Since as early as the ninth century, master soap makers in Marseille have created exquisite, gentle soaps using native olive oils and the alkaline ash from marine plants of the Mediterranean.
However, it wasn’t until 1688 and an edict under the mercantilist policies of Jean-Baptiste Colbert that these fine soaps — containing 72% vegetable oils with no animal additives — came to be known as “Savon de Marseille” (Marseille Soap). Marseille Soap’s popularity continued through the 1700s. In the 1880s the number of soap works in the region peaked at nearly one hundred.
The early 1900s brought the arrival of mass-produced synthetic soaps and detergents. Washing machines made soap blocks less necessary in every home, but many households continued to trust only the purity and gentleness of the authentic green and white soaps from Marseille to wash everything from linens and floors to little faces.
Now less than five soap makers still craft Marseille Soap according to the centuries-old tradition. But the legendary soap, which was once such a basic necessity for so many generations, is being rediscovered for the natural luxury and delicate care it provides.
Who would have dreamed that after so many centuries, the Savon de Marseille could be obtained through something like the Internet. Now we are honored to bring you the finest soap in the world, handmade by our master soap makers of southern France. Once you experience the soft, gentle and pure feeling of Marseille olive oil soap, like us, you may never use anything else.
It takes our Maitre de Savon (soapmaster) two weeks to make Savon de Marseille. The delicate mixture of olive oil, alkaline ash from sea plants and Mediterranean Sea salted water are heated for ten days in antique 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 the 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. Allowing it to dry and harden will make it last longer.
Savon de Marseille 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 skins. In France it has been trusted for generations to cleanse everything from linens to little faces.
Savon de Marseille is totally biodegradable, requires little packaging and its manufacture is environmentally friendly. Authentic Savon de Marseille is stamped with its weight in grams — a practice left over from years ago which allowed households to compare prices and plan their inventories.
Marseille, 13007 France
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