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The Best Marseille Soaps Made In France

The Best Marseille Soaps Made In France

french marseille soap

Marseille soap or Savon de Marseille in French is a soap that the French have always used extensively at home. It is a traditional hard soap made from vegetable oils that have been produced around Marseille in France for about 600 years ago. If there is a single soap you’ll find in every French home, it’s definitely the traditional Savon de Marseille.

What Is Special About Marseille Soap

For centuries, Marseille’s famous soap makers used pure olive oil, alkali from sea plants, and seawater to create the Savon de Marseille, treasured for its purity and quality.

Savon de Marseille is traditionally green and made of at least 72% olive oil without animal products, artificial fragrances, coloring, or preservatives. This traditional French soap must only contain four ingredients: vegetable oils, water, salt, and soda. Dermatologists throughout the world recommend the Marseille Soap because of its ultra-moisturizing properties for the skin. Its incredible purity and moisturizing properties make it ideal for sensitive skin. In France, it has been trusted for generations to cleanse everything from linens to little faces.

Savon de Marseille is totally biodegradable, requires little packaging and its manufacture is environmentally friendly. Authentic Savon de Marseille has a stamp with its weight in grams. The fine white powder on the surface of the soap is a bit of sea salt, which will disappear once the soap is wet.

Where To Shop The Traditional Marseille Soap

However, 95% of Marseille soaps are fake and made elsewhere: in countries such as Malaysia, Italy, Germany, Tunisia, and even France. In addition, half of the cheaper imitations are even missing the main ingredient: olive oil. Why is this happening? Because there are no patent protection laws in place. This means that anyone, anywhere can make soap and call it Savon de Marseille

If you want to buy the traditional Marseille soap there are only four genuine soap manufacturers that make the legendary olive oil-based soap.

1. Savonnerie Le Fer A Cheval

The Savonnerie Le Fer A Cheval is the oldest soap factory in Marseille. In 1856, on Chemin de Saint-Marthe, a candle manufacturer quickly and exclusively became a factory dedicated to producing Marseille Soap. Their soap comes in cube, bar, liquid, and flake form. They also make scented soaps, hand cream, and body lotion.

2. La Corvette (Savonnerie du Midi)

Founded in 1894, La Corvette is one of the last soap factories in Marseille using the traditional know-how of a master soap maker. For more than 120 years, the company has been perpetuating ancestral methods and passionately producing traditional Marseille soap. Today, they offer a range of authentic products for body care and for the maintenance of the house.

3. Savonnerie Marius Fabre

In 1900, barely 22, Marius Fabre founded his soap company in Salon-de-Provence. At that time, the abundance of raw materials in Provence (olive oil in the Alpilles, soda and salt in the Camargue, and oils (coco-nut and palm) coming in from the colonies via the port of Marseilles) had made possible the development of the soap-making industry. The family company managed to overcome many difficulties and the decline of the soap industry because of products for washing machines and the creation of new soap companies in other regions. In 2010, the Marius Fabre soap company celebrated its 100th anniversary.

If you’re heading to Paris, don’t forget to visit Marius Fabre’s boutique in Le Marais at Rue de Turenne, to shop the traditional Savon de Marseille!

4. Compagnie de Provence

In 1990 two friends from Marseille came up with a brilliant idea and founded La Compagnie de Provence. Aware that the traditional Marseille soap cube held an important place in the cultural heritage of Provence, they decided to share this local treasure with people from all over the world. In 1999, Compagnie de Provence made an innovative move and introduced the very first liquid version of the Marseille soap. Inspired by the countless benefits of this iconic soap, Compagnie de Provence has been selling products enriched with plant oils since its earliest days. Its formulas are simple, natural, and effective, and provide solutions for all your everyday needs.

3 Ways To Use The Marseille Soap

1. Beauty Product

Le Savon de Marseille is a vegetable soap and is soft on sensitive skin. It is natural, gentle, and hypoallergenic. You can incorporate it into your skincare routine to cleanse your face, hair, and body. Dermatologists often recommend this soap for people dealing with eczema or psoriasis. What’s more, it is highly recommended for greasy or acne-prone skins: for deep-down cleansing and controlling sebum.

As Marseille soap doesn’t contain any coloring, allergens, or synthetic additives, it’s best for babies and people with allergies. What’s more, it makes so much lather that it can even be used as shaving foam. It cleanses the skin and prevents ingrown hairs. I recommend using the traditional green soap with 72% of olive oil if you want to use it as a skincare product.

2. Laundry Detergent

If you prefer using a hypoallergenic, coloring-free, fragrance-free product with no additives to wash your clothes, this soap is for you. I’ll recommend using the Marius Fabre’s Laundry Soap Flakes. You can either add a few soap flakes directly into your washing machine or you can make your own laundry wash. To do so, just mix 25g of Marseille soap flakes with 1L of warm water. Once the soap has completely dissolved you can add 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and 5 drops of essential oil (lavender, citrus, orange). And you can use this laundry liquid on any fabric, even on delicate clothes like silk, lace, and wool. Finally, you can use the Marseille soap cube on stubborn stains just before washing. I’ll recommend the Marius Fabre Marseille Soap Flakes Washing Liquid as well.

3. Housekeeping

Did you know you can clean your all house with just Marseille soap? Indeed, this soap can be used at home to clean kitchen counters, bathtubs, sofa, rug, floors, or any surfaces. Simply rub the soap on a wet rag or sponge or even directly on the surface you want to clean up and rinse well. You don’t need any more industrial chemicals or fake fragrances! You can even make your own natural dishwashing liquid with Marseille soap. Just mix 1/2 cup of Marseille soap flakes with warm water and add one or two drops of essential oils for a fresh scent.

To remove grease on ovens, hobs, extractors, frying pans, and other surfaces, the French use the olive oil liquid black soap. It’s a very effective natural liquid soap cleanser with 100% vegetable oils (a high concentration of olive oil) with no added fragrance and coloring. To clean floors just mix 2 tablespoons of black soap with warm water. No need to rinse.

And you, would you incorporate le Savon de Marseille into your skincare routine? Or would you prefer to use it to clean your home and/or to wash your clothes? Please add your comment below.

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View Comments (10)
  • Very interesting. I’m a soap lover and am always looking for new ones to try. By any chance are the sold in the US?

    • Hello Lisa
      Thank you very much! Yes, you can buy most of them on Amazon US 🙂
      I’ve added some links in the article to shop them on Amazon
      Let me know if you have any trouble
      xo Leonce

  • Bonjour Leonce,

    I have a bar of the original Fer a Cheval soap, which says “stain remover” (Savon détachant). My husband particularly loves the smell of the soap because it reminds him of working with horses. I’m interested in finding the same soap with this particular slightly barnyard smell in a liquid soap form. It seems the ones sold on Amazon are unscented. Could you kindly let me know if this exact formulation and scent can also be found in liquid form?


    • Bonjour Aimée,
      I’m glad you and your husband like the traditional Marseille soap 🙂
      A bar of the original Fer a Cheval Marseille soap is made exclusively from plant-based oils (at least 72% olive oil), without chemical additives, preservatives, or fragrance. The particular slightly barnyard smell that you describe is the original smell of the Marseille soap -mainly due to the olive pomace-oil that is used to make the traditional Marseille soap.
      That’s why the same soap in a liquid form that you’re talking about on Amazon: is unscented, but it will have definitely the same smell like the bar soap. I hope this will help 🙂
      xo Leonce

  • I had just ordered soaps from ebay made my Rampal LaTour. I had seen a couple of videos of the company on YouTube. Are their soaps considered Savon de Marseille?

    • Bonjour JL, yes it is! This soap manufacturer is based in Salon-de-Provence (about 52km northwest of Marseille). In case you’re wondering whether it’s considered authentic Savon de Marseille or not, always look at the ingredients 🙂 Marseille soaps are always made from only four ingredients: natural vegetable oils (olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil), soda, salt, and water. I hope that helps! xo

  • Hi – I’m so excited to try these soaps! How do you display them? Do you just put the whole cube on a cute tray? Do you use the cube as a hand soap in the bathroom and/or kitchen? Thanks!

    • Bonjour Roxanna, merci beaucoup for your question! Yes exactly, I use them as hand soaps and I just put the whole cube on a vintage soap dish in ceramic, both in the kitchen and in the bathroom. You can buy smaller cubes (150g instead of 400g) if you find them too big 🙂 I hope that helps, xo.

  • Bonjour Leonce, I love the soft scents of the soaps! I have the beautiful green oval beauty bar in a beautiful white ceramic pedestal soap dish at my bathroom sink, and the yellow Fer A Cheval bar at my kitchen sink. I enjoy using the soap flakes on my laundry. My sheets always smell so good! Everything comes out so clean. I am going to make my own dishwashing liquid for housekeeping next. I have just ordered the black soap to try on my oven and floors. I enjoy reading what you write. Merci beaucoup, Leonce. Your friend, Debbie

    • Bonjour Debra, thank you so very much for your comment! I’m glad to hear that you love the Marseille soap as much as I do 🙂 The black soap is fantastic to clean the kitchen and floors! Bien à vous, xo Leonce.

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