If you do a quick Google search on castile soap, you’ll find it has just about as many uses as a Swiss army knife.
Soap making has a long history, spanning several centuries and a variety of production methods.
The chemical process for making soap has not, however, changed all that much. Fats are boiled with alkali, which then produces soap (yay!) and glycerin.
Castile soap: a brief history
The quality of soap produced is especially dependent on the ingredients used. Early attempts, for example, relied on ash. In Spain, the salsola plant was burned to produce an ash called barilla.
“This, used in conjunction with locally available olive oil, offered a good quality soap which, by salting-out or “graining” the boiled liquor with brine, allowed the soap to float to the surface, leaving the lye, vegetable colouring and impurities to settle out. This produced what was probably the first white hard soap: Jabon de Castilla, or Castile soap, also known to pharmacists as Sapo hispaniensis or Sapo castilliensis.”
Eventually, “castile soap” became the generic name for the hard, white, olive oil soaps, which we still use today.
Castile soaps can also be made with coconut oil, palm oil, or any other quality vegetable-based oil — and castile soaps also come in liquid form. The liquid soaps use potassium hydroxide to saponify the vegetable oils, while the hard bar soaps use sodium hydroxide.
Just like the food that we eat, it’s crucial that the products we use on our skin are nutrient-rich. Which is why we’re especially big fans of castile soap!
Made of goodness
Castile soap is made with olive oil, which contains all kinds of fatty acids and antioxidants, along with vitamins E and K — all good things!
Vitamin K has been found to help prevent the calcification of our skin’s elastin (the protein that gives skin the ability to spring back). Fatty acids are known to reduce the body’s production of compounds that cause inflammation.
All kinds of remedies
Castile soap (as mentioned before) uses olive oil, which has long been used as a remedy for skin care and health. Greeks, for instance, used olive oil during massage, to help prevent injuries, relieve muscle fatigue, and eliminate lactic acid buildup. Olive oil has also been recommended as a treatment against skin diseases like eczema and dandruff.
Versatile AND healthy
Castile soap doesn’t just clean and nourish your skin — you can use it for washing laundry, cleaning carpets, and scrubbing your vegetables!
There are a host of reasons to love and use castile soaps, and we’ve only named just a few here.
How else do you use your castile soap goodness? Comment below!
Some of our favorite castile soap products: