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How to tell if it’s real Marseille soap in 5 stages ?

How to tell if it’s real Marseille soap in 5 stages ?

How do I recognise real Marseille soap? As you know, there are so many counterfeits when it comes to traditional Marseille soap. Most soap sold as “Marseille soap” has nothing to do with the original soap and its traditional soap-making methods. This is because “Marseille soap” is not a protected appellation. There are several key points to help you recognise real Marseille soap. So how do we identify real Marseille soap?

Ingredients and shape of real Marseille soap

Real Marseille soap contains no more than 7 ingredients which must be nothing but vegetable oils and include olive oil. Olive oil is the main vegetable oil in it.

The words “72% vegetable oils" printed on the side of the soap wrapper confirm the vegetable oil composition. Also worth noting, it’s a natural product with no preservatives and no colouring!

Marseille soap can also be recognised because of its simple, geometric shape. It is solid soap that comes in different shapes and sizes: cubes, rectangular cuboid shapes, ovals, and large and small soap flakes.

Copeaux de savon de Marseille Marius Fabre

The colour and smell of real Marseille soap

Its vegetable oil content gives the soap its natural green, brown or beige colour. Any other colour, then it isn’t real Marseille soap.
As already mentioned, Marseille soap generally contains olive oil. If you can’t smell the olive oil and there is another scent, it may not be Marseille soap. Real Marseille soap is unscented. Toilet soaps made from Marseille soap can be scented with honey, lavender, almond, and so on. They are not Marseille soap, just made from it.

Geographic origins and Marseille soap-making process

Genuine Marseille soap is made in a cauldron in Marseille or in the area near Marseille. The special saponification process is known as the “Marseille process”. It takes place in five stages, lasting one week to ten days. The traditional soap-making process where the soap is cooked in cauldrons and the geographic origin are two other factors that will help you recognise real Marseille soap!

A logo to tell you it’s real Marseille soap

UPSM Logo - Logo de l'Union des Professionnels du savon de Marseille

If you spot the logo of the Marseille soap-makers’ alliance, you’ll know at a glance that you’re buying real Marseille soap. To be sure of your buy, it is highly recommended to check the label.

To sum up, to tell whether it’s real Marseille soap or not :


- Carefully read the labels
- Look out for the ingredients, the look and the origins of the soap
- Make sure it has the logo of the Marseille soap-makers’ alliance