Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap
Dr. Bronner’s soap is a staple in my bathroom. Widely known for its eccentric label that espouses the moral philosophy of the soap’s now deceased maker, Emmanuel Bronner, it is a testament to a simple product made well.
The potent soap is vegetable-oil based (including jojoba, coconut, and hemp oils) that when diluted can be used in a number of different ways. When I spent four months traveling through China it replaced my shampoo, face and body wash, deodorant, laundry detergent, and, when I ran out of it, my toothpaste (but only once as it overwhelmed my mouth). Using it meant I could pack less and lighten my load. I have also brought it camping to clean pots and pans where the use of harsher soaps and detergents would sully sensitive environments.
Outside of being multi-use, Dr. Bronner’s is also an extraordinarily pleasant soap. I have yet to find another cleaning product that leaves my skin as tingly and fresh feeling as the peppermint variety (be warned, it can be frighteningly intense on sensitive parts of the body). It also doesn’t contain any lathering agents or synthetic chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate that some people have a sensitivity to. Instead the soap relies on an ingredients list that is predominantly organic and fair-trade certified.
The liquid soap can be purchased in a variety of different sizes, up to a gallon at a time. While travelling for four months my girlfriend and I used about 12 oz of the stuff, but that included showers, laundry, and deodorizing. So keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Though I have only used the peppermint and lavender varieties, they also offer the soap in eucalyptus, citrus, tea tree, almond and a mild formula for babies.02/15/11
(Note: Outside of Amazon, you can find it inexpensively at Whole Foods and most health food stores, many of which will allow you to refill your own bottle at a discount. --OH — editors)