Castile Soap a Great Alternative to Harsh Shampoos

Some time ago we did an article that highlighted some of the harmful ingredients found in hair products. In that article we learned that sodium lauryl sulphate is so harsh that factory workers have to cover all exposed skin or risk developing health problems. This ingredient is mainly found in shampoo and causes the suds that we are so fond of when we are lathering our hair, unfortunately it is not a very good product to use on your body or heads. Today we look at a very good alternative to shampoos containing sodium lauryl sulphate.

Those who want a sodium lauryl sulphate shampoo can consider using castile soap. Castile soap is not a brand but a soap that is made of vegetable oil and lye (used instead of animal fat). The most prominent oil that is used in castile soap is olive oil. The soap itself is made in a manner similar that used in the Castile region of Spain, which is where the name originated. Castile soap is not to be confused with brands such as Kirk’s Castile Soap or Castile Soap with Cocoa Butter.

Because castile soap was originally made with a 100% olive oil, persons are skeptical whenever any other oil is used to make the soap. But not to worry, many other vegetable oils are safe substitutes for olive oil. They include coconut, jojoba, hemp and almond oil.

Why is Castile Soap Different from other soaps?

One of the main advantages that castile soap has over many others is the fact that it is biodegradable, which means that it does not produce as much harmful waste as regular soaps. It is also gentle on the skin too; gentle enough that mothers usually use it as the first soap for their babies. It is a very versatile soap as well and can be used in body washes and shampoos. When used as a shampoo you can add herbs and essence oils, as you like. A cautionary note though, when you are using essence oils a little goes a long way, so be stingy as using too much can cause skin irritations.

Where can I get castile soap?

You can get castile soap from specialty stores or at online retailers who cater to consumers who likes to use natural products, better yet; you can make it yourself. Making liquid castile soap is a bit technical but there are recipes posted online and step-by-step instructions if you are so inclined to do it for yourself. Personally, I think it is much easier to buy it in bulk and to try it with different essence oils and herb combinations.


Cristiani Richard S., Perfumery and kindred arts: A Comprehensive Treatise on Perfumery, 1877, H. C. Baird, pg- 281-284


  • Ronnell Armbrister said:

    Is castille soap harmful to the hair or skin in any way? can you use it for face washes? What are the cons of using castile soap?

    • Brenda Barrett said:

      As far as I know it is not harmful. I have been using it for years for everything! Yes it can be used as a face wash. Con- if the water is hard it can leave a residue on your hair (makes it feel sticky). A rinse with some apple cider vinegar will rectify that leaving your hair super soft. You might not want to even condition your hair 🙂

  • shreya joshi said:

    Hi.. i stay in India.. now can u tell me where can i find this soap.. from the past 1 month i m experiencing extreme hairfall.. earlier i also suffered from psoriasis on my scalp but from 2 months its not there from use of specific medicines.. please advice as to what routine to follow.. i m not using those medicines now but if d scalp condition gets worse then i might have to use it… the medicines are halox lotion and Ionax T shampoo.. i want to switch to natural products for healthy hair.. i have normal hair type.. bordering dry in winters.

    • Brenda Barrett said:

      Hi Shreya,
      I have no idea where you could find Castile Soap in India. My best suggestion is for you to get it online.

    • Waseema said:

      Hi shreya,

      i make cold process Castile soap @ home. i have a new batch thats curing right now and it would be ready for use by march end. Do letme know if you would be interested.(call me @ 8095426622)


      • Brenda Barrett said:

        Hey Waseema,
        I am planning to so some this summer myself. I hope Shreya sees your post.

      • Parul Sharma said:

        Hi Waseema

        Kindly contact me at the email address below. I need liquid castile oil for personal use for homemade scrubs.
        Can I reach you at the number above given above.

        Parul Sharma

    • Ameena said:

      Try they ship all over the world. Love their products, I don’t use anything else 🙂

    • Khadija said:

      I use 1 T. baking soda to one cup of water, pour it swloly over head then scrub scalp; rinse. Then 1 T. vinegar to one cup of water, pour it swloly over head then run fingers through hair; rinse. Then 1 T. honey to one cup of water, pour it swloly over head then run fingers through hair; rinse. I keep a plastic jar with lid in the shower, a small bottle of honey, a small bottle of vinegar, and a? small plastic jar of baking soda, so I can quickly mix and use. Results: shiny and gorgeous hair!

    • Shreya said:

      Hi Shreya!
      I hope you managed to source Castile Soap in India.
      We manufacture the same and many other bath & body products under the brand Burst Of Happyness.
      You can view our castile soap at
      Please feel free to mail me at for any queries
      Burst Of Happyness

  • Aloka said:

    Hi, I was looking for Castile soap in india too and I stumbled upon this. Btw this is a great recipe for natural shampoo using liquid Castile soap.

  • Christine said:

    Is Castile soap better than African black soap (in liquid form) as a shampoo?

    • Brenda Barrett said:

      Hi Christine,
      They use similar methods to get the same results. No there is no big difference. This summer I will post the soap making process on this site so that you can see how easy it is to make your own soap.

  • Vaulery said:

    Dear Brenda! Thanks for the information you share here. It is great and very informative. I have one question. I recently started using Castile soap on my hair and I love it. After a relaxer is it advisable to use Castile soap on the hair or the usual neutralizing shampoo?

    Thanks for your response!

    • Brenda Barrett said:

      Hi Vaulery,
      You are most welcome. Always-always-always use the neutralizing shampoo. Then you can use your regular shampoo. The neutralizing shampoo is at a higher pH to close the hair cuticles and stop the hair from processing. It is at roughly the same pH as vinegar. So you can use vinegar instead.

  • Jhansi said:

    Yes we can too provide castile soap and other hand made soaps. If there any interest please contact 9880052859.

  • chandni said:

    hii..i m from india..unable to find castile soap..can i know from where i can find it..or an method to prepare at home..!!

  • darceline said:

    Hi Brenda, is it okay if i use an anti dandruff shampoo because I’ve noticed that my scalp is full of dandruff. Would the shampoo cause my relaxed hair to fall out?

    • Brenda Barrett said:

      Hi Darceline,
      Be very sure that you have dandruff and not dry scalp. They are two different conditions, if you use an an anti dandruff shampoo and you have dry scalp it may not do anything for your condition and it might cause shedding too.

  • ShivaD said:

    I would not use castille soap. It suds a lot (which somewhere else on this blog lists as a bad quality) and is EXTREMELY alkaline (along with baking soda). Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is best for your hair. Talk about a stripping detergent.

    • Brenda Barrett said:

      Hi ShivaD,

      You are right it has a pH of around 8 to 8.9. When diluted with water the pH of Castile Soap is around 6. This article pointed out Castile Soap as an alternative to shampoos with sodium lauryl sulphate and I still think it is a good alternative. As with using all soaps, whether liquid or solid, you have to use a conditioner or an acid to balance your hair’s pH. Sudding a lot was mentioned in conjunction with sodium lareth sulphate which is added to shampoos for the sud factor. Sudding by itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Like my soap nuts, they sud quite a bit. I agree with you that though something is natural it may not be best for your hair and if you find that Castile Soap strips your hair, you shouldn’t use it. I would caution anyone, especially kinky curly hair types who use soap to cleanse their hair to do so only once a week.

  • caitlinS said:

    What do you do to your hair on the days you don’t wash? If you wash with soap one day of the week, do you rinse with water the other days?

  • sirisha said:

    Is castile soap is good for dry and damaged hair

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