If you ever come to Marseille, don't think that every soap you'll find on a cute market stand is a "Marseille Soap" made in Marseille, cause most likely, it will not... A few days ago, I took a soap-making workshop at the Grande Savonnerie de Marseille and learned a few secrets behind these quintessential goodies from the South of France.
The main one begin that 3 things need to be respected for a soap to be called Marseille Soaps:
- Natural ingredients (and only 3 - lye, water and a minimum of 72% olive oil - though palm oil can be used too for its detergent properties) and no added-fragrance nor coloring agents must be added,
- Manufacturing process in 4 specific steps,
- Location of the production (region of Bouches-du-Rhone in France).
On a side note, if you see Sodium Tallowate listed in your soap ingredient list, know that you are washing your face with rendered beef fat, and that it may cause eczema and blackheads. This lovely ingredient is often used in wax paper, crayons, margarines, paints, rubber, lubricants, candles, soaps, lipsticks, shaving creams, other cosmetics, be ware...
On the other hands, Marseille Soaps are known to be hypoallergenic, moisturing, disinfectant, biodegradable (in less than 28 days). Much better, no?
La Grande Savonnerie - 36 Grand Rue 13002 Marseille