Have you ever stopped to read the writing on the Dr. Bronner’s Soap?

I hadn’t until recently. Because I always saw it around my ecologically-minded friends’ houses, and I assumed that all that writing was a list of the organic and fair trade certifications.

Yes, Dr. Bronner’s soaps are certified fair trade, certified under the USDA National Organic program, biodegradable, and packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Oh, and they’re vegan. And there’s no animal testing.

But that’s not the only thing that’s on the soap label. Amongst the ingredient lists, the certifications, and the warnings (don’t drink the soap!), are exclamation-ridden mandates like:

Absolute cleanliness is Godliness!

and

Whatever unites us is greater than whatever divides us!

Also gems like:

“WE MUST TEACH LOVE OUR ENEMY OR PERISH! BEASTS TEACH ONLY THEIR FRIENDS! But after 2,000 years it never got done! The godless beasts still disapproved! Result? These tremendous 13 words never got printed! Because the brilliant 48-year-young Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman’s book peace of Mind was distorted after he dropped dead! Diagnosis? ‘Sudden heart attack!’ Exactly as suffered by Rabbi Jesus, Spinoza, Thomas paine, Samuel Friedman, Steiner-prag and Rabbi Leo Black. 6 & 66 million ‘sudden heart attacks,’ murders caused by us godless intolerant Beasts.”

Huh. Alright.

What’s the deal with the weird writing?Bronner-labelDr. Emanuel Bronner was a real guy, and on the label are excerpts from his peace plan, with 30,000+ words typeset in all directions on his labels, that communicate his “All-One!” vision that unites humanity. His philosophy had a tragic origin: his parents and extended family were murdered in the Holocaust. He believed that all of humanity are children of the same divine source, and he believed us humans must all realize we are “All-One!” or we will otherwise destroy ourselves. Makes sense to me. He created his “All-One!” philosophy by smashing together insights of leaders of various faith traditions.

If you want to go down the rabbithole, read Volumes I and II of Dr. Bronner’s life work, The Moral ABC here.

18-in-1 uses?

The soap claims to have 18-in-1 uses, but apparently there wasn’t enough space on the bottle (what with The Moral ABCs) to list all 18. However, the FAQs webpage lists these uses:

…washing your face, body, hands and hair, for bathing, shaving, brushing your teeth, rinsing fruit, aromatherapy, washing dishes by hand, doing laundry, mopping floors, all-purpose cleaning, washing windows, scrubbing toilets, washing dogs, controlling dust mites, and killing ants and aphids…

More than just peppermint liquid castile soap

Guess what? That pepperminty blue-label bottle has cousins. Introducing….

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Eucalyptus Liquid Castile Soap

The ubiquitous peppermint soap’s quiet cousin. It claims eucalyptus, but it smells like Vick’s Vap-O Rub to me. Not complaining. I love smearing that on my chest when I’m congested, and I love smearing the liquid castile soap on my body…every day. Don’t forget to dilute it!

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Lavender Organic Hand Sanitizer

My favorite. It’s a spray bottle, and it doesn’t leave any gloop on your skin like conventional liquid hand sanitizers. plus it smells like walking through the best part of the herb garden. “Smells way better than any other hand sanitizer,” says my partner after I surprised-sprayed it onto her hand as she was doing her homework.

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Lip Balm (Naked)

At this point in the reviewing, I realized I definitely drank the Dr. Bronner’s Kool-Aid and needed unbiased perspectives. I co-opted my two lady-housemates into giving me their opinions, in exchange for test samples.

Says Sarah #1:

“OoOo. You put it on, but you forget it’s there, so you put some more on, and before long you’ve been rubbing it on your lips for a full minute.”

After a minute of thought (and application):

“There’s no scent, but if you smell real hard, you can get faint vestiges of honeycomb…LOVE IT.”

Thanks, Sarah #1.

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Lip Balm (Peppermint)

Says Sarah #2:

“It’s not overwhelmingly pepperminty, and that’s nice. It’s less pepperminty than Burt’s Bees lip balm–in a good way. Smooth. It makes my lips feel soft.”

Thanks, Sarah #2.

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Orange Lavender Hand & Body Lotion

I immediately broke the squirter when I tried to get the packaging open, but I’m pretty sure that was just user error. Fair warning: none of us ever put on smelly lotion, so we might not be the target demographic.

Says Sarah #1:

“It’s a little liquidy… enough that you’re afraid that it’s actually just…thin yogurt. But it smells great. You really have to rub it in. It’s a little too greasy.”

After about 3 minutes:

“But now it feels great, now that it all soaked in! So soft.”

Says Sarah #2:

“A little goes a long way. I like the smell.”

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Peppermint Castile Bar Soap

Soap. It’s effective. Which is all we’ve ever needed in bar soap.