What is castile soap

What is castile soap

Castile soaps are an amazing olive oil cleanser with some special benefits. Here’s what it is and why you should think about using this safe, hydrating soap.

Table of contents
What is Castile soap?
The benefits of Castile soap.
The best forms of Castile soap.
How to use Castile soap.

A few decades ago, our grandparents were satisfied using whatever soap was on the shelves.

But with the rise of the internet and an easy way to research, we’ve come to realize the hidden toxins lurking in most soaps, and our generation demands a better way.

Fortunately, a better way does exist in the form of castile soap. Read on to discover what it is and how it is safe and beneficial for all skin types.

What Is Castile Soap?

castile soap

Castile soap is a non-toxic, biodegradable soap traditionally made from olive oil, though sometimes it is crafted with hemp, avocado or coconut oil as well. It lathers and cleans just like “normal” soap but without all the toxic chemicals.

Castile soap is most likely the closest relative to the very first soap ever made. The ancient beauty queen, Cleopatra, demanded a better way to bathe, so her people created soap using oil from plants and plant ash.

Sometime after The Crusades, this style of oil-based soap made its way to Europe. One province in Spain known as Castile made the olive oil version of this soap famous, hence why we now call it “castile soap”.

8 Incredible Castile Soap Benefits

castile oil benefits

Since castile soap gets its cleansing power from plant-based oils, you not only get a deep clean, but you also get to reap all of the healthy nutrients found within. Don’t believe us? Check out these amazing castile soap benefits:

  • Gentle cleanse without the toxins. Virtually all soaps use toxic sulfates to get that lather we’re all accustomed to, but castile soap lathers naturally - no chemicals necessary. Most soaps are nothing more than strong drying agents, but castile soap actually cleanses and protects thanks to oleuropein - a compound with potent antibacterial effects.
  • Safe for sensitive skin. Since castile soap is made from safe, simple plant oils, it is considered safe for even the most sensitive skin types.
  • It can help oily, acne-prone skin. The oils found in castile soap penetrate pores with their antibacterial agents, helping clean your skin without drying it out. While it is more alkaline than we recommend, some people have success using it to balance their skin’s pH to reduce acne. We recommend using something balanced to your skin's natural 5.5 pH rather than overcompensating, but everyone's skin is different.
  • Smooth and soothe dry, irritated skin. Plant oils, especially olive oil, are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats help replenish the water level within the epidermis, resulting in supple, glowing skin. Plus, it doesn’t strip your skin’s natural oils, so no worries about dry, flaky skin.
  • Naturally hydrating. The process of making oil-based soap results in a byproduct known as glycerin, which most synthetic soaps filter out. That’s a shame considering glycerin absorbs water from surrounding air, working to moisturize your skin as naturally as possible. Fortunately, castile soap retains its glycerin content.
  • No gunked up pores. Made from olive oil, castile soap lets your skin breathe and encourages the natural process of shedding dead skin cells. While synthetic soaps can irritate and block pores, castile soap keeps them clean and clear.
  • Natural free radical protection. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A and E. Regular use of castile soap can help protect against skin cell degeneration and can therefore delay the appearance of wrinkles and accelerated aging.
  • Ease eczema, psoriasis & more. Nutrient-rich olive oil also contains a highly anti-inflammatory compound called oleocanthal. In fact, its anti-inflammatory action has been compared to that of Ibuprofen. As such, castile soap can help reduce inflammation - the source of many of our most bothersome skin conditions.

Best Forms of Castile Soap (Hint: Beware of Toxic Knock-Offs)

best forms of castile oil

The best version of castile soap is one that’s 100% pure. Now that doesn’t mean it can’t have anything added to it, but you need to look closely at the “other ingredients” listed on the label.

Some manufacturers are using olive oil in their soaps, loading it up with chemical additives and still calling it “castile” soap.

It’s okay to see additions like jojoba oil, plant extracts, hemp oil and similar natural constituents, but beware of hidden toxins like sulfates (SLS), triclosan and artificial fragrances or colors.

Castile soap also comes in liquid or soap form. Neither one is considered better than the other. It simply depends on your intended use of it and personal preferences. Keep in mind that the liquid versions of castile soap tend to be thin and watery.

But as long as you buy a quality brand that is 100% pure castile soap, you don’t have to worry about it being diluted. It just feels that way since it’s free from the fillers in other soaps.

Castile Soap Uses + A DIY Recipe

using castile soap

Castile soap uses are practically endless, which is one of its greatest strengths!

The number one tip we can provide for using castile soap is to remember that a little goes a long way. In fact, modern castile soap is almost always concentrated, so a little dollop can pack quite the cleansing punch.

One of our favorite ways to use castile soap is as a baby wash. Since it’s free from chemicals and harsh detergents, castile soap is the perfect way to bathe your baby. In fact, a 2008 report in Pediatric Dermatology found that olive oil was safe enough to use on premature infants due to its incredible gentle nature.

Pure castile soap is perfectly safe to use on its own, but it can also be mixed with any number of ingredients to form natural replacements for products all throughout your home.

More than just for your skin, castile soap can be used as:

  • Dish soap
  • Window cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Produce rinse
  • Pet shampoo
  • Makeup tool cleaner
  • Plant spray
  • Shaving cream
  • And so much more

If you go for an unscented form of castile soap, you can add your own aroma at home using your favorite essential oils. Other ingredients can safely be added as well. Some common DIY recipes using castile soap include adding water, honey, vegetable glycerin, witch hazel and more.

However, adding other ingredients shortens the shelf life of castile soap, so it’s highly recommended to create your DIY castile mixes in separate bottles and use them within a few weeks.

Also, avoid mixing castile soap with acidic items like vinegar or lemon juice as it can result in a white film being left behind.

Want to test out the benefits and uses of castile soap yourself? Try this super easy, all-natural facial cleanser:

  • ½ cup castile soap
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons jojoba oil
  • 10 drops of your favorite, skin-friendly essential oil

Mix it all in a 16 oz soap dispenser and shake to mix!


Few products are as versatile as castile soap, and the fact that it is completely natural with no chemical additives or harsh detergents? It’s a win-win!

When it comes to cleaning our skin or our homes, most of us are satisfied with just a simple clean, but castile soap goes a step beyond that. Instead of just cleaning (or drying out like most other modern soaps), castile soap lends its nutritive properties as well such as its antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and deep moisturizing effects.

Whether you want a safe way to bathe your baby, or you want a better way to soothe your skin and clean your home, castile soap has you covered.

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