Castile soap has derived its name from Castile, a region in Spain. Contrary to popular belief, castile soap is a type of soap and not the name of a brand. Its main ingredients are olive oil and vegetable fat. Animal fat is not used. This soap finds its roots in Castile, Spain. It was once known as the 'Queen of Soaps' and was exported in large amounts throughout Europe. It was made from 100 percent olive oil which made it mild on the skin.
Apart from olive oil, the other ingredients used were barilla and brine. Barilla is a form of sodium bicarbonate which was obtained from the ashes of burnt plants. Brine is seawater or water with high saline content. Barilla and olive oil were brought to a boil and brine was added later. This mixture was allowed to settle and the soap would then float on top. This soap was skimmed off the mixture and allowed to cool and harden. This was how the white odorless castile soap was made. Let us know more about the three main ingredients of castile soap and also look at an easy recipe to make this soap at home.
Women in Rome, Egypt and Greece have been using castile soap with olive oil as its main ingredient, since the time of Cleopatra. Olive oil is known for promoting a smooth complexion. Daily use of olive oil gives you a glowing skin. Also, olive oil provides elasticity to your skin and keeps it moisturized. This must be the reason why Spaniards used olive oil in castile soap when they made it the first time.
There is not much to say when it comes to water as one of castile soap's ingredients. Water is needed to dissolve the lye crystals before adding olive oil to them.
Lye crystals are nothing but caustic soda, rather a solution of potassium or sodium hydroxide. It is an important ingredient as it leads to saponification, the process of hydrolysis of fat into soap. Hence, it is an important ingredient of castile soap. Sodium hydroxide is used in making solid castile soap while potassium hydroxide is used in liquid castile soap.
Apart from these ingredients coconut oil, jojoba oil and palm oil can also be used. These days, the soap is also available in various fragrances which are imparted by adding scented oils to the soap. Making the soap at home is very easy as its ingredients are readily available in grocery stores. Here we give you an easy recipe to make castile soap.
- Two cups of 100 percent olive oil
- Two cups of cold water
- ½ cup lye crystals
- 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)
- Dissolve lye in water. While handing lye, you need to be careful. In case of direct contact, lye may burn your skin.
- Heat olive oil in a pan till it reaches 75ºF.
- Remove the pan from heat. Slowly pour the lye and water mixture into the olive oil and stir it continuously till it becomes thick.
- Add 10 drops of the chosen scented oil for fragrance. You can use essential oils like lavender or orange. Mix the essential oil into the above mixture.
- Then pour this mixture into molds of desired shapes. It is better to pour it in a large rectangular mold and then cut it into bars of desired shapes and sizes.
- Once the mixture is poured into molds, cover it with a blanket or a thick cloth and leave it for hardening.
- Leave it undisturbed and let it age before use.
Castile soap can be used as a hand soap, for bathing and also for washing hair. Regular use of castile soap helps the skin and hair maintain their softness and luster. Liquid castile soap can be used as a dish-washing detergent and in diluted form, as a cleanser. Regular users swear by the castile soap. The greatest advantage of this soap is that all its ingredients are natural. Use it and feel the difference.