12 In Clean Beauty/ Reviews

Dr Bronner’s Review: Castile Liquid Soap & Citrus Conditioning Hair Rinse

Ok, so I recently reviewed Dr Bronner’s Organic Lavender Shaving Gel, but I was also lucky enough to receive a small bottle of the Organic Citrus Castile Liquid Soap and a bottle of the Citrus Conditioning Hair Rinse to get me on my way with my no poo, natural hair care journey. As some of you might know a few months ago I was platinum blonde, I had put my hair through some incredible torture and that is what made me embark upon this journey. I also couldn’t afford a haircut since the last bleaching fiasco until I had dyed over my hair another 2 times to darken it and then I decided to darken it again back to how it used to be. Yes my hair has been to hell and back, and thanks to Dr Bronner my hair is now fixed!

Dr Bronner’s soaps are 100% true pure-castile soaps that use certified organic ingredients under the fair trade act without animal testing, and are mostly 100% vegan (with the exception of the balms where beeswax is added for best efficacy)… Our products are packaged using 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Who was Dr Bronner?

Ok I gotta start out by giving you a little bit of background on Dr Bronner because the man was so inspirational, mesmerising, and well pretty much mad as a box of frogs! Bronner was unbelievably eccentric and quirky and if you don’t believe me here are a few Bronner facts:

  • Dr Bronner was a third-generation Jewish chemist and master soapmaker.
  • He fled to Milwuakee, escaping the impending Nazi Holocaust in Germany.
  • He devised a 30,000 word peace plan – a vision and philosophy wherein Bronner believed that we were “All-One” and united in humanity here on “Spaceship Earth”. He created an ‘All-One-God-Faith’.
  • He printed his ‘Moral ABC’ on all of his notorious labels after realising that people weren’t actually listening to him because they were more interested in the free soap that he handed out!
  • Bronner was committed to a mental asylum and later escaped – yes he actually did escape!
  • One man so caught up in Bronner’s All-One-Faith decided to take part in a public crucifixion in aid of Bronner’s plan for world peace. Crazy huh?

Bronner had created and commercialised castile soap in Heilbronn, Germany with his family and it was there that Bronner had learnt his soap making trade. He began to consult for American soap companies before making his own castile soap by hand.

So what is Castile soap?

Castile soap is a vegetable based soap made from olive oil which originates from Castile, Spain and is believed to have originated from the 11th century, although it is all still a bit shady.

The Dr Bronner pure-castile soap blend consists of; water, organic coconut oil, potassium hydroxide, organic olive oil, organic hemp oil, organic jojoba oil, citric acid, and tocopherol.

This castile soap blend is a fab emolient and it foams like an absolute beast! Don’t worry though the potassium hydroxide isn’t dangerous and it is part of the saponification process – none is left at the end of this process at all.

Fact: Gwyneth Paltrow and Eminem are huge fans!

What can I use it for?

I personally used this as a shampoo as I wanted to get the full  Dr Bronner natural hair care experience. Dr Bronner’s claims that there are a whopping 18-in-1 uses but here are just a few of my favourites:

  • Perfect for use as a body wash, the oils condition your skin and don’t dry it out!
  • Wash your face with it although weary that some people end up having acne bursts because of the pH levels. I personally haven’t experienced this.
  • Wash your make-up brushes and hair brush in it!
  • To shave with. A brilliant emolient that lifts and grips the hairs!
  • To brush your teeth, yes you heard me right! Use no more than two drops unless you want to be foaming from the mouth like a rabid dog! This worked really effectively and my sensitive tooth has actually gone! It made me wonder – was it the coconut oil?
  • To wash your laundry with!
  • To clean your fruit and veggies with – just add a few dashes to water!

The Big V…

This soap was so much fun to experiment with  – there was a bit of experimenting to do when using this as a shampoo, some days I found that I needed to use it straight from the bottle to wash my hair (usually after working out) and other days I would have to dilute a generous dash in some water before shampooing otherwise my hair went lank and greasy. For £1.99 for a 59ml bottle of organic gorgeousness I have to admit that I was shocked at how cheap this stuff really is! Considering I used it as a shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste for a little over 5 weeks until it ran out, I have to say that it is super good value for the money.

The 59ml bottle that I received is perfect for stashing in your handbag, taking to festivals, when camping or travelling, and even when going to the gym. It really has become my soap staple. And I have  a little confession to make – I stopped washing with any kind of soap almost half a year ago! Now I am more than happy to use it when I am showering. You can buy it in so many amazing scents; Almond, Baby Mild, Citrus, Eucalyptus, Green Tea, Lavender, Peppermint, Rose, & Tea Tree. And it also comes in six sizes; 59ml, 118ml, 237ml, 473ml, 946ml, and 3.78L. Yes that really was 3.78L!!!

The organic orange, lemon, and lime oils added to the pure-castile soap I received help to stimulate the skin and invigorate the body for the ultimate shower experience – and boy do they smell gooooood but the smell is a little short lived and then all you can smell is castile and the only way I can explain the scent is by comparing it to that of baby sick, yes baby sick. I couldn’t figure out if I loved the smell or hated it and I still don’t know now. I did however recently buy a big bottle of the Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap and it smells immense, oh and tingles like hell! Ooo-er!!!

The ingredients are good quality and I love how they source their ingredients responsibly and don’t believe in animal testing – because really in this day and age is it ever going to be necessary?! The packaging is super funky, and I love the fact that the packaging still looks trendy after all of these years. It is also 100% recyclable so Brownie points from me for being so eco-friendly.

I was also super pleased when I found out that Ocado were now stocking the Dr Bronner’s Castile Liquid and Hard Soaps!

So if you were wondering if I would buy this product again the answer would be a resounding YES – because I already did!!!

What’s in the Citrus Conditioning Hair Rinse?

So now onto the product I was most excited about –  the Citrus Conditioning Hair Rinse. The ingredients are as follows:

Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Orange Oil.

A couple of things to note before you have a panic attack; none of the potassium hydroxide remains after converting the oils to fatty acids and glycerin, so please don’t panic, and the olive oil is certified fair trade (which always brings a smile to my face!).

The first ingredient listed on the bottle is organic lemon juice. Lemon juice is an astringent and so tightens the hair shafts making hair more manageable, your scalp less oily, and it also acts as an exfoliater buffing away any dead skin cells – bye bye dandruff!

The second ingredient listed is organic shikakai powder. Shikakai seeds from the pods of the South Asian tree the Acacia Concinna are typically ground into a powder and used in India as a conditioning shampoo. This is because Shikakai has a low pH which means that it doesn’t strip the natural oils from the hair shaft – hello super silky, soft hair!

The fatty acids contained within the organic coconut, olive, and hemp oils moisturise hair leaving it soft and smooth and the organic lemon and orange oil give it a scent to absolutely die for!

How did I use the product?

This is a tricky one to explain, you basically have to dilute one capful into a cup of water, pour over your hair, massage, and then rinse out. Sounds simple really doesn’t it? Well, read on…

When I first started using this I used 1 full cap in 250ml of cold water and swished it around a container with my hand. After washing my hair with the Citrus Castile Liquid Soap I dipped my ends into the container, as I figured these were the most damaged parts of my hair, tipped my head back, and then poured the solution over the entirety of my head. Cold water was a bit of a shock I have to say but I know that cold is best for smoothing out hairs so I manned it up, besides this stuff smelled so good that I could just drink it. I then massaged it into my hair as instructed and rinsed off. Or at least I tried to rinse off. I mean I really, really tried. The solution was so hard to get out of my hair, so much so that I found myself rinsing like a psycho for a good 10 minutes trying to get it out and all to no avail. Upon combing my hair I was sad to find that it hadn’t de-tangled my damaged mane one bit as promised, it was completely full of knots, so I had to naturally dry my hair and then brush out the extremely tangled knots of doom. Not impressed. In fact I was deeply saddened. I was even more saddened when I realised that my hair felt even more brittle yet with a layer of grease on it. “Oh dear, what a shambles” I thought… “How am I going to write a review for this?!”.


Sorry for my ugly mug ha! As you can see I started with some super damaged hair but ended up with thick luscious locks, although now I cannot use the rinse as my hair has healed and it just gets too greasy!

I was convinced that this couldn’t be real, that I must have done something wrong, and then I thought hard for a while, looking for a solution. The next day I tried again, I thought about how my hair is so super fine, damaged and thus more porous than healthy hair, and is quite thin i.e. there isn’t so much of it – thanks third baby! I decided to cut down to half a capful and dilute it into 300ml of water. This time it seemed to work a lot better. It was less greasy, but still knotted and dry, I just had to bite the bullet and admit that my hair was way too damaged to indulge in the luxury of a chemical free hair regime, but I persevered.  Over the next few washes I experimented even more, this might sound mad but I found that if I left the rinse in whilst showering it was less dry and brittle afterward and surprisingly not greasy. My hair started to become so much easier to handle, in fact I started to see what my real hair actually looked like – it wasn’t perfectly poker straight, as I was always led to believe by my chemical counterparts, it was slightly wavy, incredibly shiny, felt stronger when I tugged on it, and had VOLUME – something that I hadn’t experienced for years. I loved it!

I loved it that is, until I went for a hair cut and had a trendy micro fringe cut in. New problems arose – my now stronger hair decided to rebel, that’s right it was grease city all over again. I ended up using something as daft as 1/8 a cap of the rinse in 300ml of water. I have found now that if I simply apply it from the ear down that it does the trick otherwise I end up with a greasy fringe that looks horrendous – much like the picture in Day 30!.

The 2nd Big V…

At a mere £8.99 for 236ml the price stamp is beyond a bargain, no doubt about it. The smell was my favourite thing about this product, along with the crazy bottle of course, but the product if not used right is a nightmare in the making. Once you learn the ropes however it works so well – you will find your hair fuller, shinier, stronger, and thicker. If you have fine hair like myself then you may want to skip the trauma and invest in a different kind of organic hair care regime, this is definitely best for someone with thick and/or curly hair but it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it either. Bear in mind that if you have colour treated hair then this can strip your colour as lemon juice acts as a bit of a bleach. I love this fact however because it is summer and so has helped to warm my hair colour up a bit. Coloured hair also means damaged hair though so if you want a good repair this is the product for you.

Will I continue using this and will I buy it again? Yes, I am definitely going to continue using the bottle, maybe not every day but at least a few times a week or at least until I feel that it is has repaired my hair somewhat. Would I buy it again? No I don’t think I would, I think that I just find the more conventional conditioners easier to use so I am more likely to invest in either the Organic Lavender/Peppermint Leave-in Hair Conditioner instead. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like the product, it definitely has its benefits but my hair is very temperamental!

Tips when switching to an all-natural hair care regime and for using the Liquid Castile Soap & Citrus Conditioning Hair Rinse:

  • Use the smallest amount of castile soap possible to wash your hair, you want just enough to create a lather but to quickly disappear when you massage in.
  • If you find the scent of your castile soap too hostile then add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to the bottle.
  • Prepare your hair rinse before entering the shower and set aside some extra time in case you need to rinse for longer.
  • Do not use the hair rinse after shaving or if you have any open wounds, shave beforehand as it will sting like a mother – no lie!
  • Practice different dilutions with the hair rinse and keep an open mind about the journey ahead.
  • Invest in some pretty head scarfs when starting out to hide any weird hair transformations that occur.
  • Buy a good organic dry shampoo to absorb any excess grease if needed. This is what saved me most days.
  • Try adding a few drops of organic rosemary essential oil to your liquid castile soap to promote hair growth.
  • Every now and then give yourself a clarifying shampoo by adding in a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to your liquid castile soap.
  • Invest in a Tangle Teezer to prevent hair damage and a good quality, organic leave-in conditioner.

Been on a natural hair care journey yourself? Don’t be scared – drop a little comment and share your experience!

If you’d like to keep your eye on the latest and greatest of what Dr Bronner has to offer then check out the links below:

Join us and browse our range of truly natural beauty products that really do work. Cleansers, Moisturisers, Make up, Shampoos, Deodorant, even Toothpaste.

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  • Reply
    Kayleigh Conway
    31st July 2015 at 9:34 am

    I’ve been so tempted to try Dr Bronner’s! So far in my no ‘poo journey I’ve tried BS and ACV and Morrocco Method shampoos/conditioners which didn’t really work for me, rye flour which is okay, not amazing though, I used egg when my hair was in deep transition and it stripped away all the waxy build up (hooray!), but my absolute favourite so far is clay! Rhassoul’s my go-to now but trying out Bentonite tomorrow, excited to see how it goes. Kaolin and Green clays weren’t great for me for sebum removing but I use Kaolin mixed with cornflour and a couple of drops of Ylang Ylang oil as an overnight dry shampoo in place of a wash which works brilliantly. Oh and the Morrocco Method Zen Detox clay works great for me too, but it’s soo expensive in comparison to Rhassoul!

    • Reply
      8th August 2015 at 8:21 pm

      Hey Kayleigh I am so sorry for the slow reply! Been super busy! What lovely feedback thank you! I love bentonite clay masks for my hair mixed in with an egg, ACV, and raw honey! The best hair treatment ever! I have tried the ACV rinse but the smell is too much for me. Might try again with some essential oils though! Isn’t natural beauty so much more fun than the chemical stuff?!! Do keep in touch it’s lovely to meet another blogger x

      • Reply
        12th August 2015 at 8:17 pm

        No worries, I know the feeling! That sounds amazing, how long do you leave it in for? It’s so much more fun, I just whipped up this crazy homemade toothpaste tonight and it got EVERYWHERE. Worth it though! Yes definitely, I have a memory like a sieve so I’m off to double check if I’m following you on Twitter 😀 x

        • Reply
          12th August 2015 at 8:49 pm

          I probably leave it in for about 30 mins but not long enough for it to dry otherwise you end up damaging your hair trying to get it out! I love making toothpaste! I’ve got a toothpaste powder that I keep meaning to post andn ever get the chance! Charcoal everywhere haha! Sounds like a similar experience to yours but nothing is better! I actually brush my teeth with the Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap now as it is so good and there is a lot less mess! Followed you back on Twitter! Yays! x

          • Kayleigh
            12th August 2015 at 10:21 pm

            Yay Twitter pals xD lol. Yeah definitely don’t want to let it dry haha, I bought some disposable shower caps to keep my hair damp when I do clay masks, but generally I just use it as a quick shampoo these days, need to do some deep conditioners soon! I actually just bought some Shea butter to try out, excited 😀
            Yes, charcoal and benny clay everywhere haha, I had to brush my teeth over the bath with it splattering all over the place because my cat decided to sit in the sink. A blob even fell down my top, was quite a scene! What does the Dr Bronner’s taste like?! If it’s nicer than bicarb I’m willing to try anything!! X

          • greensofthestoneage
            14th August 2015 at 9:41 am

            Oh that is such a good idea about the shower caps! Why didn’t I think of that?! I love shea butter but I can’t use it in my hair at all! I make gorgeous body butter from it though. Haha that’s sounds about right – natural charcoal based toothpastes are super messy! Hmmm do you remember old school soap bars? It tastes how they smell but not as strong. The peppermint one is best but you can add a few drops of your fave essential oil like sweet orange goes well with it. Just use no more than 3 drops of the soap or you will be foaming from the mouth haha! X

          • Kayleigh
            15th August 2015 at 8:05 am

            Oh damn really, is the Shea butter too heavy? I don’t want to go putting stuff in my hair that I can’t get out haha, nightmare! I’m not sure about this new toothpaste I’ve made, on plain coconut oil + bicarb I had no fuzzy teeth but as soon as I started using this stuff my teeth get kind of gritty after a few hours, do you get that at all? Will definitely give the soap a go, I’m just a little nervous of using EOs, they’re so potent! X

          • greensofthestoneage
            26th August 2015 at 6:51 am

            Has it really been 10 days since you sent this comment?! I need to hide under a rock haha I’m sorry! It’s amazing going no poo isn’t it?! Love having clean teeth all of the time. Being Paleo too I never wake up with fuzzy teeth anymore! Don’t worry too much about EOs just check the guidelines online. A couple of drops in a big bottle will be fine . Hope you’re well x

          • Kayleigh
            30th August 2015 at 7:35 pm

            Ha no worries! Easier to keep up over Facebook 😉 that raw chocolate’s making me want something sweet so badly now! I’m on the hunt for a new no poo method as the clay is taking its toll on my hair drying it out, sob! I’ve just done a mass order of travel samples from Lucy Rose, I feel sad because it’s like admitting defeat but my hair falling out is much more worrying than going low poo haha! Plus I got a Dr Bronner’s sample to try out so pretty excited xD x

          • greensofthestoneage
            30th August 2015 at 7:43 pm

            Aww yays! You’ll love it. I have some Green People stuff to get a review up of and it is the best so far I think it’s over 90% organic and 100% natural. Other than that I use Avalon Organics too but that’s about 75% natural. Loving your hair by the way! It might just be growing more and so will fall out faster! Just keep track of it. Clay is a tricky one as long as you don’t let it dry out and use it with things like egg and raw honey! I always want raw chocolate! Yes FB is much easier xx

          • Kayleigh
            30th August 2015 at 8:21 pm

            I’ll keep an eye out for that, I popped some free Green People samples in the order 😀 thanks so much, it’s been a long road growing the years of dye and damage out, it’s finally getting to where I want it! Ah I hadn’t thought it could be new hair coming through, better get back on the old research!! Xx

          • greensofthestoneage
            2nd September 2015 at 11:02 am

            I’ve almost got all of my damage out now and I want to go and get a full head of highlights haha! I will never learn. Thankfully I don’t have any money at the moment. Did you find much out with your research? How you finding all of your new products? xx

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