The genuine Marseille soap
It is unfortunately easy to find on the market, so called savon de Marseille which in fact have not much to nothing in common with the true Marseille soap. So how to be sure we get a genuine product?
Vegetal oils, no fragrance nor color
A Marseille soap is traditionally shaped as a cube whose weight goes from 300 grams for the smallest and 1 kilo for biggest. Nowadays, it can be found in a more common size and shape, as a 100 grams bar soap.
A real Marseille soap never contains saponified animal fat, which is called Sodium Tallowate in theINCI list of ingredients.
It is always made with vegetable oils, which give this soap its natural color.
Olive oil based.
Coco or palm oil based.
Green or white, a genuine Marseille cube soap has no added fragrance and must contains a minimum mandatory of 72 % of extra pur saponified oil.
Since it must also be dye-free, its color will change as it is aging and turn beige, pale white or brown.
The saponification process
Above all, a genuine Marseille soap must have been handcrafted according to the ancestral method of saponification.
This rigorous method requires not only a patient cooking in a cauldron, but also many crutial steps during all the manufacturing process.
That is through this method of saponification that genuine Marseille soaps get their best features which make them so famous.
Unfortunately, the name savon de Marseillle is not a protected name and everybody can make a soap and called it Marseille soap, which is clearly fooling consumers.
For the sake of transparency and in order to keep a quality product, traditional soapmakers are calling for a legislation to be put in place so that only soaps made according to this strict manufacturing process may bear the name or designation “Marseille soap”.
This soap, beyond its primary function, is a true piece of heritage and know-how; a savoir-faire developed through centuries and has always been the subject of intense and passionate debat, even quite far back in time, in the 19th century. Marseille soap is not a typical soap!
A versatile long-lasting soap
One of Marseille soap famous characteristics is that it may be used as a soap for the body but also as a detergent to wash things up.
In Europe, it is the favourite of hikers and campers because they only need a single soap to shower, to do their laundry and dish washing. A Marseille soap is also quickly biodegradable and last a lot longer than any other soaps. A proof that less is more!
Fragrances in Marseille soaps
400 years ago, Marseille soaps were made mainly for household purposes, especially to wash clothing and linens.
Nowadays, soap makers have developed scented Marseille soaps. This is not contradictory since they are simply raw Marseille soaps, whose fragrances are incorporated afterwards by using cold crushing technics.
However, in order to be accurate, scented Marseille soaps should actually be called “scented soaps with a Marseille soap base” or simply “scented soaps from Marseille”.