Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

A few months ago I somehow discovered a new favorite product of mine, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. I honestly have no idea how this stuff showed up on my radar, but I am sooo glad it did.  From

"Renowned for their quality, versatility and eco-friendliness, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps enjoyed a small but loyal following in the early years. In the late 1960s, however, soap sales started to explode, due to the unsurpassed ecological quality combined with Dr. Bronner’s urgent message to realize our transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides. Word-of-mouth soon made Dr. Bronner’s the iconic soap of that era, and in the decades that followed the soaps spread into every health food store in the U.S. and then into the mainstream as well -- winning over fans from all walks of life on the way to becoming the number-one-selling natural brand of soap in North America."

Seriously y'all, hippies loved this stuff, and so do I. Not only is it certified organic and fair trade, yada yada yada, it WORKS ON EVERYTHING! I'm not kidding. I started off by buying a bar of the "original" Peppermint scented soap and used it to clean my makeup brushes and holy crap, was there a lot of icky dirty gunk on them. But not anymore!

I started researching other uses for Bronner's soaps (apparently Dr. Bronner claimed there were 18 uses, but one of them was a method of birth control, so I'm not sure what the current "official" count is), and started to try them, one by one.  So far I have had luck using them to wash my face (I even stopped using my sister's Proactive and my skin is actually better with the Bronner's!), as a body wash, mop the floor, clean my toilet, clean my makeup brushes, as a hand soap, clean my bathtub, shave my legs and scrub my sink. The Tall Cute guy has some diluted in a spray bottle that he uses as an all purpose cleaner, and oh my god you guys, you should have seen how well it got off the blackened crusty gunk that was covering his stove burner pans. He said that some of that stuff had been baked on since before he even moved in 2 years ago, and after soaking for awhile in a mixture of Bronner's soap and water he pulled one out to begin scrubbing and the gunk had already melted off.  It melted the fruck off! We were shocked!

The only use that I haven't had good fortune with was using it to wash my hair. Apparently lots of people do it and love it, but my experience left a lot to be desired.  Granted, I used the bar version and just rubbed it on my head, which was probably much too strong a concentration. I am learning that with Bronner's, dilution is key. Also, this stuff is "real" soap, meaning it has a basic pH, as opposed to regular shampoos which are really detergents with an acidic pH. The soap really opens up your hair shaft and cleanses very well, but afterwards you need to use something to close the hair shaft again (some use apple cider vinegar which is also acidic) or else you will be left with very rough, poofy hair like me. It didn't take too much effort to get my hair back to normal afterwards so it's not like the Bronner's permanently damaged my hair or anything.  But, I later read that it's not good to use Bronner's on colored hair because the opening of the hair shaft will quickly strip your color, which is the main reason I haven't given it a second-go.  If you ever consider using it to wash your hair I suggest you read Lisa Bronner's blog post about her experience with it.  Lisa is Dr. Bronner's granddaughter and works in customer service at the company, and she has some really great advice on her blog about which products to use for what, and how to use them. (Be sure to read down through the comments too, as Lisa is really great about responding to readers' questions and even more information can be found there).

When it comes to all the scents that the Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps are available in, my favorite two are the Peppermint and Almond.  Delicious!  The Tall Cute Guy actually prefers the Lavender, but I feel like I am the only female on Earth who doesn't care for that scent.  He also says the Citrus is really good and just finished off a bar of that.  I have found the soaps for sale at Target, health food stores, and Trader Joe's, but my go-to store is a place called Earth Fare.  If you are lucky enough to have an Earth Fare in your area, GO.  They carry the most extensive amount of Dr. Bronner's soaps than any other store around me, and cheaper!

Now, I could go into a lot more detail about my experience using the soaps in different ways, but that would make this the longest blog post ever.  If you have any questions or would like to see separate posts about the different uses, I'm taking comments/requests!

P.S.  Speaking of comments, a reader named Anna left me a comment on this post and I accidentally marked it as spam! Anna, I am so sorry, but just as I was about to publish it I hit the wrong button and deleted it instead.  Hitting "Mark as spam" has become a reflex ever since the spam comments have been hitting my blog like the plague lately. But, thank you for you comment!


Fly Baby Fly March 15, 2013 at 2:06 PM  

This post is awesome! Thank you so much. My cat recently figured out how to open my bathroom and kitchen cupboards which means my traditional cleaning items had to go. I've been going through tons of vinegar and baking soda trying to clean things. I'd be interested to know the concentrations you use for different uses.

I may even try the hair stuff since I just found out the parent company of supposedly "vegan" no sulfate shampoo/conditioner tests on animals for products sold in china! Dr. Bronner's sounds like the ticket.