Natural Beauty: Dr Bronner’s Organic Hand & Body Shikakai Soap

Dr Bronner’s liquid soap is a longtime bathroom staple that I’ve used for as long as I can remember. I always have a bottle in my stash. It’s made from natural organic ingredients, reasonably priced, and is gentle on the skin as it doesn’t contain sodium laureth sulfate or other irritants. One day browsing I noticed that it was in a different shaped bottle then a closer look told me it was an entirely different product. This is Dr Bronner’s Shikakai liquid soap. A propos of nothing “shikakai” is a fun word to say. Try saying it without smiling. I bet you can’t.


So what is this shikakai anyway? It’s a shrub native to India with high levels of saponins, which are phytochemicals with natural lathering properties. The pods, leaves and bark are dried to make the powder which has been used for an eternity as a natural shampoo and body cleanser.

See below for the difference in ingredients between the original Dr Bronner’s Castile soap and the shikakai soap. As you can see the formulae are similar with the crucial difference aside from the shikakai being that grape juice instead of water is used as the main ingredient. All the oils are why there is non of the stripping sensation. Grape juice and sugar are humectants that help the skin retain moisture.

Dr Bronner Castile soap vs shikakai soap
Credit: http://www.LisaBronner.com

The scent of the lavender shikakai soap is quite pungent. It’s not a floral lavender, more of a “chop chop, get a move on” bracing aroma which I like in the mornings and for hand washing. I prefer it to the original as it feels much more moisturising. For skincare, it’s also much more user-friendly. It’s runnier so it comes out of the pump easily and doesn’t clog up at all like the original is want to. With the original you need to dilute it whilst with the shikakai you can just pump and use. I wouldn’t use the shikakai for any household task but I do think it’s great for washing makeup brushes.

DrBronners Shikakai soap brush washing

All my years of using Dr Bronner’s and I had never actually read the label until recently. There is a lot to take in (#understatement) on the founder’s “All-One’ philosophy (read the 30,000 word manifesto at your leisure). The business is still family owned and what shouts out loud and clear is that aside from the organic ingredients, ethical fair-trading seems to be deeply ingrained in the company’s DNA with doing the right thing by employees, suppliers and the universe a priority!

Dr Bronner’s Shikakai Soap, 356ml, RRP £7.29 www.drbronner.co.uk 

Dr Bronner’s Shikakai Lavender Soap ingredients: Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Sucrose*, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Lavender Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

  1. I’ve been looking for a natural organic hand soap for weeks. I bought one from Wholefoods but it smells like primary school soap – disgusting! I’ve used Dr B’s shower gel but didn’t even realise there was also a hand soap range. Will defo check it out – and smell before I part with my money! 😉

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