We are very proud of our partners and have selected them because of the high quality of their soaps, and the genuine transparency of their policies. They do not hide behind marketing jargon, pretend to be what they're not, or dupe the customer by adding words such as organic, eco-friendly, natural or zerowaste in strategic places on labels in order to fool the consumer. Our partners are honest artisans with a genuine passion for doing the right thing, and for sourcing the best ingredients without the need for fakery. What you see is what you get.
What are the main ingredients of the soap? See also our ingredients explained page
Each product page lists the ingredients of individual soap bars as per the format required by regulation by the international nomenclature called INCI.
It's not always easy to navigate the terms which initially seem terrifying, so here is a much more accessible explanation.
The base of the majority of soaps is composed of palm oil (palm fruit), palm kernel (palm fruit kernels) or copra (coconut), a little water, natural glycerin ( resulting from saponification), as well as sodium edetate which allows the soaps not to go rancid and also enables it to foam even when the water is a little hard and calcareous.
Certain specific soaps may have a different basic composition (for example, "without palm oil", "without edta", ..., this is then mentioned on the product sheet. These are for example composed mainly of olive oil olive and coconut, or organic shea butter and organic coconut oil.
I notice that the soaps contain palm oil, I have heard that producers of palm oil are responsible for deforestation.
We have chosen to make a vegetable soap and not to use animal products. There are soaps made from tallow which is animal - usually beef fat, but our soaps do not contain tallow.
The use of vegetable oil in products may involve the use of this oil which naturally has excellent foaming characteristics and a super washing power. This saves us from having to add other non-natural ingredients to reinforce these effects, as can for example be the case in commercial shower gels. We also offer ranges without palm oil.
Palm oil, and other saturated oils such as coconut oil can be harmful when used in food, and consumed in very large quantities, and it can then be a factor of diabetes, increase cardiovascular risks, and some studies also consider it as possible carcinogen.
None of these risks are relevant when using soaps. Palm oil in soap has gone through the saponification process and does not enter the body, it simply cleans the upper layers of the epidermis and is rinsed, there is no risk of repercussions on health.
Sustainability of the palm oil
From an ecological point of view: we work with eco-responsible producers (RSPO charter) who are committed to sustainable development and the preservation of forests. It is also important to note that more than 80% of palm oil production is intended for the food industry and that today it is also used more for the production of biofuel than for that of soaps. It should also be understood that if tomorrow this oil was no longer used at all for the benefit of another, the problem would only be accentuated, because oil palms have a yield much higher than many other olive crops, then more plots are needed to obtain equivalent production.
We remain convinced that the use of palm kernel oil remains one of the solutions to ecological issues to this day, although it is of course necessary that all the consumers in the sector make efforts to preserve the eco system of the regions where the plantations are located. We should not fall into the populist, tabloid thinking that the problem would be solved simply by no longer using this oil for the benefit of another. The result would be only to move the problem and that would cause other problems which could be even more serious.
There is no quick fix. An analogy could be the electric car - it cannot be seen as the only answer to the problems of pollution since we know that the manufacture of batteries and their recycling also cause significant pollution, and environmental and social harm. We still offer a few palm oil-free products, and our goal is to expand our offering in the future.
If the base ingredients of the soap comes from Asia, how can it be Marseille soap?
Unfortunately the oil palm grows mainly in tropical regions, but of course, this does not prevent anything from being a high quality product. We are able to purchase it at an affordable price which allows us to offer our soaps at prices accessible to all.
Because one of the primary ingredients comes from elsewhere, this does not mean that it is not a soap made in Marseille. The base ingredients are worked in our workshop and more than 10 manufacturing steps (such as rolling, refining , extrusion, stamp, ...) are necessary to obtain our soap.
In comparison, we do not say of a car made in France with steel from India that it is not made in France, of a baker, that bread is not French because he uses flour from Russia, a carpenter who uses exotic wood that his manufacture is not French, or a chocolate maker that his chocolate is not made in France because he uses cocoa from from Africa. It's the same for our soaps, a raw material comes from elsewhere but our product is well made in Marseille. Argan oil and shea butter are endemic to certain African countries such as Morocco, and olive oil comes from France, Spain or Italy.
Is it a 100% natural soap?
In order to always offer the best value for money, we use local perfumes from Grasse (which are of very good quality - Grasse is the perfume capital of the world), and some pigments, the rate of 'ingredient of natural origin' for all soaps is greater than 95%, and for some it even reaches more than 99% or 100%, because we also use essential oils, clays, organic shea butter and other natural ingredients.
The soap dries my skin unlike shower gels
You should know that shower gels are composed - in addition to a large number of chemicals - largely of water, and are therefore less aggressive on the skin because it is in fact diluted. Even if we add organic shea butter in all our soaps to limit this, you need to find a soap that matches your skin type, those enriched with oils (olive, argan, wheat germ, ...), or Donkey milk are considered more suitable for sensitive skin. Otherwise the soap can be combined with the use of a moisturising cream or milk.
Do the soaps come from China or elsewhere?
All the soaps that we offer on the site are made in our partners' workshops between Marseille and Aubagne or in the Marseille region. The Marseille Soaps (Savons de Marseille) are made in soap factories which are member of the Union of Marseille Soap Professionals. http://www.label-savon-de-marseille.fr
Are the perfumed soaps made by hand?
All the soaps that we offer on the site are manufactured either by hand or using semi-automatic machines. The contribution of a qualified craftsman, and human skill is essential to each stage of the manufacture of the soaps and the multiple manual processes implemented by the whole team ensure consistent quality.