Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Question: Can you use castille soap as a facial cleanser?

I've had quite a few comments or e-mails about this topic - can you use your hand made soap as a facial cleanser? - and yes, you can use castille soap as a facial cleanser. It's lovely stuff and cleans nicely! However...

Our skin has a pH between 4.7 and 5.5, and we generally formulate our products to be around that pH level. Our surfactants tend to have an acidic pH of 6 or lower and CP soap generally has a pH of over 8, making it an alkaline product.

Some people can handle CP soap on their faces, some can't. This doesn't mean that CP soap isn't good - it's just what some people experience when using this product.

Castille soap is soap made with 100% olive oil. As Beth pointed out the other day, Anne-Marie of Soap Queen fame uses the term "bastille" to refer to soap that has 70% or more olive oil, but includes other butters or oils. Soaps made with any other oil are not called castille! 

Is castille the only CP soap we can use as a facial cleanser? No, you can use all manner of CP soaps as your facial cleansers if your skin can handle it. And if you want to use it to make a facial scrub, add your scrubbies and have fun! (And please comment below with your recipe and process so others can learn!)

I really recommend you read the posts below and the comments that go with them if you want to debate or consider this issue further! They make for fascinating reading and it's fun to hear what others have to say. If you are planning to comment, share your experiences but be nice about it. If someone disagrees with you, take the comment as an invitation to a friendly and polite debate!

After much thought and research, it seems to me that the key to using CP soap is to use something superfatted that has a goodly amount of glycerin. But I'm a noob at soap stuff, so my opinion is all based on theory and no experience! 

Related posts:
Chemistry of our skin: pH and our skin's acid mantle

Chemistry of our skin: pH of our skin (interesting studies)
Chemistry of our skin: pH and skin care products


Michele Clarke said...

Perfect! I was wondering about the pH's. My body wash was pretty alkaline and I was using castile. I was mixing glycerine and some oils with the soap and distilled water. I changed it up a lot. I would use straight castile with glycerin, oils and sugar for a sugar.

Some days I was ok, others my skin was dry.

FYI I started using Goat's milk bar soap and will never go back to anything else. I went with a company that uses raw milk from their own goats and no water. It's doing wonders for my super sensitive skin.

Julie said...

I use cold process soap for my face. Milk soaps are my favorite too. My favorite these day is one using hemp milk (50:50 with water), with 10% rice bran oil and superfatting at 8%.
I am still waiting on a few ingredients, but I am planning to try some of the recipes discussed in the last few days for comparison. I do need to use mosturizer afterward with cold process soap.


Katherine Chiu said...

I have incredibly dry skin, and have been making CP, MP, and cream soap for about 2 years now. I now use my own cream soap on my face, which is luscious and buttery. Of course I always put on moisturizer after getting out of the shower!

I haven't found myself wild about either castile or "bastille" soap, as it can have a rather "slimy" lather. The same with milk soap--it doesn't seem to foam for me as much as I like.

It seems that no matter what I wash my face with, I always need to put on either sunscreen lotion or moisturizer afterward.

I would be very interested in learning how to make a cleansing facial "serum"!

MsMoople said...

I am always using CP soap for my face - whichever one has been in the shower for the last couple of weeks and is now too small to be comfortable as a body soap.
In the beginning it felt weird, asfter years of using anti-acne face washes. And yes, for a short while, my skin bacem dry and I had some more spots. Ever since, my skin is better than it has ever been and I rarely get a spot or zit. It is a bit dry after washing, but not as bad as after using some of the acne washes.
I am 42, I am too old for zits and Clerasil!

Deirdre Garza said...

I have very oily/acne-prone skin and have used CP soap on my face with success for the last few years. It's really the only thing that has worked for me, and I've tried every face wash, cream and pill on the market. At first I purchased a tea tree oil soap from Soapworks, but I've been making my own for the past 6 months.

I use a high amount of olive oil (60%), and may include other conditioning oils such as pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil and shea butter (depending on what I have on hand). It seems counter intuitive to use these types of oils, given that I have oily skin, but I think they go a long way to making a complete bar that is conditioning as well as cleansing. To these oils I add about 10% coconut oil for extra cleansing. I superfat at 5%.

I also add clays and essential oils such as tea tree or lemongrass.

Given how poorly my own skin has reacted to products that others swear by, I can believe that cold process soap won't work for everyone. But I'm happy that I have found it!