Savon de Marseille is produced Marseille, France and goes back to about 600 years.  Authentic savon de Marseille is made with 72% olive oil and it  became law that only soaps produced in Marseille could be named so, much like champagne in Champagne, France. It is lauded for it's gentle yet effective washing abilities and it's addition of french green clay draws out impurities from your skin.  French green clay is often used in facial masks and slightly exfoliates too.  I love using it because it leaves my skin smooth and silky and it makes the soap look gorgeous because of it's natural green hue.  

This recipe is a total bastardization of the whole ancient practice of soap making in France but it beats shelling out $12 for an authentic hunk of the stuff.  Feel free to customize with any scents you like, almond, honey and lavender are traditional in the region.

  • 2 lbs of olive oil soap base (I've used other bases such as goat's milk and shea butter and they work just as well), you can purchase them at Michael's or here.
  • A microwavable container.  I used a pyrex measuring cup with a spout which made pouring much easier. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler.
  • 1 teaspoon of lavender buds or crushed flowers. I omitted them in this particular batch but I've used them with much success.
  • 2 teaspoons of french green clay, found here.
  • 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt, plus a tablespoon more for later
  • Disposable stirrer of sorts (chopsticks, popsicle sticks, skewers)
  • Essential oils
  • Milk carton, soap mold, or large cube silicone ice tray (not pictured).  I used soap molds from Michael's and an XL silicone ice cube tray

Step 1:  Melt soap base.  If microwaving, break it up into two batches.  Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until fully melted.

Step 2: Add 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tsp of essential oils, green clay, and buds (if using).  Stir slowly in order to create less bubbles.

Step 3: Pour into molds.  Let harden for at least two hours.  

Step 4:  Slowly release from molds.  The easiest method is to pull the sides away and press them out.

Step 5: Combine a tablespoon of sea salt into a 1 cup of warm water in a bowl.  Rinse each piece of soap in this solution and let dry. After drying completely, rinse in plain water. Place on hand towel to dry again.

Step 6: After completely dry, you can tie a piece of twine or raffia around or wrap it in parchment or craft paper for presentation. I often keep my soap in a large air tight decorative jar in the bathroom.