What’s all the buzz about Castile soap these days?

Jabón de Castilla (Castille or Castile Soap) was born in Spain in the Reino de Castilla (Castile Kingdom). There are records of this soap been produced as early as the 8th century, but it became popular much later.

While in the northern parts of old Europe soaps were made using animal fats, in the Reino de Castilla (Castile Kingdom) there was abundance of olives and pure olive oil, which is the main and only oil used in the making of this particular soap.

The soap became synonymous of royalty as it was the preferred choice of kings, queens and royal families in the area.

What ingredients are contained in the Castile Soap?
A true, original and genuine Castile soap is made with only 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, water and lye (sodium hydroxide) for a bar of soap, or potassium hydroxide for a liquid soap, and nothing more. The true Castile soap contains no fragrances, nor it contains other oils to render it harder or foamier. Any Castile soap containing coconut oil, fragrances, essential oils or any other ingredients, is not and should not be called Castile soap, although unfortunately this rule is not respected by many manufacturers offering fake Castile soaps.

The genuine Castille soap is very mild, suitable for the most sensitive of skin types and people who are sensitive to detergents, chemicals and fragrances. The soap makes a creamier foam with small bubbles, and might not be of the liking of many, yet this soap is so mild and gentle that can even be used on newborns.

Olive oil is high in oleic acid, 60%-80%, and palmitic acid, 8%-20%, making it an excellent regenerative and moisturizing ingredient. Olive oil also contains squalane, a natural compound known to protect and nourish the skin, especially the sensible dry ones. Olive oil is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores making it suitable for acne prone skin. Since it’s high in Vitamin E, it helps regenerate small scars and abrasions. Because of the properties of Olive Oil, the Castile soap is known as THE best soap in the world.

Many believe Jabón de Castilla is green and not white the fact is that olive oil makes a white bar of soap unless colour is added. It’s common for Castile soap to have a “whitish” skin,  not to be confused with “soda ash”. This skin is perfectly normal and proves it’s made with pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the best quality. This white skin won’t cause any harm in any way and it goes away when water touches it. As the soap continues curing (becuase soaps never stop curing) and harden the soap will become completely white the reason why Castile soap was once called “The White Soap” by the Kings and Queens of Spain.

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    1. Yes, a liquid castile soap, which implies is liquid because it’s diluted with water or any other aqueous solution, would require a preservative to impede bacterial growth.

    2. What about a Castile soap bar, would it also need a preservative since it comes in contact with water?

    3. A solid bar of soap does not require preservative. Even though the soap comes in contact with water, because it usually dries up (water evaporates) no significant bacterial growth is observed. The little one that could possibly exists will wash away the next time the soap is used. Only when the soap remains in a pool of water for days or weeks that bacterial growth is a concern.

  1. Castile soaps are definitely gaining popularity these days.. and it has have several uses – beauty being one of them. Insightful read!

    1. Yes. Unfortunately lots of fake Castile soaps have flooded the market in resent years. If it’s formulated with coconut, palm, or a blend of oils, it isn’t Castile soap.

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