Written by: Cathy Tenzo. I first joined the cult of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Peppermint Soap back in college. A friend told me it was a great all-purpose soap that was good for the environment, could be used for almost everything, and wouldn’t cost a fortune. I’ve been hooked ever since. I find it lives up to most of its claims, and it saves me a bundle of money while providing an enjoyable experience in the shower and around the house.
Let’s look at the features of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Soap:
- Pure-castile, vegetable oil-based soap
- 100% vegan
- Lower ecological impact than products containing harsh chemical detergents
- Contains peppermint essential oils, which Dr. Bronner’s claims are therapeutic and increase vitality and clarity
- Contains some organic oils
- Contains no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (which is damaging to the skin)
- Lathers well
- Packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled bottles
- Certified Fair Trade
- Takes care of employees and suppliers very well, including by capping executive pay at 5 times the lowest paid-position
- All profits not needed for business support progressive charities and causes
- Certified under the USDA National Organic Program
- Does not test on animals, as certified by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC
- More than 18 different uses
Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Liquid Peppermint Soap is a fantastic vegetable oil-based soap that’s good for the planet and good for your skin. You can buy it in bottles as small as 2 ounces (good for travel) to a quart (good for home). Although peppermint is their most popular fragrance, the soap comes in numerous other scents including Eucalyptus, Rose, Citrus, Lavender, and Tea tree. The company claims that the peppermint soap increases vitality–I think they’re probably right because the peppermint tingles on your skin and the scent wakes you up. It’s such a happy soap.
It’s also quite economical, because it’s so concentrated. Although an 8 oz. bottle costs around $6, you only need a few drops in your hand or on a bath sponge to shower from head-to-toe. Some health food stores even carry it in the bulk section, so you can save even more money by refilling your container when you use it up. The company claims at least 18 uses, but common lore provides more than that. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Peppermint soap can be used for camping, since it has no harsh chemicals to pollute. It can be used to wash your hair, to brush your teeth, to clean the laundry, and to wash pesticides off of fruits and vegetables. While you’re washing up, you can feel good about the fact that the company is very green, and is good to their employees and the environment. They never test on animals. As a vegan, all of these things are important to me. It lathers really well, too, due to all of the coconut oil in the formula. I find it gets my clothes very clean, and leaves a nice fresh scent that lingers on my laundry.
Although I love this soap, there are a few downsides to it. I think it’s great as a soap, but I don’t like the way it works as a shampoo. If anything, it gets my hair too clean, so it leaves it a strange texture. The peppermint oil can be really intense, so some people find it’s a little much for them, and you certainly don’t want to get it in your eyes. Although the product can be used to brush your teeth, it doesn’t taste good at all, and I would not recommend it. I tried it once, and I won’t make that mistake again. Some people also feel that the soap dries their skin. I don’t have this problem with it, but if you have dry or sensitive skin you may want to try a moisturizer after using it.
- Good for the environment
- Fair Trade certified
- No nasty chemicals
- Vegan, somewhat organic
- Smells good
- Lathers well
- Available in the bulk sections of some food co-ops
- Many different uses
- The essential oils in the peppermint can be too intense for some people
- Not very good as shampoo
- Can dry the skin
- The bottle is just plain weird
- People will probably call you a hippie if you use it
Dr. Bronner was also a little crazy, and he founded his own religion, so the iconic label contains some really odd rantings about “All-One-God-Faith” and more exclamation points then you’ve ever seen in one place. This is one of the reasons that people who use the soap get called hippies a lot, but a lot of us find the label to be charming. Many people find the man and the company so charming that he was the focus of a 2007 documentary film called Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox.
Of course there are other castile soaps out there. If you don’t want to buy Dr. Bronner’s, you can get Kirk’s liquid Castile Soap. Desert Essence also makes a comparable product at a similar price point.
I’ll be sticking with my Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Liquid Peppermint Soap. I’ve been using the product for over 25 years and I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive experience. It keeps my house and my body clean, and I love the refreshing scent. As Dr. Bronner would say: “Health is Wealth.” “Dilute! Dilute! Okay!”