Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hi Everyone!! Greetings from Cannes, France!

Have you ever wondered why the French women’s skin is so perfect. Seriously??!! I have a beauty secret to share with you.!!! 3 hours south of Paris by TGV, you will find one of the oldest port towns in France, Marseille. We made the journey to learn more about one of the ancient secrets of the French women’s beautiful skin. Are you ready? It’s Marseille soap …

We visited  “La Savonnerie Fer à Cheval”, the largest of the last two remaining original soap makers in the area.When you arrive Fer à Cheval, you’re immediately struck with the scent of fresh olive oil all around you. Especially with the seasonal Mistral winds blowing, stirring the scents in the air. Walking into the factory, we found the original structure from the 1850’s. The grand wooden beams nearly petrified with layers and layers of soap of the decades steaming to the beams.

The Marseille soap recipe is original to the 1850’s, pure with only three ingredients of 72% olive oil, baking soda and water plus a cooking time of ten days at 110 degrees celsius. There’s no fragrance or coloring added.
Olive oil isn’t just for cooking ladies! Have you ever reached for olive oil in a pinch when you needed a moisturizer? I TOTALLY have!
The soap master, Michel, with his southern French accent, shared his story with us. He  has been crafting soaps for the last 30 years. He needs no recipe,  no thermometer. He knows when the batch is just right.  He just knows.
So, after the tour, I put the soap to the test. It’s sublime!!! As a makeup remover, I love how it has a nice little foam when you use it, and it washes away without feeling like there’s a residue. Could this be the replacement to the Erno Laszlo black soap that Marilyn used to use? My skin is soft and fresh & it’s price friendly!!
I wonder if this is how the famous French actress Marion Cotillard who I saw at Cannes keeps her skin so glowy?
Just to give you some history, Almost 30% of the population of Marseille in the early 1900’s were employed by over 90 soap factories, making soap for the entire country of France. The Marseille soap name is not protected, so Marseille is dangerously close to losing the art of their famed olive oil soap due to competition trying to replicate, sometimes with the addition of chemicals and fillers.
How can that be possible with such an important heritage of a beautiful product? If you want to buy the original Marseille soap, a great indicator of authenticity is the color. There are only two colors available. Olive green for the olive oil version and beige for a palm oil version. For more product info on Fer à Cheval, click here.
Have you tried Marseille soap? We’d love to hear about your experience here!
Vive le savon de Marseille!!
Merci Emilie!!

Michel the Soapmaster


Installation by French Sculptor Luc Dubost.

ferachevalsavondemarsseille-11 ferachevalsavondemarsseille-8 ferachevalsavondemarsseille-7ferachevalsavondemarsseille-5 ferachevalsavondemarsseille-3 ferachevalsavondemarsseille-2 ferachevalsavondemarsseille-1

More info on Marseille soap here on Wikipedia.

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  • marseille soap recipe
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29 Responses to Best Kept French Beauty Secret

  1. Incredible photos! Ugh, I’m so jealous you’re in France! That soap factory looks amazing, and I’m certainly tempted to see if I can order a batch of this soap!


    • Carly Tati

      Jordan, let me know if you try it! It’s a super product! You can also google search it in the USA as there are a few places that sell it. Just be sure it’s the authentic one!

  2. tres tres joli article … merci carly !!!!!!!

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  4. Hi Carly! I just saw your comment on my blog! -Thanks for letting me know about IFB! I would have forgotten to check! :)

    This is the coolest post! Fascinating. & I’m super jealous!!
    Keep in touch!

    • Carly Tati

      Hi Taylor,
      Thanks for stopping by my blog:) YAY to ifb, cheers~~
      I will keep in touch, followed you on bloglovin.


  5. What an interesting and original post, I love it! :) I remember my grandma also made this kind of soap when I was just a little child in my hometown in Spain. And after having seen the pictures, I can “smell” again the soaps… so nice!

    I love your Blog! Great that we have been both choosen by IFB <3

    • Carly Tati

      Hi Juani,
      thanks for sharing your story about your grandma. What nice memories. Maybe one day, you will make a batch just like she did:)

      Yay, I <3 IFB, cheers that we were chosen this week so we can find each others blog!

  6. Ooh, I’ve never heard of this soap before, but I’d love to try it. I worked in an olive factory – marinating olives – years back and my hands were super soft from all the olive oil we used…I don’t know why it never occurred to me to try olive oil soap?? Spotted you on links a la mode – well done!

    • Carly Tati

      Hi Niki,
      How interesting that you worked in an Olive oil factory!! Thanks for letting us know about your experiences with the olive oil. I think it’s an unsung beauty product after what I saw in Marseille:)
      Cheers to IFB, so we can connect! Stopping by your blog today:)

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  8. What an AMAZING post! So informative & I adore the pictures. Thank you for sharing your secret! :)

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  11. Beautiful pictures! Now I have to try this soap :)

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  13. Great post, I try not to use products on my face but I find myself curious to try this soap. Sounds too good to be true :-)
    All the best.

    • Carly Tati

      Hi Ariane,
      I am very minimalistic about my beauty routine too, but I enjoy this soap. You can also use a light toner after if your not used to the idea of using a soap on your face. You need to be prepared for the olive oil scent, but it’s not something that stays with you throughout the day. Basically, if you open a bottle of olive oil, that’s similar to the scent:)

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  15. Love this post! I can attest that the soaps from Marseille are amazing, and so pure, I would have loved to be there at the factory…I can smell the soaps from here in NYC!

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  19. The photos are incredible! congrats on the IFB!!!

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  22. lily

    Amazing photos!! beautifully impressed – love it

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  24. Fabulous to know how a product is made, what goes into it, and the facility it comes from. Great Pics!

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