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23/03/13: Dr Bronner's 18-in-1 Magic Soap

What is it?
Dr. Bronners is a castile soap, a vegetable oil based soap.  It comes in both liquid and bar form and has a lovely clear ingedient list - and no SLS!   The packaging is paper for the bar soap and recyclable plastic for the liquid.

The ingredients differ between liquid and bar, so I shall share the ingredients listed on the two that I have: Lavender Bar Soap and Tea Tree liquid soap.

Lavender Bar Soap
Organic Coconut Oil*
Organic Palm Oil*
Sodium Hydroxide**
Lavandin Extract
Organic Olive Oil*
Organic Hemp Oil
Organic Jojoba Oil
Lavender Extract
Citric Acid

Tea Tree Liquid Soap
Organic Coconut Oil*
Potassium Hydroxide**
Organic Olive Oil*
Tea Tree Extract
Organic Hemp Oil
Organic Jojoba Oil
Citric Acid

As you can see, the main difference appears to be the concentration of water (not surprising as one is liquid) and the Hydroxide used.  The websites states that neither the sodium hydroxide nor the potassium hydroxide remain after saponifying the oils into soap and glycerin.  As with other products I've bought recently, it's nice to be able to understand for the most part the list of ingredients.  Yay!

(Saponifying: (Verb) Turn (fat or oil) into soap by reaction with an alkali.)

How to use?
This is where it gets interesting.  There are supposedly eighteen different proposed uses for these soaps.

The original list as found on the website is:
"Always dilute for Shave-Shampoo-Massage-Dental Soap-Bath!
Peppermint is nature's own unsurpassed fragrant Deodorant!
A drop is best Mint Toothpaste; brushes Dentures Clean!
A dash in water is the ideal Breath Freshener & Mouth Wash!
Peppermint Oil Soap for Dispensers, Uniforms, Baby, Beach!
Dilute for ideal After Shave, Body Rub, Foot Bath, Douche.
Hot Towel-Massage the entire body, always towards your heart.
Pets, silk, wool & body tingles head to toe - keeps cool!
3 dashes in water rinse most Sprays Off fruit & vegetables!
1/4 oz in qt H2O is Pest Spray! Dash, no rash Diaper-Soap!"

(You can read more about Dr. Bronner here: Dr. Bronner)

Which as I can see is roughly:  Shaving, Shampoo, Massage, Dental Soap, Bath, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Breath Freshner/Mouthwash, "Dispensers Uniforms Baby and Beach?", After Shave, Body Rub, Foot Bath, Pets, Clothes, Rinsing vegetables, Pest spray, Diaper Rash Soap.  (Douche is not recommended any more.)

I admit, all I've been using it for is straight up washing and also as a cleanser, which is essentially a drop or two of the Tea Tree in some filter water and applied to the face with a cotton wool pad.  I'm hoping that the Tea Tree will help me with the breakouts I get.  However, I'm concerned that it might be drying out my skin a bit.  I'm following it up with Rosehip serum from Balm Balm (a separate post to follow), so I'm hoping that my skin will settle soon.  I am enjoying  the simplicity and the pleasant smell.

I like how clean it makes my hands feels, and it appears to be working as well as any other soap.  It takes a little while to get used to the fact that you aren't going to get tonnes of lather - but I actually like how the lather that it does produced is a really gentle simple looking one.  It's a clean lather, if that makes any sense.  I'll try to upload some photos to show what I mean, when there's some daylight.

When I first got the bar soap I tried it out on my hair.  Lots of people swear by either baking soda or Dr. Bronners.  Unfortunately, I didn't read as far as to find out about how dang WEIRD it makes your hair feel if you don't follow it up properly with an acidic (ACV usually, or Dr. Bronners own Citric Rinse) rinse to clear out that yucky feeling.  So I woke up the next day with tacky, sticky un-runnable-fingers-through hair.  Mess!

One thing that did appear to happen, however, is that my flaky scalp which was really bad before, is clearing up.  I tried it twice more, this time using much less Dr Bronner and a tonne of ACV, and the last time with Dr Bronner and less ACV.  Neither worked for me but I'm aware that you should really stick with it for a while so that you adjust - but this is apparently a period of six weeks.  SIX weeks.  I can't stand my hair feeling dodgy for more than a day, let alone going out with it feeling that way.

So, for me, for the moment at least the soap is just for the body.

Good for me: simple ingredients, cleans well, lathers pleasantly, lovely smells.  I really want to get the Almond and the Rose Geranium.

Good for you:  If you don't like strong smells, the majority of the range won't be for you.  However, they do do an unscented version.

Take care

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