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Royally Good Soap

Posted on 30 May 2017

Since the Middle Ages big blocks of olive oil based soap have been crafted in the South of France. In 1688, Louis XIV passed a law decreeing that only soap made according to strict, ancient methods could bear the famous mark "Savon de Marseille."

The authentic Marseilles soap is 100% natural, exclusively made with vegetable oils such as olive oil, without any animal fats, colouring or artificial additives. It must contain a minimum of 72% oil with the percentage stamped on each bar of soap. The soap is also stamped with its weight in grams - a practice that has been around for many years.  This allowed households to compare price & plan their supplies.

It takes around two weeks to process a block of Savon de Marseille soap & a month before the soap is ready for sale. It begins with oil & soda being mixed in a large cauldron & cooked at 120 degrees Celsius for eight to ten days. The long boiling process allows the finished soap bars to be kept for years without turning rancid.

The mixture is washed several times in salt water to eliminate the soda, tipped into huge molds, & left to set for two days at 50-60 degrees Celsius. It is then cut into cubes & set out in a well-aired place to completely dry.  During this process it is turned from time-to-time to expose each of the six sides to the air.

Enthusiasts claim that the combination of Marseille's fierce sun, Mistral wind & salty sea air contribute to its soap's distinctive character. The characteristic white bloom on the finished soap is a faint residue of sea salt & soon washes off.

Proud of their heritage & legacy, there are a handful of manufacturers still making the soap using these traditional methods.

Savon de Marseille soap is totally biodegradable & requires minimal packaging. The purity & simplicity of this iconic soap is increasingly recognised as both ecological & economical. Dermatologists the world over, recommend Marseille Soap for people with skin allergies & dry or sensitive skin.

Apart from being exquisite, ultra-moisturizing skincare, it is also used for washing silk & other delicate fabrics. A folk remedy even claims that placing a bar of Marseille soap at the foot of your bed helps alleviate rheumatic pain.

In France, Savon de Marseille soap has been trusted for generations to cleanse everything from linens to little faces. Urbano Village is proud to stock authentic Savon de Marseille soap.


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