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8 Castile Soap Substitutes (That Are Also Plant Based)

Castile soap is an amazing plant-based soap that has a variety of self-care and household uses. Unfortunately, some people may have a sensitivity to it and need to look for an alternative. So, I decided to compile this list of solid alternative plant-based soaps, including their benefits and drawbacks.

1. Coconut Oil Soap

Coconut Oil Soap

Coconut oil soap comes from 100% refined coconut oil. Ingredients such as lye and distilled water are also incorporated. This soap is suitable for washing both skin and hair and offers great moisturizing qualities. 

You can make coconut oil soap from the comfort of your home by following the instructions in this Youtube Video:

Due to its high-fat content, coconut oil soap has a long shelf-life. It is also jam-packed with beneficial fatty acids such as oleic acid and lauric acid, which help to reduce acne-causing bacteria.

Other benefits include:

  • Moisturizing the skin.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Cleansing (it is antibacterial and antifungal).
  • Conditioning both skin and hair.
  • It also lathers quite well.

Unfortunately, this soap can dry out skin, so avoid using it too often if you are prone to dry skin. Here is a good coconut oil brand, available on Amazon.

2. Tea Tree Soap

Homemade calendula and tea tree herbal natural soap

Tea tree soap comes from oil extracted from the tea tree leaves. It is excellent for acne-prone and oily skin, and you may also process the oil for a shampoo. You may also add other natural herb essential oils such as rosemary, mint, lavender, and sage to enhance its qualities.

This soap efficiently cleans skin since it contains antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. It can also significantly reduce acne, dandruff, head lice, and athlete’s foot in mild to moderate cases. 

Tea tree oil soap also has anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an excellent choice for reducing itchiness and irritation.

The downside to using tea tree oil is that it can elicit an allergic reaction, which could have serious health effects. Some people may also find the smell of tea tree oil off-putting.

I suggest purchasing the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Bar from Amazon. This soap lathers well as an effective exfoliant, and you can also use it when shaving.

3. Lemongrass Soap

Freshly made organic bar of lemongrass soap on an old wooden table

The primary ingredient in lemongrass soap is lemongrass essential oil, which comes from the plant’s stalks and leaves. You may also combine lemongrass with other essential oils, such as rosemary and shea butter, which boost its effectiveness.

It can be used as a hand, face, and body soap and is especially popular for its beautiful scent. The benefits of lemongrass soap include:

  • Antibacterial and Antifungal properties
  • Exfoliation of dead cells
  • Toning uneven skin
  • Managing oily skin 

Lemongrass soap is not for everyone. Pregnant women and individuals suffering from chronic medical conditions are advised not to use lemongrass soap unless given the go-ahead by their doctor.

Plantlife Lemongrass Aromatherapy Herbal Soap moisturizes and nourishes the skin. It is suitable for all skin types and contains ingredients that are gentle on the skin.

4. Sheabutter Soap

Bowl with shea butter and two bars behind

Shea butter soap comes from shea butter oil, processed from kernels found in shea fruits (native to West Africa). Sheabutter oil is also used in manufacturing hair shampoo and is one of the more luxurious soaps.

Sheabutter soaps/shampoos may also incorporate other natural oils such as avocado and jojoba oil.

The benefits of this soap include:

  • It contains fewer allergens, making it relatively safer when compared to other plant-based soaps.
  • Moisturizes and conditions
  • It contains antioxidants, which have anti-aging effects
  • Fast-absorbing into skin
  • Lathers quite well

Sheabutter shampoo benefits the scalp and hair by providing a gentle cleanse that moisturizes a dry scalp while softening and detangling hair.

Sheabutter is quite thick and, therefore, may not benefit those of us with oily skin as it may contribute to further clogging up skin pores.

Consider purchasing The Yellow Bird Shea Butter Soap Bar, which is vegan, unscented, and hypoallergenic.

5. Neem Soap

Bar of neem bath soap

Neem soap comes from neem oil, which manufacturers process from the Neem tree’s seeds. This tree is native to the Mediterranean region, where neem soap is also quite popular. Neem soap also doubles up as an insect repellant and is suitable for skin and hair.

Goat milk is a common ingredient in neem soap, but there are also 100% vegan alternatives available.

Some key benefits of neem soap include:

  • It soothes irritated skin and helps reduce skin infections.
  • It contains antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Neem soap clears blemishes and tones uneven skin.
  • It moisturizes the skin.
  • Neem oil may reduce acne.
  • Rich in antioxidants, which have anti-aging effects.

Some people may be allergic to neem soap; you should discontinue use in such cases. It would be best to test the soap on a small portion of your skin to ascertain that you are not allergic.

Himalaya Purifying Soap is a suitable vegan, environmentally friendly alternative that is cruelty-free and dermatologically tested. 

6. Glycerine Soap

Four bars of glycerine soap

Plant-based glycerin soap comes from vegetable and plant oils containing high triglyceride levels, such as coconut, soy, and palm. The process of making glycerine soap involves the application of temperature and pressure to harden the soap.

Pure glycerine soap does not contain harsh ingredients such as alcohol, which strip the skin of its natural oils.

Here are other benefits of using glycerine soap:

  • This soap is hypoallergenic, meaning the likelihood of causing an allergic reaction is relatively low.
  • Glycerine has hydrating and moisturizing effects on the skin.
  • It may remedy dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
  • It does not contain any toxins or irritants.

Glycerin soap absorbs water well, meaning that your soap bar may not last as long as other soaps. Additionally, it may be more expensive than synthetic soaps since the pure natural raw materials cost more.

Clearly Glycerin Bar Soap is an unscented, cruelty-free glycerin soap that you can get from Amazon. It also rinses easily off the skin.

7. Rice Milk Soap (or Rice Water Soap)

Spa setting with rice milk bowl, flowers, salt, soap and towel on white background

Rice milk soap comes from natural rice water extract and combines with a soap base and different essential oils to make the soap. Rice milk soap is excellent on skin and hair, reducing oiliness and moisturizing effectively.

Using rice soap has the following benefits for skin and hair:

  • Rice soap offers moisturizing effects.
  • The soap rids the skin of excess oil.
  • It gives the skin a gentle glow.
  • It evens out the skin tone.
  • Rice soap is easy to make at home.

The main disadvantage of rice soap is that it is quite starchy and can leave build-up on skin and hair if you do not thoroughly rinse it after washing. If you choose to make it at home, you ought to be careful to maintain the proper pH balance. Otherwise, it may be too acidic and damage your skin.

This video will guide you on making the natural rice milk soap from home with just a few essential ingredients:

8. African Black Soap

African Black Soap

African black soap is native to West Africa and is made by sun drying and roasting the leaves of plants such as palm leaves, cacao pods, and shea barks (hence its dark color).

You can use this soap on skin and hair, and it has the following advantages:

  • It contains antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • African black soap does not cause build-up or leave a residue.
  • The soap acts as an exfoliant.
  • It may help to soothe irritated skin and eczema.
  • The soap contains moisturizing properties.

Although it is native to West Africa, African black soap is available in many soap stores in the US. You can also make it from home using accessible materials.

Unfortunately, it is not recommended for everyday use because it may cause the skin to dry out and result in irritation. The best option is to use it every other day to exfoliate the skin.

Shea Moisture African Black Soap is suitable for use on blemish-prone skin. It is blended with essential oils such as tea tree to gently purify the skin. This soap also has a mattifying effect on oily skin.


The best Castile Soap Substitutes:

  1. Coconut Oil Soap
  2. Tea Tree Soap 
  3. Lemongrass Soap
  4. Sheabutter Soap 
  5. Neem Soap
  6. Glycerine Soap
  7. Rice Milk Soap (or rice water soap)
  8. African Black Soap

For more, don’t miss The 5 Best Types of Lye for Soap Making (And Where To Get It).