Marseille Soap, as much as I can tell you

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Aug 31, 2018
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I just got back from a short trip to Marseille, France where I went to a soap manufacturer and a soap museum (I tried to go to 2 soap museums, but one was closed). I did my best to get as much info on Marseille soap so I could pass the info along to anyone might be interested.

The soap manufacturer and museum were both run by Savonnerie La Licorne (The Unicorn Soap Factory).

Step 1: Oils and lye are mixed in a large cauldron and held at 100 degrees for 5 hours. Oils typically used are a combination of Olive, Palm, Coconut or tallow.

Step 2: The soap is then made into 600 g blocks or noodles (the 600 g blocks cure for 90 days)

Step 3: The noodles are then flattened into sheets by rollers
Step 4: EO, colorants and other additives (like shea butter) are then added to the sheets
Step 5: The crumbly soap are then re-pressed into sheets
Step 6: The sheets are then pressed into logs
Step 7: The logs are then cut, stamped and cure for 30 days
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I asked about adding salt water and was told they no longer do that and haven't since the use of electric machinery.

I also asked about the 72% olive oil and was given a rather unclear answer. I wanted to know if the 72% was a total of the oils (72% olive oil out of 100%) or if it was 72% oils to 28% lye solution. I was given a rather long answer, involving the history of the magical 72% and where it came from (it was reverse engineered by a chemist). I'm still not really sure what the answer is.

There was another site I found that has the steps for the "traditional" Marseille soap making using salt water, without colorants or fragrances.
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