Real or Fake Soap?
Honest, artisan, vegan, triple-milled,
What does all this mean and who are the soap 'purists' making sure we are not being sold a fake.
cruelty-free, 100% vegetable oil,
1. Honesty - how to tell a real soap from a fakeIf you are British, you might remember the hoo-ha when EU countries refused to buy Cadbury's dairy milk chocolate - or any British chocolate, because the low cocoa butter content made it incomparable to real European chocolate which is traditionally made using 100% pure cocoa butter. Spain and Italy went as far as to demand that it be called "chocolate substitute". A relatively new arrival on the scene is the problematic use of vegan 'doppelganger' descriptions on food labels, such as oat milk, cauliflower steak, beetroot burgers or chick'n.
We have a similar dilemma over what constitutes real soap.
'Real soap' is made of fats which can be vegetable oils or animal fats (tallow). These fats are mixed with a strong alkali, which leads to a chemical reaction called saponification. The result of the reaction is soap and glycerine and water.
The word “soap” is strictly regulated by regulators such as the FDA in the US. Many supermarket products are synthetic commercial detergents and not soap. Synthetic detergents clean by stripping the skin of its natural oils which then leaves you reaching for the moisturising lotions on next shelf in the supermarket. The natural glycerine found in soap is instead is added to hand creams and body lotions. You're then buying two products instead of one.
Supermarket brands like "dove' 'aveeno' and or are not real soap, but commercial synthetic detergents. They avoid using the term soap and instead use the labels, 'beauty bar' or 'moisturising bar'.
2. Artisan - homemade, hand made or factory-made?
Is a homemade cake still artisan if it's made with a Kenwood Robot pâtissier or a kitchenaid?
Before the days of mass production in automated factories, soap was made by craftsmen in workshops, and these craftsmen would have probably learned the art of soapmaking as apprentices or from the first-hand experience of what made a good soap and what didn't. Soap is created by mixing ingredients. Traditionally this would have been done in large cauldrons.
One of our partners still mixes his soap in cauldrons and stirs it by hand.
The lovely guys that make most of our soaps use labour-saving machines, but they tip the ingredients in by hand, control the individual machines while they stand and watch, they test the consistency in person, they pour by hand and then carry over the mix to the stamping machines. They then leave the soap to season, and regularly check on it to see when the consistency is right. The soap is checked, packed and loaded by human beings. It's a small workshop and we have to order our soap in advance because it takes time to be made and seasoned.
Does this make it artisan? We think so. Yes, machines are involved, but it's no different to baking a cake at home with the use of an electric whisk. The advantage of the scale and professionalism is that consistency and transparency of ingredients is guaranteed and soaps come our pretty perfect every time.
3. Vegan soapAll our soaps are by default, made with 100% vegetable oils and the soap is not made with animal fats.
Soaps which are non-vegan may have ingredients which are added after the saponification process such as organic donkey milk, snail mucus or honey. Our brand is cruelty-free and there is no testing on animals.
At the time of our research, Dove' white beauty bar also contained sodium tallowate in its list of ingredients, which is animal fat from cows, sheep or pigs.
4.Triple-milledTriple-milled soap is considered the highest quality soap.
The triple-milling process was developed by French soap makers in the 1700s and is sometimes called French-milled soap.
When soap is triple-milled it literally means that it’s put through the mill - the rollers at least three times - usually more. This makes sure all the ingredients are mixed well and knocks out excessive air and water. This results in a hard soap which lasts a lot longer and doesn’t turn to mush the moment it touches water. It’s also better value for money because you’re paying for more soap and less water, and it’s nicer soap to use.
Most of the soaps we sell, are enriched with Shea Butter but sometimes other oils are used, such as coconut, almond, argan and macadamia.
After the soap is made, it is dried into flakes or pearls, it is then rolled at least three times between rollers. The result is then pressed into bars, and triple-milled soap is created.
5. 100% Vegetable oils
Our French soaps are only made with 100% vegetable oils and are made as a result of a natural process using mainly plant-based ingredients. The vegetable oils used vary depending on the soap: sustainable palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and Argan oil. Many of the soaps also contain plant and flower essential oils and extracts. Some also contain food-grade preservatives which keep the colour and scent, in addition to colours and fragrances approved for cosmetic use.
Only genuine Marseille soaps carry the authentic Savon de Marseille mark which guarantees an olive oil soap made exclusively from plant-based oils without chemical additives, preservatives, or fragrance, in cauldrons according to the ancestral, 5-step, Marseille process and in Marseille, France.
6. 100% cruelty-free, not tested on animals, animal friendly
All soap products and related ingredients sold in the EU and the UKFrom 11 March 2013 must by law not be tested on animals. This is the case whether or not it is stated in advertising campaigns, ingredients or marketing literature.
It has been raised as an ethical issue and companies such as The Body shop and LUSH have been criticised for making bold statements about their animal testing, may be trying to falsely imply that their actions are voluntary, and that other competitors may in fact use products tested on animals when this is not the case by law.