At first glance, this weird looking soap might scare you away with it’s large vague brown or green mass that may or may not smell pleasant. It is very different from the soaps offered in today’s shopping malls, which promise to rid the skin of all bacteria while moisturizing and caring for it. But if we look beyond appearances and found the perfect body care product that has stood the test of time and is well worth the price.
Aleppo soap has only four ingredients: olive and bay oil (laurel oil) in different proportions, water and lye. The exact proportions are set by each maker himself, and the family recipe is kept strictly secret. For classic soap making, olive oil is heated with lye while constantly stirring. Just before the olive oil is split into fatty acid salts and glycerin, bay oil is added to the mixture. About 5,000 kg of soap mass is made at once, which is then spread in an even layer. Aging can even take years. The finished soap is cut into pieces and the manufacturer’s seal is pressed into them. A good trick to check if the Aleppo soap is of good quality: drop it in water – the soap should rise to the surface.
The quality of the soap is an honor and many dangers are braved for it. In the current conditions of war, it may even cost the masters their lives to continue their work. If the laurel oil runs out in the area, it has to be obtained from further away, which poses a great danger to both the makers themselves and their families. As a result, the number of soap makers has drastically decreased – while in 2011 Aleppo soap was produced in about sixty small Syrian companies, now only 12 of them remain.
There are many reasons to love this rugged and rustic soap. Amazingly, in ancient times, two of the most valuable oils were chosen for the composition of soap. Bay oil is considered an anti-aging and purifying oil that helps the skin to regenerate itself. Therefore, products containing laurel oil are suitable for use in acne, dermatitis, eczema, dandruff and other skin problems. The more laurel oil is in the composition, the cleaner the soap is.
Aleppo soap is irreplaceable in every family, suitable for daily hand and body washing. The combination of olive and bay oil is suitable for all skin types, so Aleppo soap is also a good face soap. By leaving it on the face for a few minutes, we get a cleansing and moisturizing face mask. Soaps with a laurel oil content of less than 20% are particularly mild and are therefore also suitable for baby washing or baby skin care. The brave ones also use Aleppo instead of shampoo. The longer the Aleppo soap has been standing, the stronger its foam becomes – so the old soap can also be used instead of shaving cream.
Sometimes the original recipe is deviated from and other oils or additives are added to the classic ingredients. We have included 70% and 30% Aleppo soaps in our selection, as well as a convenient version with a pump that contains laurel berries. The soap soothes and helps regenerate skin cells, so it is suitable as a face wash for aging skin. Due to its antibacterial properties, it is also a good choice for shaving soap.
According to tradition, Aleppo soap should only be made in Syria, but by now some producers have fled the war and moved production elsewhere. However, by buying Aleppo soap, you can support Syria and its people so that they can return to their homeland after the end of the war. Aleppo soap is the best possible choice for body care, as it is good for the skin, the environment and ethically.