Tried & Tested: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castile Soap
To tell you the truth, I’ve never been into “green” beauty products before. I had relatively easy skin, and I can use any body care from the random soap bar bought at a nearby warung to the pricey L’occitane body lotion without any significant effect to my skin. I didn’t suffer from extra dryness or patchy skin, even when I lived in a country with four seasons. For me, body lotion and body cream are items that I put only on the need basis, just when I feel that my skin needs an extra moisturizer. Natural or green body wash? I’ve tried several brands, but they are simply just a body wash for me.
But things changed when suddenly I developed eczema. I had dry, red, and itchy spots on my nape and ankles. Not a pretty picture, I tell you. Thank goodness the eczema didn’t develop on other body parts otherwise I don’t know how I would deal with them in Jakarta’s hot and humid environment. Some topical medications help to reduce and (for the time being) heal the dry patches but it serves as a wake up call for me. I need to take better care of my skin, as eczema can be worsened by the dryness of the skin. Stress and the environment are the common causes of adult eczema, but there are not much we can do about them, isn’t it? Therefore, the use of mild soap and moisturizer are the easiest at home treatment for this condition, and also the easiest one to follow!
I started researching online for moisturizing body wash for people with eczema, as most “regular” soaps are drying to the skin. My research brought me to Castile soap – a soap first made in the Castile region of Spain in the middle ages. While the modern Castile soap is not the same olive oil and animal fat mixtures used by the ladies of Castile, but on principal it is still an olive oil based soap without processed vegetable oil or petroleum based fatty acid. Browsing through different blogs and forum, I found that in general users have been singing praises for Castile soap as a gentle, versatile, and also environmentally friendly cleaning agent.
There are many brands of Castile soap out there, especially in the US. I decided to purchase Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castile Soap, simply because they are available from asos.com. The soap is available in several scents, and I ordered a lavender liquid soap (lavender happen to be my favorite scent) which was priced at USD 9.65 for 8 fl. oz/236 ml.
The soap comes in a plastic bottle with a label full of tiny writings. Dr Bronner, an eccentric in soap making industry, has been known to put his thoughts and philosophy into labels of his products. The instruction on the bottle simply says, “use a dash of soap,” and I find that about 8 drops into wet bath sponge provide enough lather to clean the whole body. The scent is mild and not cloying, which I like very much. Even though the soap does not use chemical lathering agent, I find that they have decent amount of foams when put onto a bath sponge. As Castile soap is recommended for many cleaning purposes, I also use it to wash my face (2 drops are enough) and my makeup brushes.
I used the soap exclusively for two weeks when I noticed how my skin has improved. It didn’t feel dry and taut after a shower, even without the use of body lotion. I really love how my skin feels moist and supple, all simply by changing my body wash to this gentle, natural product. I can vouch that all the changes in my skin condition is credited to Castile soap, as nothing else has changed with my body care regime and I still don’t use body lotion/moisturizer on a daily basis. The eczema has not returned, and I hope it stays away indefinitely!
Will I continue using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap? You bet I will. It’s been 4 months since I first use it and I’m on my 2nd bottle now. I find that a bottle lasts me for months (I still have some left in my 1st bottle) as I only need a few drops for a shower, so it is very economical as it is priced below IDR 100,00. Since asos.com provides free international shipping, I’m always on the lookout for sales as they sometimes drop the price of Dr. Bronner’s items. I got my 2nd bottle at 20% off and I even ordered another soap product from Dr. Bronner, but that’s for another review