Liquid soaps or traditional bar soap? Which is the most popular? Whether you ask everyday shoppers or artisan soap makers, this is a question that always creates something of a debate…!

The thing is that both forms of soap definitely have their strong points. With bar soap, you get that timeless satisfaction of turning a beautiful object in your hands and creating a luxurious lather. You also get some really aesthetically pleasing designs which are perfect for ornamenting your bathroom or giving to friends and family as gifts.

Then again, liquid soaps, body washes and shower gels also make excellent gifts. And they too can look incredibly attractive in the bathroom. In fact, certain high-end brands and small producers now create liquid soap products that rival the best perfumes and give them a run for their money in terms of their fragrance, design and overall appeal.

The debate could go on forever, but what we do know is that in the UK, 63% of women and 58% of men shower once a day. And when it comes to showering, it’s shower gels and body washes that really sell. In 2018, an estimated 30.6 million people used shower gels and bath products once a day or more. Meanwhile, over in the USA, showering alone uses around 1.7 trillion gallons of water per year!

So whichever form of soap you think is best, it’s clear that there is now a very substantial market for liquid soap products. This is why we thought that in this post it would be a nice idea to share some of our best liquid soap product recipes. They all make use of our high quality Castile Soap Bases and simply require the addition of essential oils to create unique fragrances.

Article contents

  • What is Castile Soap?
  • How Thick Should a Liquid Soap Product Be?
  • Rose and Bergamot Refreshing Hand Wash
  • Daily Facial Cleanser with Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint
  • Aromatic Men’s Body Wash with Sandalwood and Myrrh
  • Revitalising Orange Bath Gel with Vitamin A, B and C
  • Go Out There and Get Creative!


What is Castile Soap?

Castile soap is a centuries old form of soap that originated in Castile – a historical region of Spain. Unlike soaps made with animal fats, Castile soap was traditionally made with olive oil. Today, Castile soap can be made with a range of vegetable oils to help the soap lather and moisturise the skin.

We have two different Castille bases to choose from at O&3 – Castille Soap Base (Liquid) and our Castille Soap Certified Organic Base (Liquid).

Castille Soap Base (Liquid) is a natural liquid soap base that requires the simple addition of certified essential oils for fragrance. Made with organic vegetable oil, this base has a natural translucent pale yellow colour and its origin is the UK. It is surfactant-free and contains no parabens, no mineral oil compounds and no sulphates. It also contains no glycols, phthalates, PEGS, PPG or DEA.

Castille Soap Certified Organic Base (Liquid) offers the same benefits but is additionally certified by Soil Association COSMOS so is particularly well suited to companies that prioritise the sustainability and provenance of their ingredients.

How thick should a liquid soap product be?

This is a good question and one that is particularly important for anyone producing hand-made soaps. Across the market, you’ll always tend to find a wide range of thicknesses when it comes to liquid soap products. At one end of the spectrum, there are very thin hand washes that are designed to spread over the hands easily and quickly. This makes them practical for regular hand washing in a kitchen or a bathroom setting. Then, right at the other end of the spectrum, there are some incredibly thick bath gels available. The idea here is that the thickness gives a luxurious skin feel and adds a premium quality to the product. These are perfect for those long relaxing soaks.

Our Castille bases give you free play and plenty of design options. Both bases can be used either as they are or can be blended with salt to achieve different levels of thickness. The amount of salt that you add controls the thickness – the more salt, the thicker your end product. Always bear in mind that there is no such thing as an ideal consistency because the right thickness all comes down to what works best with your overall product design.

An important factor that you should always consider, however, is the kind of packaging that you are going to use for your final product. As a general rule, if the product is to be used with a pump system in a bottle, then you should aim for a thin to medium thickness. This tends to be best as it means that the liquid can travel through the pump easily. If, on the other hand, the product is going to be packaged in any kind of container with a cap then a thicker liquid soap product works well. Remember, too, that to gain certification for your end product you should use salt tablets with no anti-caking agent.

Now let’s take a look at some of our favourite Castile soap base recipes.

Rose and Bergamot Refreshing Hand Wash

This hand wash recipe is a particular favourite of ours at O&3. It combines rose and bergamot for a classic English, floral scent and is incredibly easy to produce. A perfect, timeless product for an artisan soap company that sits well in any bathroom or kitchen.

Begin by combining Castille Soap Base (Liquid) with Rose Otto, Essential Oil. This oil is steam distilled from the petals of the Bulgarian Rose Damascena and provides a premium fragrance. To this mixture, carefully blend in Bergamot, Essential Oil. Our Bergamot oil is produced in the beautiful rolling hills of Sicily and lends a refreshing citrus scent to the hand wash to subtly complement the rose.

Daily Facial Cleanser with Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint

This is our stand-out recipe for a facial cleanser that can be used morning and night as part of a daily skin care regime. The blend of essential oils purifies the skin and at the same time stimulates the senses with a menthol kick.

Start with our Castille Soap Base (Liquid) and sparingly add Tea Tree, Essential Oil. This oil is well known for its antiseptic properties and is an excellent choice for a face wash; by reducing inflammation, tea tree oil works effectively on blemishes and scars. Next, add Peppermint Mentha Piperita, Essential Oil which, like all of our mint, is grown and distilled in India. This particular peppermint oil adds an especially potent minty aroma to the cleanser.

Aromatic Men’s Body Wash with Sandalwood and Myrrh

This shower gel recipe for men has a strong and exotic character and is also ideal for those with skin conditions such as eczema.

Start with our Castille Soap Base (Liquid) and add Sandalwood Australian, Essential Oil. The sweet, woody aroma of this oil also has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-proliferation properties, making it very well-suited to a body wash. Combine your blend with Myrrh, Essential Oil, an ingredient most often associated with the three wise men! Like Sandalwood, Myrrh has a very potent aroma and also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Our Myrrh oil comes from the trunk of the Commiphora Myrrha tree in Somalia. The tree is pierced and cut to collect the resin which is then steam distilled.

Revitalising Orange Bath Gel with Vitamin A, B and C

This bath gel recipe is ideal for a revitalising soak. It blends orange with vanilla for a beautifully sweet fragrance. And, the Vitamin A, B and C that this gel includes gives the product very strong shelf appeal.

Begin with Castille Soap Base (Liquid) and add Vanilla, Infused in Sunflower Oil. This oil is both less intense then pure vanilla oil and more affordable. Additionally, it is a good hydrator. Incidentally, this oil also works well in body lotions and lip care products. Then, combine your mixture with Orange Sweet, Essential Oil. This oil provides the vitamin A, B and C of the recipe and, of course, gives a sweet citrus scent. It comes from orange peel and its origin is Brazil.

Go Out There and Get Creative!

So whether your personal preference is for traditional bar soap or liquid soap, it’s clear that there is very high demand now for liquid soap products both in the UK and overseas. Our Castille Soap Liquid Bases, made from organic vegetable oil, help artisan soap makers to respond to this demand and produce their own unique range of soaps.

Combining these bases with our extensive range of essential oils allows you to create innumerable scent combinations and distinctive fragrances. By adding ordinary salt to your recipes you can also increase the thickness of your products to the desired level. From hand-crafted hand washes and daily facial cleansers to shower gels, exotic body washes and luxurious bath gels, there are unlimited castile soap base uses and everything is possible. So take inspiration from our favourite recipes and go out there and get creative!