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How do we distinguish right from wrong?

Believe it or not, the term "Savon de Marseille" is not a protected designation. It is more and more overused, despite both ancient and recent texts defining its characteristics. This makes it very difficult for consumers to be sure they are buying a genuine soap. So tell me, if you have Savon de Marseille, is yours the real thing? 

The real soap has for centuries been made in Marseille and its region, using a traditional process, in a cauldron, exclusively using only vegetable oils. It was free from fragrance, dye, and preservative. Today ... a soap called "Savon de Marseille" is manufactured mostly outside of the Provence region and not even in France. It is made up mainly of animal fats, and chemical additives (preservatives, colourings and fragrances containing allergens). The "Union of Professionals of Marseille Soap" under 1901 law, founded an association in September 2011, aiming to defend, promote and publicise the authentic Provence soap.

A Collective Mark

 It was essential to create a distinctive sign, as shown above, to ensure the consumers that the product bearing it is a true Savon de Marseille, the criteria defined in the specifications adopted by the association (see next section).
 The collective mark is represented by a logo recalling the buffers used by the soap of Marseille region, around a cube, a sign of recognition of the Savon de Marseille form.


Savon de Marseille


The real soap is defined by three essential criteria:

  • The composition
  • Its manufacturing process
  • The geographical originOnly manufacturers respecting this charter may apply the collective mark.

Savon de Marseille Composition

Savon de Marseille is a hard soap, which can take different sizes and shapes: cube, cuboid, oval, or chips and flakes.
It should be:

  • made exclusively from vegetable oils
  • unscented
  • without dye
  • without additives
  • without processing aid

Manufacturing Process

Authentic soap is made in a cauldron, according to a specific method of saponification called "The Marseille process" and includes the following five stages:
 Step 1: Pasting, or chemical reaction of saponification
The vegetable oils are heated in a large pot. Reacting to sodium hydroxide and heat, they gradually transformed into soap.
 Step 2: The Release
Being insoluble in salt water, this stage adds sea salt to drive the excess lye from the bottom of the pot. The soap remains on top.
 Step 3: Cooking
This characterises saponification and allows for the complete transformation of vegetable oils into soap.

Step 4: Washing
The soap paste is refined by washing, which results in the removal of glycerol, impurities and non-saponified fatty acids.
 Step 5: Liquidation
A final wash with clean water helps the soap to its final state: mild and clean soap which gave Savon de Marseille it's well deserved reputation.  
This whole process takes about seven to ten days. It's a great concern to the people here in France, that they are losing control over something that is held dear to their hearts, the real Savon de Marseille made in the traditional way. That concern will hopefully be lessened in time as this new mark, er... makes its mark.
I hope you have learned something new in this article and that you are encouraged to give the real Savon de Marseille a try.

Little known ways to use Savon de Marseille Soap

Savon de Marseille (Marseille soap) as we know it, is mainly used for bodily hygiene, or is it? Did you know it is also suitable for laundry, as an anti-septic and has many other uses too?

Chock-full of virtues, Savon de Marseille is a 100% natural product manufactured exclusively from vegetable oils. Without colouring or added synthetics and biodegradable, the real Marseille soap must contain 72% of oil. Here are a few diverse ideas on the uses of Marseille soap; perhaps they will persuade you to include this fabled soap into your inventory.

 Savon de Marseille For Laundry and Household Cleaning

Your clothing, and baby’s too, washed in shavings of Savon de Marseille will prevent skin irritations and allergies often present when using normal everyday chemical detergents. Furthermore, a stain rubbed with a slightly moist Savon de Marseille before washing, disappears more easily than with synthetic detergents


    This very simple recipe will show you how to make inexpensive natural washing detergent that really works, using your favourite Savon De Marseille soap:

    • Grate 50g of your preferred soap into an old detergent bottle or container with a capacity of around 2 litres.
    • Then pour a litre of boiled water into the bottle or container, and shake vigorously until it is well mixed and smooth.
    • We recommend that you add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to scent the mixture, if you have used the natural Marseille soap. If you used the lavender soap, we recommend you still add a little lavender essential oil.

    NOTE: You need to shake the container well before each use, that’s why a 2 litre container is best, it’s easier.

    * If your laundry is very dirty, add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda.

    ** For whites you can add lemon juice or white vinegar where the softener goes in your washing machine.

    So now you know how to make inexpensive natural washing detergent that really works. It's a simple recipe that’s both ecological and economical. How easy is that? The bonus of course, is that it really does work well on your dirty laundry. 

Tip: To clean leather, scrub with a soapy brush and rinse well.

Use Savon de Marseille throughout the household including: floors, walls, ceilings, kitchen, bathroom, crockery, etc. For example, to clean your ceiling, mix grated Marseille soap with hot water. All you have to do then is sponge the ceiling to do away with possible stains. Use the same recipe to clean vinyl flooring but, pay attention not to use too much soap or you may leave traces.

Other Uses For Savon de Marseille

Renowned for its hypoallergenic and antibacterial qualities, Savon de Marseille can also be used to disinfect wounds. Clean the wound with the soap, then apply an antiseptic to the skin and finally put on a dressing.

Savon de Marseille is also an excellent remedy against cramps and rheumatism! Place a piece of soap in a sock or some tights and put it at the foot of the bed before you sleep.

If you’re a keen gardener and you have a problem with aphids, then Marseille soap can help with this too. Mix:

  • 50g of soap
  • A crushed clove of garlic
  • ½ litre of water

Then spray it on the infected plants. I would imagine this would keep vegetarian vampires at bay too.

In addition, to repel moths, place a piece of the Soap within your clothes and it will act as a moth repellent.

 A Few More Tips

To shine your jewellery: Dilute a piece of Soap of Marseille in boiling water and soak your jewels.

For cleaning and softening your paint brushes: After cleaning, leave them to soak for a few hours in warm water and soap.

For shaving: lather your Soap of Marseille until you get a generous foam

 As you can see, Savon de Marseille is an extremely versatile soap and if you’ve never tried it, then you are seriously missing out.


Made only with vegetable oils
Recommended by dermatologists
Lasts twice as long
£4.95 - 300g
Made only with vegetable oils
Recommended by dermatologists
Lasts twice as long
£4.65 - 300g
Call: 07866 805143