wet hands and massage into skin.
  • Hair: A good ½ Tbsp. of Castile Soap is enough for my long, thick hair. Use more or less as needed for your hair type, cut, and texture. After I have thoroughly rinsed out the soap, I dilute the Organic Citrus Hair Rinse by half in a cup and then pour it over my head, work it through, and rinse thoroughly. If I’ve forgotten to stock up on the rinse, I’ll use a dilution of half water and half apple cider vinegar instead. My husband and son use the Castile Bar Soap on their short hair, and skip the rinse. There’s no wrong or right way here. Do what makes your hair happy.

And that’s it. This is really all I have in my shower on a daily basis. If you’ve seen photos of my bathroom cabinet, you know I’ll grab other products when my skin is feeling dry (Organic Sugar & Shaving Soaps, and GIY Scrubs, I’m looking at you). But more often than not, it’s just one soap. Life is complicated all on its own. My shower doesn’t have to be.

Further reading

I Wash My Face with Castile Soap

12 Personal Care Ingredients to Avoid

Liquid vs. Bar in Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soaps

Warding Off Dry Skin with Dr. Bronner’s Soaps

Download Now!

Castile Soap Cheat Sheet

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


Download Now!

Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!


Leave a Reply to Toni Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Janet says:

Hi Kelsey,
Is your water softened or high in mineral content? For years I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s bar soap to wash my hair, but early on found that when I added Epsom salts to my bath, my hair was oily-like; I surmised it was due to the oils in the soap combining with the mineral or salt once it broke down in the water. Just a thought…

Kerrie says:

Hi Lisa

Could you please tell me why the hair conditioning rinse needs to be diluted before applying to the hair. Is it safe to use it full strength directly to the hair.


Nicole says:

I’ve just started using Dr. Bronner’s for shampoo and my hair is having a hard time adjusting. I cannot use the rinse because I’m highly allergic to citrus. What other options do I have? It would be nice for Dr. Bronner’s to sell an alternative, but I understand why they use the citrus to rinse the hair. Unfortunately, it is not an option for me to even try it. I am not crazy about the ACV rinses I see online. I ordered the hair cream (waiting for it to arrive) and see now that it is an after shower thing. Can I use this in the shower and rinse out?

Jamie says:

I am desperately trying to ditch commercial shampoo & conditioner.
I started reading about no-poo methods and didn’t feel comfortable with it yet, so I read about castile soap and decided to give Dr Bronner’s a try (with much excitement). I followed the many instructions the internet provided me and used the Dr Bronner’s and rinsed with ACV. I absolutely loved it… for about a week then my hair started being WEIRD. It began to get oily, heavy, stringy and stay WET for remarkable amounts of time. Now, my hair is long and thick to begin with so it staying wet for 7 hours a day then turning oily is ICKY!!!
I did some Googling and decided maybe I’m just one of the folks this isn’t a good solution for and I started to try a bunch of other all natural shampoos based with saponified oils and wouldn’t you know – I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM.
So, as I sit here with wet and oily hair asking please shed some wisdom on me!!
I am not exaggerating when I say that I have spent the last FIVE hours scouring the internet for answers only to come close with explanations of water being too hard or not using enough ACV or too much ACV… only to find a handful of comments on different blogs of folks having the exact same problem but no solution had ever come.
Please save me from having to go back to commercial SLS, chemical filled garbage!!!

Kelsey says:

Hi Lisa,
I’ve been trying out Dr. Bronner’s lavender castille soap for the last week and a half as a shampoo. I’ve been combining it with some coconut milk. My hair doesn’t appear to be damaged, but it is incredibly oily. I have fine, straight, oily hair so I was expecting a short oily transition phase, but is that usually the experience with Dr. Bronners? I’ve been using an ACV rinse once or twice a week, so I don’t think it’s a pH imbalance. When I tried no ‘poo with baking soda and ACV I had a similar experience, and my hair never stopped being oily for over 6 weeks, and I eventually gave up. Does this sound like a normal thing? How long should I be expecting this “transition” to last? Thanks!

elyse says:

Lisa, thanks very much! I took your suggestion and bought the Shikakai soap and have been using that. It does not go nearly as far as the regular soap (so I am using much more and it’s a chore to work it through and get all parts of my head) but it is SOOOOO soft and yummy. My skin loves it. My head is way less flaky (not totally free but essentially) and my scalp rarely stings when I put the acidic hair rinse in. Since I’ve been using Dr Bronners for a few months now I wanted to tell you in general my hair feels much stronger, very soft and it definitely curls more. I am able to go 2.5 days without washing it. (And smelling like sugary lemon grass isn’t a bad side effect either!)

Betty says:

Lisa, I am so in love with Dr Bronner’s… and I just read about these soaps about a week ago. I bought my first Dr Bronner’s Lavender Castile Liquid and Bar soap yesterday. I used the Bar soap this morning for my hair and my body… I am so pleased! I have been sulfate free for several years now, but am so excited to try an even better option for my hair!(and body) I have now ordered the hair rinse and some more soaps and balms. I have read you comments and blogs! You are wonderful! Keep up the good work!

Elizabeth says:

Hey Lisa Bronner, I am new to your website, just started browsing today and I was wondering if a homemade hair rinse works just as well as the Hair Conditioning Rinse & Creme? Due to the fact that I am on a very strict budget and can’t purchase any of the other Dr. Bronner’s products.

Sherry says:

I just bought a bottle of the almond and wondering if I should mix it with another oil for more moisturizing? Like olive oil. Is it drying at all?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Tiffany – I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t know exactly the process of perming. I would think it would be fine, but perhaps you could ask your stylist if it matters if your shampoo is an acid or a base.

Does any other reader have some background on this question?

Hi Elyse – I’m going to quote here from what the Dr. B’s Facebook guy wrote on this exact topic:

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.

My two cents would also be to consider the Shikakai soaps for your hair. They are much more moisturizing than the castile soaps. Let me know how this all resolves for you.

All the best,

elyse says:

Hi Lisa, I just started using the soap about a week ago (I use the bar soap — peppermint Castille) along with the hair rinse. The hair rinse works the magic like you said — though I only use one cap as that seems to smooth and detangle my hair fine. And when it’s dry I have the very light static-y hair that you said you got in the beginning (I wake up with an afro though I’m a white girl with mildly wavy/curly hair). So I’ll soldier on knowing that “this too should pass”. But the other thing is that I have lots of flakes coming off my head. It’s pretty embarrassing. I think it’s dry skin rather than dandruff (white, not yellow). What can I do about that? I started by using the bar soap as I thought it had more oils and would be more moisturizing. Yesterday I washed my hair and rinsed it very thoroughly to try and make sure it wasn’t any soap residue irritating the skin. But today I have the flakes again. I live in LA and it’s very dry in the winter.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Karen – I am so sorry for my delay in responding. The end of the year always runs right over me. The oily feeling left after the castile soap is actually caused by the hair follicles all standing up on the strands of hair. This is due to the alkalinity of the soap. All of the oils in the soap are saponified (turned into a soap molecule), so there aren’t any to leave a film on your hair. All that being said, Dr. Bronner’s soap doesn’t really work well as a shampoo without their Citrus Hair Rinse. This is an acidic rinse. If your scalp, though is very sensitive, the acidity may sting. If that’s the case, I have been reading a bit on using only baking soda to clean the hair – it’s more of a scouring, but I’ve read of some good results.

Hi Jessica – Again, I apologize for my super-delayed response here. You may have tried these options, but here are a few more suggestions- try the Shikakai soap or the bar soap instead of the liquid castile. The liquid castile is the most drying of those three options. Also, try putting a capful of the rinse directly on your very wet, rinsed hair and let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing it out. (And just to be sure – are you rinsing the soap out of your hair before using the rinse? Otherwise the rinse will react with the soap and produce oils). Let me know if you give these ideas a go and how it works out.

Hi Nancy – Thanks for sharing! That is a great tip. It is probably the Shikakai powder in the rinse that helps it work so well. We also use that in our shave gels.

All the best,

nancy says:

We casteel and love it.My granddaughter has exama so i gave a bottle to her mom and they use it with no problem.I use hair rinse not only after washing my hair with casteel , i use it like shave gel.Hair just glides off .(a tip i learned from tightwad gazzette many years ago) it softens skin and leaves a good feeling to skin.Also good for shaving faces. Just wait till you try it. Nurses and aids in hospitol were shocked at how easy my brothers beard glided off when i used it.they would not shave him he has such a tough beard. No nicks cuts or scraped skin.

Jessica says:

You responded to my question a couple of posts ago regarding the icky feel my fine hair has after shampooing with your soap, I have since tried your rinse. After 2 weeks of use my hair may be slightly improved in feel and texture, but barely noticeable and still intolerable. I have tried different proportions of diluted rinse to no avail, my hair still feels bizarre and looks super gross in about 12 hours. Also, I am losing A LOT more hair than before, I’m talking a handful, maybe the excessive rinsing?. Should I just totally give up? Or do you have another suggestion on how I can go “no-poo”? Thank you for all of your guidance and patience in this thread.

Karen says:


I have had severe hair loss and now have a very itchy scalp so I decided to avoid shampoos with SLS. At night I use an oil formulation for hair growth. I purchased the unscented Bronner’s soap and used it in a recipe I found. There is no additional oil in the recipe. I tried the shampoo but it did nothing to eliminate the oil from my hair even after the third use. I noticed the soap is made only from oils and it seems counterintuitive to me that it would work on oil. Please tell me what you recommend to work to eliminate the oils from my hair.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Andrea – The pure castile soap can be a little drying, especially on a scalp that has been used to the intense moisturization (is that a word?) of conventional conditioners. Perhaps using the Dr. Bronner’s Shikakai soaps would be gentler, or doing an occasional intense treatment of coconut oil massaged into the scalp – just 1/2 tsp. or so on the whole head.

I use the castile soap on my toddlers and I find that their fine hair doesn’t need the rinse and there is not residue build-up. My three year old has had her hair washed with nothing else. Her hair is soft and beautiful. Very occasionally, I dip my finger in the Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Rinse and rub it through her hair, but the acidity of that can be a bit intense for their sensitive skin.

Please let me know if you have further questions!

All the best,

Andrea says:


After washing with Dr Bronner tea tree for about a week plus with diluted ACV for the lower part of the hair (I have long hair) I find my scalp a little itchy. Could this be a result of residue built up and I would also need to pour ACV on my scalp to remove any build up? Would the Dr Bronner baby unscented liquid soap be better for hair? In addition, if I use it for my toddlers for their hair wash and if I do not wash it out with an ACV for them, would it be harmful for their hair in the long run since the soap is extremely alkaline?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Annie – If you had asked me for alternate uses for the castile soap, I could have written you a book. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any alternate uses for the hair rinse. Might you have a friend who would want to give it a try?

All the best,

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jessica – You have described your hair situation perfectly! I know exactly what you are talking about. This is the effects of a pH imbalance in your hair. It is not due to any residue. I know your hair feels like it is coated in goo, but it really is the follicles all over each strand sticking straight out. Think of a cat with its fur puffed out. The Dr. B’s Hair Rinse is specifically formulated to balance the alkaline pH of the castile and Shikakai soaps. You will not find this with another brand which are formulated to balance the particular brand’s shampoo. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) comes close. The first ingredient in the Dr. B’s Rinse is lemon juice, which is acidic and does most of the balancing work. It will not make your hair oilier. After you use the hair rinse (following the directions on the bottle), your hair will still not have that slippery feel as after conventional conditioners. That slipperiness is due to a coating that is left on your hair after using those products. However, after the Dr. B’s rinse your hair will be pH balanced and easily brushable. It will dry smooth and light.

Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes.

All the best,

Annie says:

Hi Lisa, after I had bought the hair rinse I realized I couldn’t use it on my low lights. Do you know of any other uses ? Thanks.

Jessica says:

Sorry to sound like a broken record… Regarding using your soaps as shampoo. I have tried both the shikakai and regular and both leave my hair with this bizarre, almost gummy matted feeling. Literally in a ponytail it will stick in pieces straight out all separated. I’ve tried both no conditioner and just a bit on the ends. Does your rinse or rinsing with cider vinegar get rid of that or is it just my hair type? I have pretty fine, straight, oily hair so I generally avoid conditioning of any kind except for on the ends. My concern is that instead of this bizarre film my hair will be oily if I use the rinse.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Katherine – for my hair, I don’t pre-dilute because I find that the amount of water held in my hair dilutes it enough. I use about 1/2 Tbsp. of pure castile soap in my hair. I pour it into the palm of my hand and then work it through my hair.

All the best,

Katherine says:

Can you talk about how much you dilute this for body wash and hair? I tried the 1:4 ratio yesterday and it works for the body but doesn’t seem to lather up on my hair at all.. Thank you.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Toni – I have heard other comments about similar scalp tingling. It is more important that the rinse be on the length of the hair and the ends, so perhaps try not working it down to the roots. (I know some scalp contact is stilll unavoidable, but perhaps this will reduce it.)

Thanks, Alexandria! Good tip!

All the best,

Alexandra says:

I just began to use Dr. Bronner’s in a foaming soap dispenser, and it works great! I’m using the Umbria brand(Amazon) which is sturdy enough for my children. Now it only takes a few squirts for them to wash their hair, and a few more for the body. I just got another for myself…highly recommended to control the amount of soap used(especially with little ones). Love my Dr Bronner’s. We’ve been using it for years…much future success. I hope to use this product for the rest of my life.

Toni says:

I have recently made the switch to Dr. Bronners and have used the rinse several times. My hair feels really oily too (I was reading an earlier post) and I noticed you suggested to use more rinse or leave it on for longer. The problem I have is the rinse really stings my scalp if I leave it on for too long. So I had cut it back to only half a capful and I just work it through and then rinse immediately. I will try leaving it on for longer and see if that works. Any other suggestions you may have? I don’t think I have been using the full combo of soap and conditioner for more than a couple of weeks yet. Thanks for your help!

Ryan says:

Hi Lisa,

I read somewhere that one should switch soaps every once and a while so that bacteria does not get used to a certain soap. Is this true? And if so, do you recommend switching to another fragrance of Dr. Bronners or even another brand once every Blue Moon? Thanks

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Ryan – I haven’t heard this. I guess it is addressing the concern of superbugs (antibiotic resistant bacteria), but I don’t know if it would be relevant to less destructive cleaners. I can only speak from personal experience on this one, and I have used the castile soap for many, many, many years and am very healthy and don’t seem to have a build up of bacteria.

All the best,

Rosemary says:

What a shame I can’t use your soap on my coloured hair. (I now use it for everything else.) It is not a permanent dye in my hair but a semi that washes out eventually. Can you suggest a natural shampoo that would do the job?


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Rosemary – The Skin Deep database,, is a good place to look for safe products. Try searches for “shampoo” or “shampoo color treated” or something like that.

Take care,

Alisha says:

After using the No-Poo Method (baking soda to wash, apple cider vinegar to rinse) and loving it, I tried Bronner’s Baby mild liquid and wasn’t too happy with my hair. But then switched to Bronner’s tea tree bar and it is awesome!!! I’ve started also using it for hands & face too. I’m very happy! I’ll have to try the higher concentration pf acv in water ss a rinse.

Samantha says:

Hi Lisa,
I’m always wondering in every blog post what the “recipe” or dilution is for the various cleaning products. What do you do for diluting the soap in the shower as…a body wash? Shampoo? rinse? Thanks!

Lisa Bronner says:

@Samantha – This isn’t an exact science, but here are a few, and feel to ask me for more specifics:
Shower – I don’t pre-dilute because then the mixture is so cold. I prefer to count the water on my wet washcloth as my diluter and add just a small squirt of soap.
Shampoo – 1/2 Tbsp. of soap in a cup of water, or lather this up in your hands and work through dripping wet hair.
Spray bottle – 1 quart of water, 1/4 c. of castile soap
Laundry – 1/2 c. soap in a large load of clothes

Hope this gets you started!


Janelle says:

I love your posts they answer a lot of questions that i had. I recently switched to only bronners in the shower and i love the soap and the rinse. I try to wash my hair every other day but i noticed my hair is very oily now. Do you think i should use the rinse less often? Or maybe a different soap? I am using the peppermint. But i just ordered the tea tree one. My hair is curly/wavy and i wear it that way usually. But i do straighten it occasionally and i notice how oily it is then and it was right after i washed it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much!!

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Janelle – I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but your description of “oily” makes me think that you might need to add more rinse to your hair. Try diluting the rinse less, or using slightly more of it. Usually the oily feel is from the soap’s affect on the hair follicles. I could be way off on this, so let me know what you think. The peppermint soap is the most intense, too, so trying another one might help. Tea tree is slightly less intense. You could back way off to the almond or citrus.

All the best,

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Rebecca – Wow! That is fabulous. Your word is much better than mine on this and I really appreciate your taking the time to write. I don’t know if Target will ever sell the rinse, but if you ever need a follow-up to the soap on your hair to smooth out tangles, try a dilution of half water and half apple cider vinegar. I’m so glad that you have found resolution to all these frustrations.

All the best,

Cheri says:

I have enjoyed reading through your posts. I have been using only organic products on my hair and body for about 4 yrs. now, and I’m so happy I stuck it out. My hair has actually grown about 6 inches. You are so right when you said that it gets better. When I 1st tried it, I almost gave up. I stuck it out, and now I don’t seem to have a problem with static in my hair either, as well as my hair being soft and thicker feeling. I love Dr. Bronner products, and also make some of my own shampoos with them. Keep up the great work =)

Rebecca says:

I have probably tried every product available for my face and hair. As a teen,I have acne, probably like most teens have and I could wear a thick layer of liquid and powder foundation everyday to “Hide” my acne, and my acne would not stop. My hair was a dandruffy mess and greasy. I was a mess. Every product I tried did nothing. Over the summer I went on a “mission” to find something to work. I went from topical acne gels, to nuetrogena and different dandruff treatments that did not work. I found the EWG Skin deep cosmetic database and switched to the most natural products I could find. I started using baby shampoos because I thought they were more gentle, but they really weren’t. I stopped wearing makeup on my face (like heavy powders and liquids) and my acne cleared up more, but I still had some. I started reading about natural oils and soaps that work and found gentle products online, but as a teen, I can’t order products online. Anything I buy has to be found in a store. I found Dr. Bronners Tea Tree soap in Target the other day and jumped for joy! I read about the adjustment period in might take but I have been using it for the past few days and I am beyond pleased. I used it for my face, body and hair. My skin felt healthy and my face did, too. I read somewhere that tea tree oil is great for acne and that it can help loosen dandruff, and that is exactly what it did. I feel clean, my hair at first felt dry, but this got better. My hair has a nicer feel, and it waves a little bit. I couldn’t buy the rinse because they don’t have it in Target, But Dr. Bronners alone worked wonders on my hair alone. I am beyond pleased. I don’t have acne. I don’t have a greasy, dandruff and build-up covered head anymore. I would like to buy the lavender, eucalyptus, or the peppermint one next. These soaps really lather well, I thought and I only used like 5 drops (I’m not kidding) on my hair and skin. I am so happy.

Lisa Bronner says:

@ Stephanie – I change my soaps with the season or even the time of day, too. I can’t take the intensity of peppermint first thing, but it’s perfect for an afternoon shower after a day of running after kids. Just a sidenote, though, regarding the almond soap and tree nuts: Dr. Bronner’s Almond castile soap is not made with almond oil, which contains trace amounts of cyanide. Instead the “natural almond fragrance”, which is how it is indicated in the ingredient list, is derived from the Cassia tree. The scent is very similar to almonds, but without any traces of nuts or cyanide. (I hope that clears up any concerns that Dr. Bronner’s uses any sort of synthetic ingredient hidden in the term “natural almond fragrance”. They don’t.)

@ Yung – Great question! I need to write a post about cleaning make-up brushes. I use the Sal Suds, and it works great. I prefer the Sal Suds over the castile soaps, or Shikakai soaps for a few reasons. Whether the brushes are synthetic or natural, the Sal Suds rinses off the bristles better, leaving no mineral deposits behind. Also, if the bristles are natural, the castile soap will have the same affect on them as they would on our own hair. Namely, it raises the follicles on the hair, and makes the strands rough and tangled and matted. You would need to follow with the hair rinse, but this too leaves moisturizers behind, which would interfere with the effectiveness of the brushes. To clean them, I work a drop of pure Sal Suds into the bristles of each brush. Then, I submerge them in water and rinse them well. I squeeze them dry with a towel and let them air dry for the day.

I hope you have found that the hair rinse makes a big difference on your own hair as well.

All the best,

Yung says:

Hi Lisa. I was wondering if I could use ur castile or any of your other soaps to clean make up brushes? Will you prefer them? Since I do have quite some expensive brushes. I thought dr.bronners soap is so safe for the body and everything even to wash vegetables. Will it be too harsh for the make up / paint brushes? Btw I’ve started to use ur classic bronner liquid soup and loves it. Except I’m trying to get use to it for washing my hair 🙁 It doesn’t make my hair beautiful nor shiny tho I think it’s probably healthier than commercial shampoos. Gonna try out the hair rinse and see how that’ll come out. Btw if I use it dr. Bronners soap to clean my brushes, will you prefer the rinse to? (leave in the brushes’s hair for couple minutes before rinsing them out etc. Or maybe just don’t need to wash them out.) Since brushes do go on the skin just wanna make sure if the rinse would be prefer.and also would it be better to try the shikakai or bar soap as well. Thank you very much and I love your soap 🙂

Sara says:

I use the hair rinse once a week or so. I have found that I do not need to dilute in cup, just run a small amount thru my hair with hands, then rinse, rinse, rinse. Works great and i use less.I have very long wavy hair… Love dr. B’s and have been using for 5 years now!

cyndy says:


Try eating salmon regularly. Also take cod liver oil, liquid washed down with something (oj or milk works). The fish oil works wonders for the complexion. I too have had skin problems, and the cystic type. I wish the doctors back then would have believed in diet. Lots of fruits & veggies, lots of water. Exercise also gets the oxygen to your skin. But fish/fish oil is a miracle. Wild Atlantic/Norwegian Salmon (for toxin safety) is the best. My mom also used to take Vit E for cystic breasts. She swore by it but the doctors didn’t believe in it. Maybe that would help with the face also. Do be careful of the amount of both of these vitamins. Do some research and talk to your doctor. Vit A can build up in your system and become toxic. Vit E you need to be careful of the amount taken also. I think that had to do with effects on the circulatory system.

Diet is so important though. Eat clean. Low fat, low sugar. Lots of fruits & veggies. You’ll find less oil on your face. Regular elimination is also extremely important in my experience. Gently exfoliate too. A baby’s washcloth is good for that. So much they didn’t tell us back then! Just meds.

Stephanie says:

Great blog post, Lisa! My “desert island” staples are definitely the Baby Mild bar soap and Hair Rinse (along with the Baby Mild Balm). But despite my desire to simplify and only use 1 or 2 products, I remain a “product junky” and love to switch around between the liquid Citrus soap in the morning (this is my favorite scent by far), Lavender in the evening before bed, Tea tree for occasional breakouts, Peppermint either on my feet or to cool off in the summer, Eucalyptus when I have a cold, and Rose just for fun. (I would totally use the Almond soap, too, if I wasn’t allergic to tree nuts- such a shame!). So, although “simplifying the shower” is a nice idea, my shower ends up being cluttered with a whole bunch of Dr. Bronner’s bottles and bar soaps! Oh well, at least it’s colorful and smells nice!

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi, Sarah,

I’m sorry to hear about all that you’ve been through to clear up your skin. On my face, I use the Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Tea Tree soap. I don’t use a wash cloth or any sort of scrubber. I find that it irritates my face more and makes me turn red. I just wet my face, use a few drops of the soap and lather it up gently all over my face. I do this twice a day. More than that will strip the skin. Be very careful what else you’re putting on your face – moisturizers, toners, etc. If you are allergic to certain preservatives or synthetic additives, these products would make it worse. If you can, put on as few products as possible – none preferably. If you need a moisturizer, try the Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Coconut lotion. It would also be good to keep make-up off your face as much as possible – if you need to wear it during the day, take it off as soon as you get home to give your skin a chance to breathe. Give this a week or so, and please let me know how it goes.

Hmmm. I think I’ll write a full blog about this topic!

Thanks for reading!

sarah says:

this is to Lisa and Mellisa, who posted on Nov 7th 2010 about skin problems. I suffer from cystic acne, at the moment i am on the Differen gel and anti-biotics, i also use the proactive and I also have a ‘pimple’ -i use the term loosely- the size of a 10 cent piece on the side of my face. I have been suffering from this since i was 13 and im now 25.
Can you please tell me what soap and how to use it to clear up my face. Please!

Leila says:

I too have just made the switch to nothing-but-bronners in the shower (& pretty much in the house too). I’m 33 & had never in my life had skin problems till the last year. After so many useless Dr visits, I finally found one Dr who cared enough to find a reason for my “unexplained, severe eczema.” We found out I’m allergic to fragrances & moreso, EDTA (also goes by many other names- I look out for any amines and eths), a preservative that is in almost every shampoo, conditioner, lotion, dishsoap & detergent (even those marked “free & clear”, “hypoallergenic” & “sensitive skin”-those are pretty much all a joke to me)

I got rid of all my conventional cleaning & hygenic products & now use nothing but BRONNERS BABY MILD in the shower. For my hair, I dilute it according to the bottle & follow either w/ diluted cider vinegar or the Citrus rinse . My hair is soft & smooth feeling & for the first time in my life I’ve been getting compliments on how HEALTHY it looks. I do my dishes with it (soap in the 1st sink, vinegar water in the 2nd for a rinse). I pair it with baking soda & vinegar rinse in my laundry. I even cleaned my wood floors with it this morning. It has been less than 2 weeks & my skin is showing drastic signs of improvement. Oh, yeah, the Baby balm also seems to be doing the damaged skin well too! I think this soap may have saved my sanity! Thank you for the truely magical soap, Bronners family!!

brita says:

Lisa, I just want to tell you how much a love your posts. As you know, we have been fans of your products (and family) for years and we have always had bottles around the house of various Dr. Bronners products. But I am very thankful you have taken the time to share with us how to use your products in ways I have not considered. Thanks again, for making the transistion to a non-toxic household that much easier and a little less overwhelming. Take care, Brita

Melissa says:

So far just using plain o’ Dr. Bronner’s soap and water has been the ONLY thing to clear up my acne. I have used EVERYTHING- Proactive, Neutrogena, Natures Cure, Differen and a boat load of topical creams and ointments from the Dermotologist, yet nothing has worked as well as chilling out on all the products and just using Dr. Bronner’s soap. Usually I use the peppermint because I like the way it tingles, but when things get a lil funky around ‘that time of month’ I switch to the Tea Tree Oil and it clears right back up. I would recommend this for anyone having problems with their skin.

allison says:

Great post! I wonder if the tea tree wash is effective enough for my skin because there is nary a day that I don’t have a breakout somewhere and I am TIRED of the dermatologist trying to get me on Accutane and giving me topical ointments and sometimes antibiotics (which I won’t take anymore).
Also, I want to add that certain castile soaps w/ certain essential oils (I’m talking about you, Peppermint! And probably tea tree & eucalyptus…) are NOT GOOD on certain bits of your body. That should be common sense but I always seem to learn things the hard way….

Amanda says:


And I saw an old friend from highschool, he gave me a big hug, and said, “Oh! You smell like you again!!” The only thing I’d changed was going back to Dr. Bronner’s. Apparently it’s a part of the makeup of my overall smell, which is a nice lavender-ey scent. And that makes me happy.

Amanda says:

When I was in high school, the only soap I used was Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap, which made me not dandruffy and in my opinion, when I used regular shampoos, I had more hair fall out then when I used Dr. Bronner’s which to me was a sign of how much healthier is was to use. Then I stopped using it for awhile, came back to it for the lack of hair falling out, no dandruff reasons, and

Jennifer says:

I’ve recently made the switch to nothing but Bronner’s in the shower. I do think my hair feels more straw-like but I’ve not tried the rinse yet. The first time I tried it, I said ‘no way’ and went back to my old products. As the weather has been getting drier and colder, my skin and scalp have been suffering. I did more reading on it and thought I’d give the Bronner’s another chance. It’s been over a month now and I have noticed that my scalp is not itchy anymore and my skin doesn’t look so dry. As long as it looks good and I’m not constantly scratching, I don’t really care how my hair feels to the touch. How many people ever touch it anyway?

Deb Frost says:

I love this post. This is exactly what I want to do and you have the experience to back it up. Thank you so much Lisa. I’m looking forward to what you have to share about hair, too.

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!


Print Now!

Bar Soap Cheat Sheet

Bar Soap aficonados, this one's for you!