by Melissa Chichester
Anyone interested in skincare has likely asked the question, “what ingredients are in my skincare products?” These days, with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decipher one ingredient from the next. But there are many time-tested products that are made out of gentle ingredients that have been used for generations to nourish skin and pull double duty as a household cleanser. One of those products is castile soap.
Pronounced “kas-teel,” castile soap originates in the Castile region of Spain. Traditionally, castile soap is a hard, olive-oil based soap made with olive oil and caustic soda; however, it is also available as a liquid soap. Modern-day castile soap is also made with other oils, including coconut oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, and more.
The history of castile soap is very rich. Many believe that the Crusaders brought Aleppo soap to Europe in the 11th century. But because the city of Castile had access to olive oil, it became a hotspot for making soap. Where Aleppo soap was green because it required laurel oil, castile soap was white, which was a popular color that implied purity among Spanish dignitaries and royalty. It was also more effective than other soaps that were used for cleaning at the time and quickly spread throughout Europe. To this day, castile soap is still one of the best soaps on the market.
Because castile soap has a plant base, it is vegan. Another bonus is that it is biodegradable, which makes it an excellent choice for eco-conscious individuals. In recent years, its popularity has increased for use as a base for at-home cleaning products that can be made with minimal ingredients, which cuts down on the use of plastic waste.
Castile soap does not contain synthetic ingredients.Some of the products that can be made with castile soap include handmade deodorants, facial cleansers, room sprays, shaving cream, shampoo, and dishwasher detergent.
There are also skincare benefits to using castile soap. Because the ingredients are plant-based and singular ingredients, castile soap is suited for most skin types, including people with very sensitive skin.
Castile soap is very concentrated, so a little goes a long way when you use it. You do not need to use as much castile soap compared to others when you want to add it to DIY home and beauty care recipes. You can use castile soap by itself, or mixed with other products, like essential oils, and put a lot of mileage on your bar or bottle.
Check out some of our favorite uses for castile soap in our aromatherapy recipes: