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Trader Joe's Castille Soap Discontinued!

There's some controversy about the use of castille soap as a shampoo. For example, popular YouTuber Kim , of KimmayTube tested the ph of Bronner's Castille Soap and found it to be much higher than the recommended range for hair (between 4 and 5). You can watch her explain her findings.

She also did an informative series fraught with good visuals on understanding the effects of ph on hair.

That said, I've been using diluted castille soap successfully for YEARS, but I've never tried Bronner's Castille Soap.
I had a bottle of Trader Joe's Castille Soap.

Turns out Trader Joe's formula includes Aloe Vera --which has an acidic ph---probably bringing down the overall ph of the product--perhaps balancing it for hair. The manufacturer recommends it's use as a shampoo right on the bottle's label.

I did not get a chance to personally test the ph of my bottle, because by the time I noticed Aloe as an ingredient of my castille soap, the bottle was empty and I was on my way to Trader Joe's to buy a new one. I was very disappointed to learn they are no longer selling their brand and promoting Bronner's Castille Soap instead. My bottle lasted for years--a little bit diluted yielded a rich sudsy solution. I'm sorry to see the product go. The representative had no information about why they had stopped selling it.

I can't recommend Bronner's, because I've never tried it--but I've read that some people report success using it diluted as well. You may want to test it for yourself and see how you like it. Test the ph for yourself, and if it's not in a safe range for hair, I'd leave it alone.


  1. Natacha,

    Can you please tell me what kinds of things you use on your daughters' hair...I'm talkin' shampoo, conditioner, daily moisturizing, for styling, everything? It seems I've done so much trial and error that I'd like to try some of the things that someone who's doing it all the time does. And how often do you use each thing? I want to take really good care of my daughter's hair and I want it to look good. Your blog helps me so much with styling ideas. I just love it! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge :)

  2. Hi Staci,
    I understand your frustration. If you look up my January post on picking shampoos, conditioners and oils I share the process I go through to find products for my family. Honestly, I can give you my list of stuff that works faithfully for me and your daughter's hair hates it all. I DO understand how frustrating and overwhelming all the trial and error can be.

  3. --I had to break up the answer in 2 posts because of length.

    Don't give up and keep it simple. My stuff is really simple---sulfate free shampoo, silicone free conditioner, apple cider vinegar, natural oil (coconut and castor) and shea butter. I recently tried diluted aloe vera juice in plain water as a detangling spritz and loved it. I keep it very simple and if it works I stay with what I have. I'm not brand loyal either--that's why I didn't name specific brands.

  4. Thank you so much! I'll definitely take a look at your January post. This at least gives me more of a starting place. I REALLY appreciate it! Have a great weekend :)

  5. Have you experimented with using glycerin as a humectant? I had heard it could be used as a natural humectant, but before I put some on my daughter's hair I wanted to ask and see if you or anyone you know has used it successfully, or if there is any reasons it might not be advisable.


  6. @Beki
    For some reason my hair hates plain glycerin. I bought a bottle from the health food store and never bothered to try it on the girls. I have had some success with glycerin based products. A lot of the moisturizers like scurl ect. are glycerin based and do keep the strands supple. Personally, they smell too strong for me and tend to build up quickly. Lots of people love them though, so it's worth a try.

  7. Also--I'm told castor oil is a humectant and it's my all time favorite. Technically, it shouldn't work in winter but I use it year round. I apply it to wet/damp hair.

  8. Hi Natacha, I just wanted to mention that I tried to add you as a friend on FB because we wanted to give you a blog award :) I am Steph with, we have a FB page and the website. We awarded 3 blogs "beautiful blogger" award and yours was one. you can read the post where we talk about the award here:

    your blog and your family are beautiful! i especially loved the recent video "what if my child grows up and relaxes her hair"


  9. Oh thank you so much for the award--I am floored!

    Hope you understand about my personal FB page--I try to keep it to real life friends and family. I try to be wise about what I share publicly. My personal FB has nothing to do with hair anyway. The FB Cherish My Daughter Fanpage is open to all.

  10. I have two questions for you use castille soap as a body wash? We bought some bars of Dr. Bonner's last time we were at Trader Joe's. Should we maybe not be using that on her skin?

    What is a humectant?



  11. I have never tried Dr. Bonner's brand. I had Trader Joe's brand which seems to be a different formulation. Does Bonner's contain aloe? I know both formulas are marketed for shampooing AND bathing. I have used the Trader Joe's brand for bathing, but not regularly. I didn't have a problem with it. I always followed up with a good moisturizer--like shea butter.

    A humectant is something that draws moisture to itself. If you put it in your hair it will draw moisture from the environment to your hair. If there is no moisture in the environment it will suck the moisture from your hair.

  12. Ok, thanks!

    No mention of aloe on the Dr Bronner's bar. Ingredients are listed as...coconut oil, palm oil, water, mentha arvensis, olive oil, hemp oil, jojoba oil, peppermint oil, salt, citric acid, and tocopherol. Do you notice any red flags there? Would you recommend something else as a body wash instead?

    I'm so glad that instead of simply recommending products, you explain how to understand products and hair. At our house, we've started calling you the Professor of Hair. (That might look good on a business card!) Thanks so much.

  13. The ingredients sound really good--my only red flag is the controversy I've been hearing about online concerning the ph balance of castille soap being too high for hair. Here's the youtube video that sparked all the discussion Her entire ph series is insightful. I liked the Trader Joe's formula, and would have continued using it but it was different from Bronner's. I wonder is the acid int he aloe canceled out Kimmay's findings. I also wonder why Trader Joe's stopped selling their formula.

  14. @Terri--LOL at the professor of hair! I like that! I'm just tired of buying products that can't possibly do what the manufacturer is promising. Staying ignorant can cost me too much money. Check out I really enjoy her scientific tidbits.

  15. Hope you don't mind my popping on to your blog. I also used the Trader Joe's brand and LOVED it. I went to purchase a new bottle at Trader Joes and the gentleman at my store told me that Dr. Bronners was suing trader joes for selling castile soap. So Trader Joe's pulled the line of soap until further notice. I was just online looking for information to support this and stumbled on your post. A shame if it's true.

  16. My name is Nitin from Toronto. I am interested in your writing. Some of your posting are good, I can say, best. Can you please tell me how to subscribe to your blog post online?


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