Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is Castille Soap?

Historically Castile soap is a soap made with only three ingredients: olive oil, water and sodium hydroxide.  The origin has been traced back to Castile, Spain and since olive oil does come from there that makes good sense.  Other sources trace it to a little deeper into the Mediterranean regions of Europe such as Italy or Greece.

Today the term castile soap is beginning to take on new meaning.  I have seen companies claim that they have a castile soap because it is made with all vegetable oils, not quite correct but it seems like it is becoming a more accepted norm as of late.

So why all the fuss?  Well olive oil is great for you inside and out.  Our skin's natural pH is 5.5 and conveniently olive oil's pH is also about 5.5 making it a good and gentle cleanser for just about anyone.  I have heard it recommended to those with sensitive skin or conditioned skin as something that is mild and will leave skin feeling smooth and hydrated.  Since this soap only has one oil it lacks some properties that other multi-oil soaps would have.  For example, coconut oil helps to make soaps nice and hard and palm oil helps to make the bar last for a long time, castor oil (one of my favorite oils) helps to make soaps nice and bubbly.  I am not saying that a castile bar cannot have these properties, it's just that the cure time is generally longer and it may not get as bubbly, or become as hard or last as long, but do not discount this soap.  It's benefits far outweigh some of it's differences and a properly formulated bar should leave you feeling satisfied and wanting more.

Currently we are working on our own type of castile bar.  Personally I love a good bubbly bar of soap so I have kind of thrown making this bar on the back burner for awhile.  Well today I got on the horse and decided to give it another try.  We sourced fresh milk from a local farm and I used that as my liquid portion.  I am hoping that the sugars and added fats from the milk will help make it creamy and bubbly.  I am impatiently waiting as it saponifies and will cut it tomorrow to begin it's curing journey.  I am very excited to see what the outcome is. During the creation process it felt thicker and creamier than when I formerly made castile with water so we shall see!!!

Stay tuned, I will post pics of the soaps with I have them cut.

Until then, stay bubbly
~Your Soapsmith

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