What is so special about Aleppo soap?

Aleppo soap is after Aleppo, the second largest city Syria. The first solid soap was invented here over 3000 years ago, made from olive oil, laurel oil and plant ash. By returning to Due to its natural and ecological values , Aleppo soap has regained importance beyond Syria's borders.

Before the war there were a good hundred soap factories in Aleppo, but as a result of the war there are only a few that have not been destroyed or have fled the region. We at Jislaine Naturkosmetik get our soaps from one of the remaining soap factories. The soap production is located near the company's own olive groves in a small town called Afrin , north of Aleppo. The soap factory has 14 fields there with a total of 10,662 olive trees. The oil mill, which produces its own olive oil, is also located there.

Pressing the olivesProduction of olive oil

At the beginning of soap production, olive oil is heated together with water and soda (caustic soda) in a huge cauldron . In the past, this was done using a wood fire that generated a temperature of 190°C. The disadvantages of this method are that the high heat does not preserve all of the qualities of the olive oil and that small smoke particles get into the oil. For this reason, our soap factory has invested in modern technology to gently heat the olive oil to 95°C using steam . This heating process takes three days and is much gentler than the traditional method.

After three days, bay oil is added to the olive oil, water and soda mixture. The bay oil is not extracted from the bay leaves, but from the fruit. The bay berries are heated slightly in a kettle so that the pulp can be separated from the toxic seeds by hand. The pulp is then heated in water for around nine hours to extract pure bay oil.

During the soap making process, olive oil and laurel oil are converted into sodium olivate and sodium laurelate. Glycerine is also formed during the soap making process, but this is then washed out of the Aleppo soaps by adding table salt. The resulting thick soap mass is spread in a basin at the bottom .

Soap basin with soap mass

As soon as it has hardened, it is cut by hand or "footwork" into even bars of soap and each soap is stamped by hand with the company stamp , which has the words Aleppo, laurel soap and the name of the soap factory written in Arabic.

Cutting the Aleppo soapsSeal impression

The soaps are then left to dry for at least nine months . During this time, they oxidize on the surface and turn beige, while the inside retains its green color and fresh scent.

Drying the Aleppo soaps

Sliced ​​Aleppo soap

Sometimes they dry for even longer (up to 2 years) and get a brownish surface. The color depends on the heat of the Syrian summer, the drying time and the incidence of light during drying. During drying, the soaps lose about a third of their original weight (300g) and become 200g soaps. The soaps are particularly economical due to the long drying time and produce a particularly fine soap lather.

Dried Aleppo Soaps

In the past, soap quality was tested by touching the dried soap with the tip of the tongue to taste the alkalinity. Aleppo soap is slightly alkaline/basic with a pH value of 9.4. This traditional test method is still used, but nowadays pH tests, microbiological and bacteriological tests as well as challenge tests are also carried out in appropriate laboratories. These production and testing methods, some of which are traditional and some of which are modern, guarantee the consistently high quality of the soaps.

After drying for nine months, some of the classic bar soaps are chopped into soap flakes and then mechanically pressed into manageable shapes . When re-pressing, additional care additives can be added, such as black cumin oil or mud from the Dead Sea.

Pressed Aleppo soap with black cumin oil

There is something for every skin type. What all soaps have in common, however, is that they are particularly skin-friendly and do not dry out the skin. The soaps can be used for facial cleansing , showering or hand washing , shaving and even hair washing . They therefore replace a variety of body care products. And since they are only wrapped in a paper band , they replace a lot of plastic bottles. If you want to do something good for your skin and the environment , Aleppo soap is the right choice!

At the beginning of 2022 , the soap factory was able to produce soaps in Afrin again. A good 30 employees completed the new soap production by the end of March and then let it dry. By selling the soaps, the local employees can secure their livelihood .

You can buy the Aleppo soaps here >>>