Big blocks of olive oil-based soap have been crafted since the Middle Ages in the South of France. In 1688 it became law that only soaps made according to strict, ancient methods could be labelled "Savon de Marseille."
Only a few savonneries (soap factories) near Marseille still make this legendary soap in the traditional manner. But Marseille Soap is once again being rediscovered for its simple purity and gentle skin care, and its popularity is on the rise worldwide.
It takes the Maitre de Savon (soap master) two weeks to make Marseille Soap. The delicate mixture of olive and vegetable oils, alkaline ash from sea plants and Mediterranean Sea-salted water is heated for ten days in very old cauldrons, then poured into open pits where it hardens. Cut into cubes and stamped, the soaps are then set out to dry in the sun and mistral winds.
The fine white powder on the surface of the soap is a bit of sea salt, which will disappear once the soap is wet. This beloved characteristic affirms the authenticity of genuine Savon de Marseille. Fresh Marseille Soap can be a bit moist and slimy. Allowing it to dry and harden will make it last longer.
Marseille Soap is traditionally green or white. The white soap is made with palm oil, the green with at least 50% olive oil. Both varieties are exquisite, ultra-moisturizing skin care.
Marseille Soap is recommended by dermatologists throughout the world for dry skin and other ailments. Its incredible purity and moisturizing properties make it ideal for sensitive skin. In France, it has been trusted for generations to cleanse everything from linens to little faces.
Marseille Soap is totally biodegradable, requires little packaging and its manufacture is environmentally friendly. Authentic Marseille Soap is stamped with its weight in grams - a practice left over from years ago which allowed households to compare prices and plan their inventories.