Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sample Month Day 18: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

After hearing Mary and Denise rave about the wonders of this "magical" soap, I was moved enough to haul FIVE bottles of it. One is for me to try, four are to give out as Xmas gifts. The one I have for you here is the Citrus Orange scented soap.


You look at this bottle and it has every tag available on it. Fair Trade! Organic! Biodegradable! Vegetable based! No synthetic foaming agents! Bottle made from recycled matter! There's also additional hokey words all over the sides of the bottle about pseudo-religious stuff which totally turns me off, but it's the product that we're here to discuss.

The idea of this concentrated liquid soap is that it's all-purpose. You can dilute it with water for face, body, hair, laundry, dishes -- you name it.

*Ingredients: Aqua, Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Olive Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Lime Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

(*Scientific names listed on the bottle - I shortened it to simple names.)

Click here for a PDF of the label. I'm not going to link to the website or anything like that because I find Dr. Bronner to be kind of creepy looking and sounding, but I have to admit that this all-purpose liquid soap is working out for me. The only problem was I needed a bottle to dilute with. So I went to Winners where you can find all sorts of strange stuff. And... tada! 


It kind of looks like a genie's bottle, which is rather appropriate for a "magic" soap. First, I tried using 1/2 soap + 1/2 water to use as facial cleanser. The mixture bubbles up right away when you shake it, but the liquid content was still quite slick on the fingers and face -- so I added a bit more tap water in my hands to wash my face. It rinses away super cleanly and squeaky clean -- but not in a harsh and uncomfortable way. The lemon scent is a bit too much like a surface cleaner for me to get totally on board with, but it can also smell refreshing and uplifting. (I also have trouble drinking limoncello because of it.)

Tonight (as I'm typing this), I tried using it as shampoo and all-over body wash. Remembering my dilemma with the water content the first time, I tried making the solution 1/3 soap + 2/3 water. It worked fine for the body but didn't lather enough for the hair. I ended up adding a bit of my regular shampoo to finish off the hair. I think the 1/2 soap + 1/2 water formula was the right amount to use as shampoo. As for the body, I was too tired to apply moisturizer, but it's not as dry as it normally is and almost feels rather soft and silky.

Some more experimentation and continual usage is required for a definitive statement on it, but for now, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap is getting a tentative thumbs up from me.

Purchased from American Apparel at 30% off regular price.

33 comments:

  1. I like using Dr. Bronners to wash my makeup brushes - I use Almond usually, but picked up unscented / baby mild and peppermint recently (minis though). I haven't seen citrus around, which is too bad - I LOVE citrus scents. Though I'm more of a grapefruit person than the lemon you describe.

    I've never tried it on my body or hair, though!

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    1. The rest I got are unscented/baby mild. Everyone in my life are so perfume-sensitive! This one I'd just call straight up lemon. I don't detect other citrus notes and it's quite sterile-smelling, not juicy fruity. I want the lavender one so badly but the store I went to didn't have it. :(

      I didn't like it on the hair too much (because squeaky clean feeling on hair feel stripping), but try it on your face or body! It works!

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  2. Sounds....interesting, but I have some issues with this concept; first of all, I am so NOT a fan of overly busy packaging (one of the main things that turns me off of lines like Benefit and The Balm) - but that's just a personal quirk. Secondly, at this point in my life and with my sometimes insanely busy schedule, I don't have the time to be either a) decanting this product into something else or b) trying to figure out the correct mathematical equation for whatever I'm planning on using it for. Lastly, I don't want something that I will potentially be applying to my skin/hair to smell like a household cleaner, so overall, thanks for reviewing this...your in-depth approach really clinched it for me: no go.

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    1. Well, once you do the decanting and figuring out the amounts, it's supposed to save you the time and hassle of reaching for 10 different products at the end of the day. It's for those who are against chemical-laden products with a bit of DIY spirit. I'm in the middle and don't care one way or another - was just curious because of the rave reviews from my trusted friends! So far it's working out and I do have four bottles of the unscented which I may or may not end up giving away and should last for like five years. :)

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    2. For those not loving the lemon scent- There is a Hemp Almond scent that is absolutely heavenly. I have people ask me all the time how I get my house to smell so lovely without using chemicals or room spray/candles.
      For those with no time for the Dr. Bronners lifestyle, I totally understand! That was me a year ago. Until a friend took the time to show me how it works, all the money she saves, all the products she replaced with Dr. Bronners alone. I had already gone the natural route with cleaning products but was still wasting money buying natural/non-toxic cleaners for every purpose. Now- if you look under my sink I have a few huge bottles of mixtures I've made that took me collectively 10 minutes, and I maybe make them twice a year. Household cleaner, (floors, counters, appliances, table tops, etc.), tub scrub, dish soap mixture, hand soap. I added baking soda and vinegar to the tub scrub for extra power. The time it took to make this with things I already had in my house is much less than running to the store every time a bottle of tilex or method soap runs out (AND 2 bonuses- no more toxic chemicals, LOTS of extra money in my pocket). I no longer buy any household cleaner or scrub, different soaps/cleansers, etc., just Dr. Bronners!

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    3. The text on the bottle is actually very informative (well mine is anyway)- My bottle is about proposition 522. The company supports the initiative to label genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) in our foods, which other big food companies like Nestle, Post, Keloggs and Coca Cola are fighting, and even putting money INTO the fight against labeling. If labeling passes then the masses will know of the crap that's in their food, and the companies don't want that. Those who have caught on to this whole thing (like myself) have switched to different brands and organic foods (and I must say, many of my health issues have resolved since doing so), but if this reaches the masses of people, those companies will surely lose many of their customers. Personally I don't see it as honkey, I commend Dr. Bronners for taking a stand and educating people about what's really going on in a world of ignorance and greed :-)

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  3. My husband has been using this as his body wash for at least two years now and he won't use anything else on his dry skin. He just uses it straight up from the bottle so probably he ends up using way too much but men tend to do that with any product :) I haven't tried it on myself properly, I usually use bar soap in more enticing scents.

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    1. I keep getting surprised when people tell me they already know this, because I had no clue before Mary and Denise told me about it! These soaps do come in a gentler bar soap version as well (I have an unscented bar that I was going to send to a friend overseas) but now I'm tempted to dip into it for my own curiosity's sake. :) I'd love it if my siblings would use this too but I get the feeling my brother would object to pouring anything out of a genie bottle like this that I picked up. LOL

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  4. You know, I've always been curious about this stuff but never tried it. I actually think I have a little sample around here somewhere...I don't know that I will be trying it on my hair or in the lemon scent (I'm not usually a fan of anything lemon scented, but this one sounds especially "industrial cleaner"-y), but I think I will give it a try now! If it doesn't pan out, at least I'll be able to use it to clean makeup brushes!

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    1. Or your kitchen counter or the dishes! Makes me wonder if I can use some crappy old shampoos to clean the toilet with. :s

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  5. I've heard about this, too, but haven't tried it. I agree with you about the hokey marketing––really not a fan of that. But it certainly sounds promising! I'll keep an eye out for some to use as makeup brush cleanser/shower gel. Also, I looooove the bottle you found!! Truly marvelous.

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    1. Thanks! Now I'm looking at ordering apothecary bottles by the bulk for different purposes, lol.

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  6. I love this product, and my faves are Rose, Almond, Cherry Blossom and Green Tea but I never thought to dilute it and use it as is. If I do laundry I would add water or tip a capful into the washing machine. For hair, if I need some clarifying oomph, I would add rub some onto my scalp along with my regular shampoo. I have used it on its own for shampooing and it's probably too drying for me. Yeah I know how you feel about lemon scents... they are very common but extremely tricky to get right...

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    1. There's a rose and cherry blossom option??? I'd have picked up the rose for sure!

      I think it can probably be used on its and will be fine, depending on how much your scalp can take. Mine's quite dry right now so I don't want to overload it.

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  7. Hokey marketing pisses me off. HAHAHAHA I sound so angry on your blog lately! I appreciate the concept, although really, I don't want to spend any more of my life diluting and decanting shit. But the idea of using something less awful than the super toxic bathroom cleansers is really appealing.

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    1. Seriously, it's just products, lol.

      It's like receptionists hating picking up the phone when they're at home - gotcha.

      I try to buy the "environmentally friendly" bathroom cleaners but sometimes it's just fuck it, Lysol is on sale. Let's kill the world some more.

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  8. Huh! You know, I had a bottle of this in the lavender version but I just used it to wash my makeup brushes with it. I didn't read the bottle at all-I mean SHEESH LOOK AT ALL THE PRINTING I DIE-so I had NO IDEA you were supposed to dilute it! I feel like a dork now. But that's ok. I like dorks. :)

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    1. I read everything all the time (I read every single word on a restaurant menu, lol), but this one made my eyes roll back so hard I had to stop. I like dorks, too. ;)

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  9. Hi Liz, I have this 'flavor' of Dr. Bronner's too, as well as almond. I typically use them for washing brushes or things makeup related things (as opposed to multipurpose facewash). Whole Foods seem to stock many different scents, so I'm always tempted to try more!

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    1. Using it as makeup brush cleanser seems to be the popular option. I had no idea it was so widely used and known. :) I've actually never stepped into Whole Foods. I'm the sort of person who still goes to Taco Bell more frequently than she really should... ;)

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  10. Is it weird that I don't dilute it at all? I only really use it as a body wash and brush cleanser at the moment, and love it for both purposes (and the undiluted formula is really gentle!). For some reason, I just can't bring myself to use it as a face cleanser or shampoo -- I can't give up my other face washes and shampoos. :P Or toothpaste, for that matter...

    And is it weird that I haven't really read any of the text on the bottle? LOL!

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    1. You don't??? I'll try it undiluted since it seems to be quite gentle. I understand about the face thing but I've been in such a guinea pig sort of mode that I didn't really care. I also want to debunk it if it doesn't work, ya know? I already have so many acne scars and such that it kind of doesn't matter. (That sounds really sad. I shouldn't.)

      The toothpaste thing is WHACK. Even I draw the line there. And I think the idea of reading that entire bottle is insane. I stopped once I saw the hokey lines and checked out Dr. B's profile LOL

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  11. This is something I haven't seen - don't know that I'd be bothered diluting things - I feel so time poor lately, boo-hoo :(

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    1. I'm insanely busy but this project is sort of keeping me sane at the moment. It was actually fun trying to figure out the ratios and took my mind off a lot of other things.

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  12. I see this quite a bit at health food stores here, the religious bits creep me out a little bit but I have heard good things about it. I always go to buy some but back out at the last minute, I'm not a huge fan of 'multi purpose' products, my subconscious thinks they will do a half-ar@ed job of each one!

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    1. It's super creepy if you pay too much mind to it, so I sort of turn a blind eye. LOL

      I agree that most multipurpose products end up being poor in some way or another, but this one is kind of impressing me so far. I still have to test it out as a surface cleaner but I hope to clean the bath tub tomorrow with it and enjoy some down time.

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    2. This Tub scrub works wonders for my household!! (2 minutes to make using Dr. Bronners):

      Mix-
      1 2/3 cup baking soda
      1/2 cup Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (I use the help almond- smells divine)
      1/2 c water
      Finally add (last) 2TBS vinegar
      Stir until lumps are gone. Add to an empty bottle (I use a shampoo bottle).
      If it’s too thick, dilute more with water.
      Simply squeeze on and scrub! (I let mine sit overnight and scrub in the morning when I shower for deep cleaning) but it does also work right away for a general scrubbing.

      Hope it helps :-)


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  13. I've been using Dr B's for probably 15-ish years now... Oddly enough I've only ever used the unscented version. I've never diluted it though.

    I strongly encourage you to not try all the uses for it! Using it as toothpaste is so vile! My friends and I did this in high school and were gagging it's that bad.

    It does a great job on laundry, but I'd only use it on stuff you need to get squeaky clean like dishtowels. Otherwise I've found it to fade your regular duds.

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    1. Oh god, no, I would never consider the toothpaste option. I like my Colgate very much, thank you, LOL!

      And if it's strong enough to fade cloth, I'm a little worried as to what it does to skin. Yet it felt rather gentle? I think I'll play around with it some more but diluting it seems to work when using on the body. We shall see. Thanks for your advice!!

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  14. I've never used it for anything for my body yet. I actually use it to wash my makeup brushes! It does a fantastic job, and you only need a tiny bit. I'll have to try it for my face or in a bubble bath. I have the tea tree scent and it is pretty strong though, so we will see what happens. By the way, I found your blog about a month ago, and have read almost every post! Love your blog! :)

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    1. Everyone seems to love using it for the makeup brushes! I use old face cleansers that I hate for brushes which also works well.

      I hate the scent of tea tree but I'd really like to smell their lavender version.

      Thanks so much for your nice comment, Zena! I checked out your blog and love the name. You might have picked up on the fact that I love blush, so I look forward to your future posts. :)

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  15. Interesting! I've always seen these around but never really considered buying them. I see there is no actual perfume involved so I might have to give it a try. I also like the idea of using them to wash my makeup brushes a la Emi's idea. And I sort of like the packaging - makes me think of the 50's or something - though I'd probably not bother to read all the verbal diarrhea on it because that turns me off a bit too.

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    1. I usually read everything letter for letter but this bottle is nuts, lol. I haven't been using it like I said I would and can't add anything more to the original post, but knowing that at least it can be used as a makeup brush AND a toilet cleaner makes the investment easy to absorb!

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