Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap as Shampoo Product Review


Are you looking for an 100% natural shampoo for your hair? Do you want to naturally cleanse your hair? If you answered “YES” to either of these questions then the Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap is a great shampoo choice— when diluted properly.


What is Castile Soap?

Essentially, castile soap is a naturally derived cleaner. Castile soap is produced using the saponifying technique of vegetable oils (learn more about the process on Dr. Bronner’s blog). What makes Castile soap so amazing is its multitude of uses—from laundry detergent to kitchen cleaner to shampoo and more! If you’ve been following my journey for awhile, you know I’ve mentioned before how much I hated using the Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap as a shampoo—until I realized I wasn’t using it right, and now I can’t get enough!

How to Use Castile Soap as Shampoo

Many people have heard that using Castile Soap will dry your hair out because it is so concentrated— this is true if you don’t dilute it enough (i.e. – use too much) and aren’t properly shampooing. To err on the side of caution, having an extra spray bottle or container to make the shampoo mixture in is great— a suggested mixture is to mix ½ cup of (distilled) water and ½ Tbsp of castile soap. Or if you like to test the limits (like me), you can just pour some castile soap in your hand and then let water from the shower mix in before applying to your scalp. I recommend playing around with the ratios until you find what works best for your hair type and texture— Check out the Liquid Castile Soap Dilution Cheat Sheet.

Once on your hair, the Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap will lather like regular shampoo if your hair isn’t too “dirty”, but if you’ve been using lots of products or its been awhile since your last shampoo you may have to do 1-2 shampoos before it will lather. After you’ve shampooed your hair, no more than 2-3 times, all you have to do is rinse.

RINSE, rinse, RINSE! The Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap packs a big punch which is why it should be diluted, so you don’t want to leave any traces in your locs at all. This is where the label comes in again. As you’re standing under the shower head rinsing your locs properly (like we talked about a few weeks ago), start reading the bottle. Yes, take your glasses into the shower and read all those little words. It should take you a good 10 minutes to read it from top to bottom turning the bottle and wiping your eyes. If you finish early, think about how to apply what you’ve read to your life. You can thank me later.

After using the Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap you’ll have clean locs and a refreshing perspective on life. You can find Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap in local organic markets or on Amazon. Depending on how long your locs are, using the Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap as “shampoo” will last several months or at least longer than normal shampoo because you have to dilute it with each use.

Pros and Cons of Castile Soap as a Shampoo


  • All Natural
  • Many Uses
  • Variety of Scents
  • Cleanses Hair Naturally
  • Lasts Longer Than “Shampoo”


  • Must be diluted
  • Can be drying (on high porosity hair)
  • Leaves dull residue if not used correctly

Beware of Hard Water & Castile Soap

While the Dr. Bronner’s Soap is a great natural shampoo alternative to use on locs, you have to be VERY careful if you have hard water. What is hard water you’re wondering? Hard water is basically water that contains a high amount of minerals in the water, which make it hard (hint, hint) for the water to work with soap or shampoo. When hard water comes in contact with Castile Soap it produces soap scum. And if you don’t properly rinse your locs out, the soap scum will form in and on your locs as a whiteish tint. With repreated use of the Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap without the use of a clarifying or detoxifying shampoo, the buildup will accumulate and cause thinning of the locs.

Have you tried using the Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap as a Shampoo?

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Jocelyn Reneé

Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.

Blog Comments

I’ve used Dr. Woods Almond Castile soap for the 13 yrs. I’ve been loc’ing, originally because it was the only shampoo I found that would give me great lather since it’s so natural and free of all of the sulfates and junk my hair don’t need. Then I continued to use it, because of the great clean smell and how my hair/locs responded. I have to say, I’ve never specifically diluted it to shampoo my hair, however, I do know very little is all you need. I use roughly a cap full and get oodles of lather and I really enjoy it! Also note, I’m not sure about Dr. Bronner’s, but Dr. Woods also offers an Almond Castile soap with Shea Butter, which is so conditioning and my locs love that too! 🙂 Thanks for your review.

Dr. Bronners Castille Soap has been around forever. I enjoy using it to shampoo my clients natural hair. It must be dilluted. For extra moisture add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. I like to use jojoba, vitamin e oil,, or olive oil to my shampoo mix. Try not to use heavy oils like castor or coconut oil . It will give a unpleasant residue. Hope that helps. 🙂 Lotus

[…] liked but it was time for me to switch it up. I have received several requests for a review on the Dr.Bronner’s Castile soap so I picked it up and have used it, correctly might I add, for the past few weeks. I also use the […]

[…] Soap, so this is part 1 of a 3 part series on Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap — including a full product review and how to chose the right “scent” for your hair, AND the secret to a good shampoo using […]

HI there!
I just read your article and it is giving me major hope that my problems can actually be fixed! I recently made the switch from regular and commercial shampoo and conditioner to using solely Dr. Bronner’s Almond for my hair! The results have been pretty disastrous! my hair is so waxy and the weirdest texture. My normally full and bouncy curls have turned into strange, snake like medusa tendrils! I think I am going to maximize on your advice to rinse rinse rinse rinse, but is there anything else I could be doing wrong?

Thank you!

Hi Phoebe, if you’re experiencing that amount of buildup, which is common with soap scum/leftover shampoo buildup you will need to use a clarifying shampoo and/or chelating shampoo to remove the residue from your hair because remember, Dr. Bronners is SOAP not shampoo and I would advise checking your quality of water. If you have hard water, I wouldn’t recommend continued use of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap.

Thank you! I’m actually trying to naturally lock my hair so I had hoped this would work, but I will definitely try checking the water!

Hey! I came across Dr.Bronners products while searching for natural products and it’s the best I’ve found so far! Unfortunately I have hard water…. can I not use any of his shampoos??

I’m just starting my locks with s loctician. My hair is dry. What can I use to spritz my hair with throughout the day to keep it moisturized?

Thank you for this helpful review. I made the mistake of using the peppermint shampoo yesterday without reading the directions—so, no dilution. What a disaster! Some of the soap dripped into my eye and the pain was excruciating! I thought I would have to go to the ER. After a lot of flushing with water from the shower, my eye felt better. As for my hair, while it was noticeably thicker, it had no luster and felt weird. I am wondering if I should give the soap another chance, this time diluting it properly..,

I live in St Croix US Virgin Islands. Our water is rain water with no chemicals or anything added. Would that be considered Hard Water? Would I do better to use bottled water/ purified water? Thanks for your help. Just starting my locs and want to do it right. Blessing over you and your family.

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