Aleppo soap: a vestige of Syrian history

According to some historians, Aleppo soap is the first solid soap of humanity, since its origin dates back more than 2000 years in the Syrian region of the same name. With almost a decade of civil war in this Eastern country and the millions of displaced Syrians, Aleppo soap refuses to disappear. 

When the war began in Syria, a large number of citizens had to leave their country carrying among their belongings what they could carry in their hands, including their culture and history. Among these objects was the traditional Aleppo soap, a hygiene product used ancestrally by Syrian families and whose main distinction is the intense green color inside the bar.

Among the millions of displaced people distributed in Europe, Zena arrived in France, a Syrian woman whose grandfather made this soap in her hometown, so she wanted to make the products of her country known and started a company to import the cosmetics that had survived in the city devastated by civil war. 

For their part, another Syrian family living in Canada, who had also worked for generations in the Aleppo soap industry, opened a shop this year to sell the handmade product. 

Given the rise and recognition of this natural soap, the Spanish company Letizia Buzon opened a factory in Gaziantep, a Turkish city located 50 kilometers from Aleppo. This company is focused on maintaining the tradition of soap making, while at the same time employing 50 Syrian families who now live in this part of Turkey. 

The oldest soap

The origin of Aleppo soap dates back to 2000 years ago, when it was in this Syrian city where the saponification process was implemented for the first time, since at that time there were only soap emulsions. 

It was at the time of the crusades that Aleppo soap spread to different parts of Europe and became known for its incredible natural properties to moisturize the skin. Despite the industrial revolution, the same soap production process was maintained for generations in Aleppo, thus preserving its craftsmanship. 

The way of making this soap is as follows: it begins with the harvest of the olive and the laurel, the raw material to make the product is collected in the month of October.

Then, all the ingredients are cooked to spread out on large plates and wait for them to dry over a period of nine months. Once the soaps are ready, the process of cutting, packaging and brand printing begins. Once that time is over, the soap will acquire a brown color, however it retains the characteristic intense green color inside.

Ingredients and benefits

Authentic Aleppo soap is valued as the purest soap in the world for its natural ingredients, so it is also hypoallergenic, since it does not have any type of chemical additives or dyes. Next we talk more about its ingredients:

  • Olive oil: It has softening, antioxidant, anti-aging and moisturizing properties.
  • Laurel oil: Provides its antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities; helping to balance oily skin, while giving the soap a very particular aroma.
  • Sodium hydroxide: Also called caustic soda, a necessary element for the saponification process, it can be obtained from sea salt or from a plant called Salsola Kali.
  • Water: Preferably pure spring water.

Use of Aleppo soap

This product is not only used for personal hygiene, but many of its uses make it an essential in any home. This keeps moths away from our clothes just by leaving a bar of soap in the closet. Likewise, it is a great detergent, helping to eliminate those most difficult stains without mistreating the fabrics.

Among the dermatological benefits offered by this soap, we can affirm that it is the most appropriate for all skin types, even for the delicate dermis of children and babies. Another key benefit of this product is that it deeply moisturizes the skin and serves as a mask to reduce blemishes, rejuvenating tired complexions.

For its part, the excellent combination of olive and laurel oils will make the skin recover softness and flexibility, giving it a younger appearance. Of the other applications of this soap, we mention that it also serves as an anti-dandruff shampoo, since it moisturizes the scalp, preventing flaking that causes itching and burning. 

Where to buy Aleppo soap

As it is a 100% natural product, it is very difficult to find it in traditional perfumeries or supermarkets, so the safest place to buy this soap is in markets or craft establishments, as well as in stores specializing in Arab products.

In addition, thanks to electronic commerce through the Internet, there are already many virtual stores that sell this product, and it can be found on well-known platforms such as Amazon at affordable prices and with very positive ratings among users. 

How to recognize an original Aleppo soap

We know that you want to buy the best soap of the moment, but it is also difficult to recognize the real Aleppo soap, since there are many imitations on the market that, although they seem similar, do not contain all the properties of traditional soap. Here are some features that are difficult to imitate:

  • The authentic Aleppo soap bar is whitish/brown in color, depending on the drying time or the quality of the olive oil.
  • It has the manufacturer’s name made as an embossed inscription.
  • The inside of the soap is bright green.
  • The smell it gives off is bay berries.
  • The ingredients shown on the label must be bay oil, olive oil, caustic soda and water. 
  • It should never have any other type of oil.
  • It can carry ecological cosmetic seals that indicate that no toxic component has been added to the product.

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