Today I saw an ad for Castile Soap. Gosh, I had not used this type of soap for sometime. As a consumer with sensitive skin, I pay close attention to the ingredients in any soaps I buy for myself. Actually, I don’t buy commercial soaps any longer and I like to call myself a soap maker (craftier) now. This way I can control what goes into my soap bars.
I really love the clean feel I get from Castile Soap. But it is usually a low suds kind of bar soap so personally for me, I will put a bit of coconut oil in my bar to get that nice full lather. Still, even without the Coconut oil, I think you will really enjoy the wonders of Castile Soap.
WHERE DOES IT ORIGINATE
I am a natural born teacher, so I must give you a bit of history here!
There is evidence of a soap-like substance being used dating back around 2800 BC. It is believed the first soap makers were Babylonians, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, as well as the ancient Greeks and Romans. All of them made soap by mixing fat, oils and salts. Soap wasn’t generally made for the strict use of bathing and personal hygiene but was instead produced for cleaning or to be used for medicine purposes.
If you travel back to the Mediterranean and visit the region once known as Castile, which we now know as Spain, you will begin to understand where Castile Soap is thought to originate. Yes, the soap is named from the region where it was first created. This is the Mediterranean where olive trees are in abundance.
Many historians believe that the Crusaders brought Castile soaps to Europe sometime around the 11th century. At least that is the earliest recorded record of Castile bar soap being used by locals. However, there are some records in soap history that believe Romans were using it during the 1st century.
WHAT EXACTLY IS CASTILE SOAP
Castile Soap is made with olive oil extracted from the fruit of the olive tree. Yes, olives, shaken not stirred…. if you are a 007 fan you will get this reference!
When I think of olive oil, I usually think of my kitchen cabinet. There is always a tall bottle of extra virgin, smooth, buttery olive oil sitting on the shelf ready for cooking, mixing, and dipping. However, this is a blog about soap and not cooking.
I find it interesting that so many products in my kitchen actually cross over to soap ingredients. It really should not surprise me though as when you bake there are many ingredients that combine and change form, just as in soap making. The metamorphism of egg, flour, and oil turns into a cake. The saponification of oil and lye morph into soap! It’s just chemistry after all.
When I first started making soap, I followed the old recipe of my Grandmother. The ingredients included tallow (rendered fat or lard) and wood ash (lye). It made a strong Lye Soap that was used for everything from bathing to scrubbing floors. Not the nicest thing for skin.
As modern day techniques improved, vegetable oils, instead of animal fats came into play and the soaps began to feel nicer to the skin. People added fragrance and now soap was really special. A real treat to have.
In ancient civilizations, Olympians, pharaohs, and kings were bathed and anointed in such an oil, an oil that sits right on my kitchen cabinet! And as history tell us, Olive Oil was actually the backbone of the Mediterranean area. People relied on the Olive and it’s fruity oil for health and pleasure.
Making soap using olive oil is an old and treasured delight. It is easy and lathers well, and so very gentle on the skin. Let’s explore a little more.
MORE ABOUT CASTILE SOAP
The handmade soaps we see at the Farmers Markets or other types of festivals will look pretty and smell good. They are often called Art Soaps because of the pretty designs created by very artsy and crafty soap makers. But, olive-oil based soap is a white or light yellow soap. As it continues to harden while aging, it also stays white, rather than turning color like other types of soaps.
A true Castile soap is 100% olive oil and white in color. It is softer than other soaps as it does not have other ingredients such as coconut or palm oils that contribute to a harder bar of soap.
WHAT ARE THE BEST BENEFITS
Castile soap is considered a luxury soap, and I believe once you have tried it, you will agree. Castile soap benefits so many people, especially those with sensitive skin.
I feel that one of the most beneficial qualities of this soap is that it provides a balance for your skin. Some soaps will strip too much oil from your skin and others will leave too much oil after rinsing. Castile soap offers a nice balance and leaves your skin moisturized. It also removes harmful organisms like bacteria. This is my formula for a great bath bar.
If you have sensitive skin, you’ll likely want to avoid your usual store-brand soaps. Often these are full of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, yet you still need to cleanse your skin. Fewer ingredients in a bar of soap lessens your chances of suffering a reaction.
Castile soap is a non-toxic alternative for people who suffer from sensitive skin. Castile Soap traditionally does not have added fragrance or colors. that is a big plus for those who experience allergic reactions to added ingredients. It is really safe for all people, all ages, as there are no harmful chemicals in Castile Soap. For those who have a great sensitivity to harsh chemicals often found in products bought off the store shelf, this is a welcome product.
Castile Soap benefits anyone who suffers from eczema. Often soaps will strip the skin of all moisture. We think the term “Squeaky Clean” is a good thing, but once the natural oils are striped from the skin, the body will work too hard to replace these natural oils thus causing oily skin. The olive oil in the castile soap will soften and calm the problematic skin. No more dry, itchy skin.
Antibacterial properties are a natural when we speak of Castile Soap Benefits. For those suffering with acne, Castile Soap will help kill the bacteria that increases pain with acne. You won’t have to worry about drying out your skin with frequent washes, because the olive oil in the skin will keep your skin smooth, soft, and well moisturized.
Vegans and Vegetarians
Vegans and vegetarians usually want to avoid products containing lanolin, beeswax, tallow or rendered beef fat, and lard which is rendered pork fat. Castile soap is 100% suitable for you to use. Since it’s made only from olive oil, it contains no animal-based products that are often in many store-bought cleansers.
Its really no secret, but for many who have sensitive skin, there is no knowledge that Castile Soap benefits them. I sometimes get caught up in the Artsy side of soap making and forget that there is the wonderful, buttery, silky pure soap that will make my skin feel radiant and smooth. Ditch that itchy feeling and try some of this delightful soap… Castile Soap!
Happy In Bubbles