marseille soap

Homemade Marseille soap

Making soap at home is something satisfying. You can play with oils and colours to get your own unique soap.  If you are interested also in the chemistry behind, you can find here all the details.  Recently I also wrote a post about what you should know (but nobody say about it) before starting make soap. Please read it, could be important! You can find it here! I wanted to start writing about DIY soap from the most famous one:


Marseille soap


Marseille soap is a bar made from olive oil. It was produced for the first time around 1300 BC and continues to be used nowadays. It has always been known as a multi-purpose soap suitable for hand washing, housekeeping, perfume closets and so on. For this reason, today I want to tell you briefly how to make your own Marseille soap at home 🙂

Contrary to glycerine soap, preparing soap in a traditional way requires attention and awareness of what you are going to handle. Soap is the result of a reaction between fats or oils and lye. Due to this, it is important to wear always gloves and goggles. So let’s start!


affiliate disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links about products that can be used for this recipe.


What you will need


ingredients soap


First and foremost protect yourself with safety gloves and goggles and do it in a well ventilated room. We are using lye that is extremely corrosive so be careful. In case of contact with the skin, wipe the excess of lye off and flush the area with running water.

  1. Weigh the water in a glass
  2. Pour the olive oil in a jar, big enough to contain about 300g (10.6oz) of finished product.
  3. Weigh the lye in another glass
  4. Pour gently lye into the water and mix with a wooden or glass spoon. I would not use plastic or metal spoon to avoid potential reactions with the lye.  REMEMBER: DON’T pour water into the bowl of lye. The solution will get hot at about 90°C (194°F) leave it cool down till about 45°C (113°F).
  5. Warm up the oil in a water bath or microwave till about 45°C (113°F). Oil and lye solution should have the same temperature.
  6. Pour the lye solution into the oil jar and mix the two phases with a minipimer.

phases marseille


When the compound gets thicker and opaque, it’s ready to be poured into a plastic mold. It will need 1-2 days to get solid but it will be worth the wait. It will be really satisfying to use your own Marseille soap.



Although this soap uses lye as ingredient, I find the Marseille soap gentle on my skin. I use it mainly to wash my hands because I think that it could be too aggressive as shampoo. It has a great cleaning action, but it doesn’t make bubbles and lather. Many people think that the cleaning action is a consequence of lather. Well…it is not so 🙂





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