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Last updated on May 9th, 2017
I often hear stories about babies, and even some adults, having reactions to something in their baby washes. Have you ever read their lists of ingredients? Many are full of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce and understand. Some of you are allergic to even coconut oil. So, what to do? My recommendation is to use castile soap. Before we get to two recommendations I have, let’s talk about why I like them. Are you concerned about potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide? Read on.
First, a little history.
Castile soap originated in the Castile region of Spain. It was made from 100% olive oil.
Let’s talk about ingredients used in making castile soap.
First, olive oil has impressive moisturizing benefits. It also avoids a lot of problems people are having with allergies to nuts and seeds, because olives are neither, and do not normally cause allergies.
Note that 100% coconut oil (used in some soaps) can actually be drying to the skin, and soap makers are advised not to use more than 30%-40% of coconut oil in their soap formulations (source).
How does an oil become a soap?
It does so through the process of saponification, which involves reacting an oil with water and an alkali, or “lye.”
The saponification results both in soap and glycerin.
The lye used to make soap is not supposed to remain in the final product. Soap makers perform careful calculations to make sure that all lye gets reacted and no un-reacted lye remains in the product. If a mistake is made, the soap will be drying on the skin so we consumers will know right away.
Castile soap’s pH
Some of you might be concerned about higher pH of soap. The pH of any soap, including castile soap, has to be to between 8 and 10. If it is lower, the soap is not going to clean well. If the soap is made right, and unsaponified oil is added to the soap, the soap will not be drying at all.
What are the alternatives?
I believe knowing alternatives helps put things into perspective. Non-soap washes require synthetic surfactants instead to create lather.
While washes made with synthetic surfactants have balanced pH, some of them may create problems for the skin, health, and the environment. For example, Cocamide DEA is a carcinogen, even though it is a surfactant derived from coconut oil. And there are so many synthetic surfactants that we do not have much health information about.
All in all, in my opinion, castile soap is a safe option to use on a baby.
Where do I buy castile baby soap?
There are not many manufacturers that make true castile soap. I have two options for you: liquid castile soap and castile bar soap. I have used and liked both.
By Valenti Organics True Castile Soap Bar
I have corresponded with the owner and formulator for a few years and find her very knowledgeable and conscientious. Besides the castile bar soap, I have used many other By Valenti products (you can read more about them here). The castile bar soap generates a low creamy lather, which is the nature of castile soap.
Just as a warning, their customer service can, at times, be slow but because their products are so good, I think it is worth the wait.
MamaSuds Liquid Castile Soap
When my son was a baby I did not know about castile soap by MamaSuds. We use it now in a foaming soap dispenser, and I found that it does not dry the skin at all. True, it is not packaged in a cute baby bottle because true castile soap has multiple uses. You can buy it in a gallon size, which makes it economical and use it with a foaming dispenser, which makes it even more economical and eco-friendly. Because you will be adding water to the foaming dispenser, make sure you use boiled water and use it up within 2 weeks to avoid any mold or bacteria growth because there are no synthetic preservatives.
With the coupon IRLFY10 and you will receive 10% storewide.
Let me know in the comments if you had any experience with castile soap and which brand you use.
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