Castile soap, which originated in the Castile region of Spain, is an all-natural vegetable oil-based soap.
Pure castile soaps are genuine soaps – as opposed to the complex blend of detergents that we generally regard to be liquid soaps which often, in fact, don’t contain any soap whatsoever!
Here’s why you should always opt for the ‘real deal’ castile variety:
7 Reasons To Start Using Castile Soap
1. Natural and Free of Toxins
Most of the soaps we purchase today contain a myriad of toxic chemicals which wreak havoc on our health.
According to Dr. Mercola, putting chemicals on the skin may actually be worse than eating them! That’s because chemicals on the skin are absorbed into the bloodstream without any of the filtering that would happen if the toxins went through the digestive system. With unprecedented levels of exposure to such toxins, we don’t yet know the cumulative effects of long-term use.
Castile soap contains only vegetable-based ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, hemp oil and jojoba oil, along with water and essential oils.
Be aware that the term ‘castile’ is often used loosely so purchase from a reputable brand or check labels closely for chemical additives.
2. Often Organic, Vegan and Fair Trade
Castile soaps are generally far superior to their conventional counterparts in terms of the quality of their ingredients and their ethical and environmental impact.
As they are based on vegetable oils – as opposed to animal (tallow) fat-based soaps – pure castile soaps are suitable for vegans, although you should always check the label before purchasing.
The most popular brand on the market, Dr. Bronner’s, offers a certified vegan and cruelty-free liquid and solid castile soap. In addition, most of the ingredients are certified organic and GMO free, and have been sourced using Fair Trade principles.
3. Doesn’t Encourage Super Bacteria
Shockingly, liquid soaps which are marked as ‘anti-bacterial’ may actually encourage hard-to-kill super bugs. Many of them contain a synthetic antibacterial ingredient called triclosan – a chemical registered as a pesticide with the EPA.
In addition to animal studies showing that triclosan contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria, it may also alter hormone regulation, interfere with fetal development in pregnant women, and cause allergies, weight gain, inflammatory responses and thyroid dysfunction.
Even the FDA has stated that ‘there is currently no evidence that antibacterial soaps are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water’!
It looks like it’s best to stick with castile soap to keep your hands and home clean and germ free.
4. Lathers Easily
Many natural soaps don’t lather well – making for a decidedly bubble-free bubble bath. This is because these products usually shun the use of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a chemical whose primary function is to foam up.
There are nearly 16,000 studies in the PubMed science library relating to the toxicity of SLS. Animals exposed to this common soap ingredient – found in 90% of personal care products – experience eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and even death.
However, castile soap can produce a high-foaming lather without the health risks, thanks to its rich oil content. The potassium hydroxide converts the vegetable oils into soap and glycerin, meaning you’ll require less water for a lather than with traditional liquid soap. Castile soap will also foam up in either hard or soft water.
5. Safe for Babies and Pets
Due to their natural ingredients and chemical-free formulation, natural castile soaps without the addition of essential oils are exceptionally mild and safe for babies, although they should be kept away from the eye area as they are not ‘tear-free’. (Most tear-free formulations use a synthetic numbing agent – yet another chemical additive).
Both dogs and cats can also be washed in many of these unscented varieties which won’t irritate their skin or build up on their coats.
(Note that most essential oils can be toxic to cats so always read the label before using castile soap on your pets).
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