Thursday, May 21, 2009

Soap of the Day: Savon de Marseille

I was fortunate enough to find this soap in Peddler's Village in PA. At first, I thought it was a counterfeit Savon de Marseille (is there such thing?). I realize now, that the reason why the markings are slightly different is because it is the hard-milled bar, which is mechanically pressed into a harder soap. I'm guessing they took out some of the glycerin. Either way, a fabulous bar.
This soap has a wonderful little history. Crafted for over 1,000 years in the south of France, french law decreed that soaps that are produced by "certain ancient methods" can be stamped with the famous Savon de Marseille markings.

The soap takes two weeks to make and is made with a combination of olive and vegtable oils, ash from sea plants and sea water from the Mediterranean. The mixture is heated for 10 days and then poured into open pits where it slowly hardens. The soap is then cut into cubes, stamped and set out to dry in the sun.

Marseille Soap is traditionally green or white, but newer variations include soaps made with palm oil, which is red or white, and a lavender soap, which is a purple color with lavender buds. All of the soaps have to made with at least 50% olive oil to be considered savon de Marseille. Marseille Soap is recommended by dermatologists throughout the world for dry skin and other ailments.

Check out their site for more information: