What is Castile Soap, How is it Made and Pronounced, and Why is it Good for Cleaning and Safe for Skin?

What is Castile Soap, How is it Made and Pronounced, and Why is it Good for Cleaning and Safe for Skin?

Posted by The Roam Team on May 15th 2019

If you do not know what castile means, or even how to pronounce it, you are not alone. We get questions about this word a lot!

During medieval times, there was a Mediterranean kingdom in the region of present day Spain called, Castilla. Castilla, pronounced (Ka-steel-YAH), means land of castles. The Castilians made a plant based hard soap using olive oil rather than using the animal products, tallow or lard. This local soap found popularity with the rugged crusaders. They brought it back to Europe, referring to it by its makers’ namesake; castile soap, pronounced (Ka-steel).

Soap is made by combining liquid, lye, and fat. Castile soap is made using water, lye, and olive oil, making it a good option for vegans. Roamstead Naturals Handcrafted Goat Milk Castile Soap uses pure, raw goat milk instead of water, to create an even more luxurious and nourishing cleanser. Since there is no tallow or lard in our soap, it is a good option for vegetarians. We do not add anything else to our bar soap, keeping it unscented and its natural, beautiful cream color. This is best, especially for people who suffer with allergies, psoriasis, eczema, and acne and for other people with sensitive skin, including babies and the elderly. Plain goat milk castile soap already smells fresh and good, with just a hint of olive oil, so it doesn't need harmful fragrances or perfumes to hide its scent.

Some people and companies are starting to call all vegetable oil based soaps castile because of the quality, effectiveness, gentleness, purity, and general association of superiority, that olive oil soap has been known by for thousands of years. This is a problem because different plant oils have different properties, and therefore produce soaps with different characteristics. There is nothing inherently wrong with using these less expensive oils in making soap; they just should not be called castile.

However, we believe some vegetable oils should never be used in soaps, such as oils known to be common allergens like soy, peanut, and tree nut oils, altered, adulterated, or refined oils like hydrogenated oils, oil from genetically modified plants, oils harvested using unfair labor and trade practices, oil harvested in unsustainable ways like the infamous palm oil, oils extracted or processed with chemicals or solvents, and oils from plants that were sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, or herbicides like glyphosate. Our skin is absorbent, so we need to be conscientious about what we put on it. This is why our company is willing to pay more to buy certified organic, kosher, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil to make your bar of Handcrafted Goat Milk Castile Soap. We were even blessed enough to get a barrel from Castilla, err uhh, we mean Spain this time. Isn’t that nostalgic?

Please share this article with your friends and family so they, too, can learn what castile means. 

If you’d like to try Roamstead Naturals Handcrafted Goat Milk Castile Soap, you can order online or pick some up at the Community Co-op in Little Falls, NY, Mohawk Harvest in Gloversville, NY, or Just For the Health of It in Johnstown, NY. 

Thank you for supporting our small family farm business.