Not at ALL What You Thought

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

When I became a dreadlockaphile, that is, even before I started actually wearin locs on my head, I did the research. I wanted to know the mechanics of the things, the philosophy/ies, the history, and, of course, the care and feeding. I got kinda worried when I kept reading about the necessity of keepin stuff out of my locs. Ain nothin s'posed to be in locs except tightly-rolled hair. Unfortunately, the shampoos and hair dressings I'd gotten used to --thick moisturizers and creamy conditioning treatments, for example-- when I was chemically straightening my hair (and even during parts of the Natural period), I was told, would get stuck in the locs and gunk ‘em up.

What I needed was a really good clarifying shampoo, something that would clean my hair, but not dry it out.

After reading this book (I told y'all about that one before, didn’t I?), I was overjoyed: Lonnice told us about Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, and, bless God, I found it at the health-food store up the street from my house!

This was some time after I had started lockin my hair, some time after I had tried a lot of stuff. I was really excited to find Dr. Bronner, but also, after having been disappointed many times by advertised-“natural” stuff, ready to be proven wrong about said excitement. I love these products, but didn’t like this, which was a shame. This was a tad steep. But Dr. Bronner came through, honey (which is a good thing because the first thing I bought was the absolutely gigantic, 32-oz peppermint bottle).

I love it. It’s concentrated, though it doesn’t say that on the bottle (and more on what it does say on the bottle later), so I can actually dilute it by 50% and still have the most wonderful, rich, lathery, clarifying shampoo (and, by the way, shower “gel” and/or bubble bath) I have ever encountered. I work it out to about $6 for 64 oz. of pure liquid gold, and that ain nothin to sneeze at. And it smells heavenly. For me, there is something about showering and shampooing, when I do it right, that puts a whole new face on things outside the bathroom. (And since, like most black people --who usually have really dry hair-- I bathe daily, but shouldn’t shampoo quite as often [unless I want my hair to behave like kindling], I manage to keep the experience fresh with a weekly or bi-weekly Shampoo Ceremony.) And, as I barely mentioned before, I buy the peppermint (cuz Dr. Bronner’s comes in peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender), made with organic oils, whatever they are.

As amazing as the inside of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap bottle (or more amazing) is the label. The late Dr. Bronner, I understand, was a “Soapmaker, Master Chemist and Essene Rabbi,” and he used –well, uses, beyond the grave yet—his bottles to propound his beliefs, like “Enjoy only two cosmetics, enough sleep and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap to clean body-mind-soul-spirit instantly uniting One! All One!” The mantra “All One! All One!” appears over and over on every bottle’s label, nearly every inch of which is covered with various and sundry ideas and principles (144, and numbered, in fact, on the 32-oz. bottle). The “facial pack” instructions end, “Within 9 minutes, you feel fresh, mint-clean. . . .ready to teach the whole Human race the moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith!. . . .ALL ONE! ALL ONE! ALL ONE!”

Dr. Bronner’s label refers to Jesus Christ as “[Einstein’s] Hillel-taught carpenter,” quotes Thomas Paine and incorporates Kipling’s “If”; it invokes Buddha and Mohammed. Good readin while soakin in the tub, huh? But bring a magnifying glass, along with your regular reading glasses: the type in spots is really, really small.

Of course, I noticed the bottle’s eccentricity right away, before I’d bought one. But Lonnice swears by it. As do right many people, apparently. The owner of the health-food store where I bought it replied, “Girl, I don’t know. I don’t even try to read it,” when I asked her, “What in the world??”

“But,” she said, “it’s some good soap!”


It is.

Brother Jesus, bless those totally committed to leave a legacy of humanity behind them.


  • At 8:53 PM , Blogger Ranuel said...

    I tried to post this once already. Hope it isn't a duplicate.


    My hair is so dry that even short washing it more than once a week is too damaging. It's hard to find a shampoo that isn't too oily or doesn't make my hair frizz that's under a dollar a bottle. I'll have to look for this the next time I go to Mother Earth.

  • At 5:47 PM , Blogger ribblefizz said...

    I feel kinda weird saying this because (once again) you know how I am, but... I really really like the way you've started ending every entry with a prayer. It's like.. an after dinner mint or something, and I don't mean that in the slightly dismissive way it sounds. I can't articulate it any better, but they perfectly complete your posts.

  • At 5:47 PM , Blogger ribblefizz said...

    Oh, also I want one of those shampoos just to read the bottle, heh.


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