Bargain of the Week: Kirk’s Original Coco CastilePosted: May 13, 2010
For years I’ve been seeing bars of Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap in an old-fashioned general store in a seaside town on the North Shore of Massachusetts that I love to go to. And for years I’ve been ignoring it. Just like the Clearly Natural soaps, I thought they looked cheap and of poor quality. But it just goes to show you that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Because this soap is the best soap I’ve ever used on my face. And it costs around $1.50 a bar.
We’ve all been told we shouldn’t use soap on our face because it can be too drying. But soap, in its natural form, contains glycerine, a moisturizing ingredient that is a natural by-product of saponification, the soap-making process. But glycerine is also sold separately as an ingredient, so many commercial soap manufacturers syphon off the glycerine out of soap and replace it with synthetic moisturizers. Without glycerine, these soaps can’t legally be called soap, thus we have “beauty bars,” “cleansing bars,” etc. Ever wonder why your soap isn’t called “soap”? That’s why.
In addition to the lack of glycerine, many of these “bars” contain synthetic detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodioum laureth sulfate. Most of these “bars” are also made with lard or tallow, which is actually animal fat. These “beauty bars” don’t sound quite so appealing when you know they contain fat and synthetic deterents, do they?
Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap is, in the proper sense of the word, “soap.” It contains natural glycerine. It is also vegan, as it’s not made with animal fat. Traditionally, castile is a term given to a soap made with vegetable oil rather than animal fat. The original castile soaps were made with olive oil, but the term applies today to any vegetable oil-based soap. Kirk’s calls itself “Coco Castile” because it’s made with coconut oil instead of olive oil. The result is an insanely rich lather that doesn’t strip the skin of moisture. My face doesn’t feel dry at all after washing with Kirk’s. And I can’t get enough of the fragrance. It reminds me of the British luxury soap Vinolia, the cold-cream soap that was so posh it was used on board the Titanic in the staterooms of the first-class passengers. But Vinolia is much more expensive and difficult to find than Kirk’s. Although Kirk’s doesn’t contain cold cream like Vinolia, the lather is so rich and foamy that you’d think it does.
I purchased my bar of Kirk’s at my local Market Basket supermarket, but when I went back to buy more the store was no longer carrying it. Not to worry. You can purchase Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap at iherb.com in individual bars as well as a 4-pack. IMHO, Kirk’s Original Coco Castile is better than Dove “Beauty Bar” and the now-discontinued Cream Bar by Origins (which cost over $10). Unlike Origin’s Cream Bar, however, I’m not worried about Kirk’s Coco Castile being discontinued. It’s been around since 1839, and is still manufactured today as it was then.