Today, a lot of manufactured soaps contain a range of ingredients that often cause your skin to dry out or can irritate your skin. However, if you look at the ingredients of natural soaps, mostly handmade by independent businesses, you will realize that soap doesn’t have to be like this. One such type of soap is Castile soap. Castile soap is made with vegetable oil and not animal fat. It has a variety of different uses and a number of benefits.
History of Castile Soap
The history of Castile soap is sketchy, depending on which resource you read, but most sources tend to agree that Castile soap is the name of a soap that originated in the Castile region of Spain. If you go back further in time, you will find that Castile soap has its roots in Aleppo soap. Aleppo soap originates from the region of Syria, from where it made its way to Europe through the Crusades (1095-1291) (source). Aleppo soap dates back thousands of years.
Ingredients of Castile Soap
Aleppo soap is a hard soap that is made from olive oil, laurel bay oil, sodium hydroxide and water; other ingredients such as essential oils are often added to it (source). The ingredients of Castile soap are based on those of Aleppo soap. Today, Castile soap is made from a variety of vegetable oil ingredients but originally it was made from olive oil, with the exclusion of laurel bay oil, because early European soap makers didn’t have easy access to laurel bay oil, the other main ingredient of Aleppo soap from which Castile soap originated from. However, the term “Castile soap” is often used to describe a wide range of vegetable oil based soaps today so it is important to check the actual ingredients of Castile soap before buying it. Castile soap is available as either liquid or hard soap.
Uses of Castile Soap
Castile soap has a wide variety of uses, depending on the type of product that you choose. You can use Castile soap:
- as an all purpose general cleaner in your home
- to wash laundry
- wash your car
- to bath your pet
- for your baby
- for personal skincare.
Benefits of Castile Soap
Castile soap has a number of benefits over regular soap, due to its natural ingredients; its benefits are more or less the same as Aleppo soap, as both soaps contain similar ingredients. Castile soap is:
- kinder to the environment as it is non-toxic, unlike regular cleaning detergents
- is beneficial for a wide variety of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- is an excellent skin toner as it is nourishing to the skin
- gentle enough to use with your pet or with baby
- is relatively cheap, particularly if you dilute the product for use with pets and children
- is easy to clean with as it doesn’t cause skin irritation like a lot of regular household cleaners.
Quality of Castile Soap
Castile soap is made from natural ingredients, including olive oil which is rich in antiseptic, astringent and emollient properties (source: Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, Len Price). However, just as you should check the actual ingredients of the type of Castile soap that you intend to purchase, you should also check the quality of the ingredients. Olive oil is available in a variety of grades too, so the quality of the type of olive oil used in the making of a particular Castile soap will affect the benefits of the soap. Overall, Castile soap is one of the best natural choices for soap and has a number of uses and benefits over regular soap. Vegetable oil based soaps contain many natural ingredients that are both kinder to the environment – and to you!