Alep soap, a soap of tradition
Alep soap, a long history
The city of aleppo located north west of the syria, is one of the oldest cities. It was known as halab and keria during the ancient period (People-babylonian period from 2004 to 1595 BC).
The city of aleppo has long been the seat of many conflicts, conquests and invasions:
Amorites, hittites, Romans, Arabs,. fought to take ownership of this very prosperous city.
In the year 1000 BC, aleppo becomes the world soap market. the Crusaders, returning from holy earth, have connected with them the technique of making aleppo soap. with these 3000 years of existence, this soap is considered the oldest. it is at the origin of most soaps, of course the famous Marseille soap.
Since 1986, the city centre of aleppo has been classified as a world heritage of unsco.
Alep soap, a very simple recipe
All soaps have been made for millennia on the same process, called saponification, Latin sapo (savon).
Saponification consists of mixing a fat, suif, for example, with potash or soda (wooden cedar). saponification of fatty bodies is a normally slow reaction but, by raising the temperature or quantity of soda, the process of manufacture can be accelerated.
The true aleppo soap must be made at least in syria, preferably in the aleppo region and not at maroc, in france or even in china.
It must be composed exclusively of four ingredients, unchanged for millennia:
olive oil, laurel oil, water and natural soda. no fragrance, coloring or curative should be added.
1- For traditional aleppo soap, first-quality olive oil is used during the second pressure. Thus, a more black olive oil is obtained, with a high acidity rate (the first pressure being mainly reserved for food use).
The good smell of soap is related to the quality of oil. some unscrupulous manufacturers use frying oils or other, such as palm oil. but the more the oil is of poor quality, the more you need to add soda to get saponification. So, beware of the soaps that don't smell good !
2- For bay berry oil, the extraction technique is a little different. The fruit is burst into hot water and the pulp is recovered, from which the oil is taken.
3- The 3rd ingredient returning to the aleppo soap composition, is sodium soda or hydroxide (naoh). there are several processes for making caustic soda.
Today, 99% of the soda produced is of electrochemical origin (electrolysis of sodium chloride nacl).
Soda can also be made soda plant. This process has been known since antiquity. Sodium carbonate (na2c03), which can come from either ashes obtained by burning halophyte plants such as salicorne, goëmon (bretagne) or true soda (suaeda vera) or natron deposits, for example in Egypt or North America. adding to this sodium carbonate a little lime, we get caustic soda.
The whole science of saponification lies in the balance of oil and soda. it is necessary that soda and oil be consumed entirely by saponification.
Reducing soda or increasing oil will give you a supergras soap. for aleppo soap, we use about three kilos of soda per 100 litres of oil.
Alep soap, handmade
The manufacture of aleppo soap consists of mixing olive oil and soda in a tank and heating it to more than 100°C for three days.
At the end of cooking, laurel berry oil is added. added at the end of manufacture, this oil will not be able to saponify completely. the alep soap is all the more overgrass as the rate of laurel oil is high. This technique does not allow to include more than 25% oil without altering the soap.
To increase the rate of laurel berry oil, it is necessary to saponify it and thus introduce it at the same time as the olive oil at the beginning of cooking. By this technique, we can introduce up to 40% laurel berry oil. but is it really interesting since it is saponified ?
Aleppo’s soap dough is then spread to the ground, manually cut into a piece and stamped.
Soaps are then stored in soap making and put to mature for at least 9 months in a helicoidal drying tower so that air can pass and promote optimum drying. during this drying, the remaining soda breaks down and the humidity decreases.
As a good wine, the weather improves Aleppo’s soap: the older and mature Aleppo’s soap, the better it is. With time, Aleppo’s soap is softer and once at home, your Aleppo soap block will continue to mature. in the absence of sun, the surface oxides slowly and its color becomes brown while the interior remains green.
Alep soap, ecological soap
In the true aleppo soap, you will not find animal fat (sodium tallowate or sodium lardate) , nor irritating tensio-active such as sodium laureth sulfate, silicone, no stabilizer, no conservative, no coloring, no nanoparticles, or palm oil whose intensive cultivation is the basis of large-scale deforestation.
By its composition, it is 100% biodegradable. soda, which is not biodegradable at the beginning, becomes soda during saponification.
The alep soap can be preserved for years in a dry place, away from the sun. plus a soap is old, the better it is. time makes it more and more soft.
Choose a soap from Aleppo
It must feel good: a good smell of olive and laurel.
It must not be fat.
Its surface must be rough and the general appearance is quite rough.
It must have a brown-beige color. The longer the drying time will be, the longer the color it will pull towards brown. The shorter it will be, the greener it will shoot.
If you cut it, the inside of the soap must be olive green.
Very dry, the alep soap floats in the water.
On the label, you should read only: water (water,) olea europea (olive oil,) laurus nobilis (laurier,) sodium hydroxide (soude,) sodium chloride (sel) ... nothing else !
The name of the manufacturer in Arabic is embedded in the soap. it comes in the form of a round cachet made when the soap is still soft with a kind of seal-marteau. The number of stars stamped on the soap previously corresponded to the proportion of laurel oil in the soap.
Properties of aleppo soap
The aleppo soap is worldwide recognized for its exceptional softness, its many dermatological virtues, its longevity and its powerful aroma from the laurel oil.
It consists of two complementary oils, the noblest and most beneficial: olive oil, very fat for softness and hydration, and laurel oil, dryer for its soothing, antiseptic and disinfectant virtues.
Considered a "surgras" soap, it is also suitable for delicate or dry skins. it allows to restore the hydrolipidic film of the skin and give it a satin effect.
Use of aleppo soap
Alep soap is a very soft soap that is suitable for all skins and the whole family, from baby to senor.
As it respects the hydrolipidic film of the skin, it can be used daily on the skin of the body, the face.
It can also serve for hair. as it is rather a fat soap, it is recommended for hair with a tendency fat, irritated scalp and pelicles. Aleppo soap shampoo: 1 to 2 times a week. Avoid it, if you have dry hair.
Aleppo’s soap can also replace the shaving foam. this type of soap has the advantage of not irritating the face skin.
The aleppo soap cleans the pores in depth thus reducing their obstruction by an excess of sebum, responsible for black points and buttons. So, in addition to using it for facial cleansing, you can use it as a mask. Do not forget, like our mask, to rinse with water.
Like marsh soap, alep soap can be used for washing delicate laundry.
Traditionally, aleppo soap is also used as anti-mite. just put pieces in a wardrobe to protect the linen.
Before the first use, it is desirable to wash its soap under the tap. It should not be forgotten that it has dryed for 1 year without being protected from dust and that, during this drying, the salts are recovered to the surface.
Our conclusion on aleppo soap
Some will say it's the best soap in the world. Without going so far, we must recognize that there is no lack of quality.
Very soft, it is perfect for troubled skins, fatty hair or pelicles. it is very economic and ecological. Try it. It's adoption !