Recently, we saw three simple rules to live by when selecting a luxury soap:
Rule # 1 – The closer something is to your body, the better it should be.
Rule # 2 – Our days are finite, so use the good stuff.
Rule # 3 – Soap is to the body, what laughter is to the soul.
We here at Au Bon Goût Boutique take these three simple rules to heart which is why we only carry exceptional brands of soap: Apis Cera, a luxury soap handmade by a small artisan company located in the south of France, two larger French brands Panier des Sens and Prè de Provence, and one luxury American brand, Antica Farmacista.
It’s unfortunate that many American’s don’t appreciate the true differences between commercial brand soaps purchased in the grocery store, and a luxury triple-milled luxury French soap –that is, until you actually try a triple-milled soap. The rich, smooth creamy lathers, the subtle fragrances of the soap, the softness of your skin afterwards, will have you wondering, “why haven’t I been using these soaps all along?”
Origins of the Triple-Milled Process
The French are credited with inventing the soap-milling process in the 18th century. The process involves shredding cold-processed soap, then running it through three or more rollers to press it. Hence the name “French-milled or triple-milled.” Some French soaps, like Pré de Provence are even quad-milled.
Why 'Mill' Soap?
The goal of milling is to thoroughly mix the soap and any fragrances or extra ingredients added to the soap base, while squeezing out any extra moisture or air. Truth be told, triple milled soap is sometimes put through the milling machine more than three times. This milling process makes soap harder, so a bar lasts much longer than commercial brands, and more importantly, milder to the skin because the resulting texture is finer. This makes them especially ideal for use, especially by any one with sensitive skin. With that, these soaps are more than just a cleaning tool, they are instruments of self-care, of self-love, of slowing down and enjoying a moment of pampering and bliss.
Are Triple-Milled Soaps Better?Now you know what French triple-milled soap is, and how it is made, it is logical to ask, “o.k. – but is it better than ordinary, commercial brand soaps?” Absolutely!
- The soap will have no impurities
- It is smoother than regular soaps
- It has a creamy lather and is more luxurious than other soaps
- It is denser and will last many times longer than regular bars, and
Each bar will be consistent in color, fragrance, and texture.
Authentic Marseille Soaps – “Savon de Marseille”
Famous the world over for its purity and quality and instantly recognizable by its unique shape and color, there is much to love about Savon de Marseille. These incredible cubes are gentle, pure and naturally anti-bacterial and have been the workhorses of French kitchens, laundry rooms and greenhouses for centuries.
Using only natural organic ingredients sourced in Provence, these amazing cubes are composed solely of vegetable oils, (ideally locally pressed olive oil at 72%), natural ash from marine plants grown exclusively in the Camargue region, salt and water. They are made only in Marseille, France using a strictly controlled traditional process which has remained unchanged for over 600 years, and can be used in a variety of ways in and around the home. For a soap to be officially classified as “savon de Marseille” or a Marseille soap, it must be 100% natural, and contain 72% vegetable oil, notably olive oil. No animal products or additives, artificial fragrances, coloring, or preservatives are permitted. Often you’ll see the 72% figure stamped onto the soap, along with the words “savon de Marseille”. As far as ingredients, for an authentic savon de Marseille, there are only 4 basic ingredients: vegetable oils, water, salt, and soda.
Bar Soap vs. Liquid Body Wash
Bar soap vs. body wash, it's an age-old debate and most people are firmly on one side or the other. But here's why Pré de Provence suggests you should give bar soap a chance!
Bar Soap comes in a Variety of Scents
French Bar soaps (especially online) have more scent / natural fragrance options and maybe even some new scents you've never heard of from which to choose.
Bar Soap is Portable
One of the best things about bar soap is how portable it is. Bar soaps range from travel size to jumbo bars and typically come wrapped in plastic or paper. Bar soap isn't a liquid so no need to worry about spillage when traveling or flying.
- Bar Soap is Eco-friendly and Cost Effective
Speaking of the packaging of bar soap, when you opt for bars over bottles you are disposing of much less plastic. Some bars are even wrapped in paper that can be recycled much easier than a large plastic bottle.
So, why not give a French bar soap a try?
What Luxury Soaps Brands do We Recommend?
Apis Cera, Made 100% in France. All Apis Cera candles and soaps are hand-made in the south France by a single workshop in Provence. There, they make a limited number of the loveliest signature honeycomb candles, embossed pillars handcrafted à l’ancienne, and honey soaps and lip balms all packaged beautifully and made from natural beeswax and honey.
No chemicals, no additives nor coloring are used in the process for either the hand-rolled candles or honey / lavender soaps and their honey soaps will leave your skin feeling clean, soft, and moist. Destined to awaken your senses, all their soaps are made with French honey, known for its nourishing virtues, combined with beeswax which is a natural thickener and is a natural protector for the skin: together they make some of the world’s best soaps and balms.
Due to their small size, Apis Cera presently only makes two types of luxury soaps: Majestic - a beautiful handcrafted and cold-processed soap with organic honey and lavender from the Provence region in France. These organic soaps are elegantly boxed in groups of 3 in boxes that are custom-made to ensure their safe transportation and good conservation. Each soap is delicately wrapped in Apis Cera’s bee monogram paper. And, Imperial - an organic soap made from amazing argan oil and beeswax. Like the Majestic soaps, it is handcrafted and cold-processed.
What is Cold-Pressed? Cold Process soap is made by mixing or saponifying lye and oil. The resulting chemical reaction creates the soap. One of the main benefits of cold process soap-making is having complete control over ingredients. It is the refined mix of natural ingredients that sets Apis Cera soaps apart. Depending on the ingredients used, cold process soap-making typically yields a long-lasting bar of soap.
What is Argan Oil? The argan tree with its broad, shade-providing treetop is one of the oldest trees of the world. Today, the argan tree can only be found in southwestern Morocco. Argan oil is a plant oil that is produced from the kernels of this Argan tree and thanks to its high content of antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamin E, argan oil is a great way to moisturize the skin and protect it from the sun.
Both the Apis Cera Majestic and Imperial soaps are beautifully packaged, all made by hand, in Provence and 100% organic (Nature & Progrès). Simply put: it's the very best and we highly recommend them.
Prè de Provence & Panier des Sens. For a broader selection of French luxury soaps, we recommend two additional brands, Pré de Provence and Panier des Sens. These luxury natural soaps and bath products are created specifically for deep cleansing, hydration, and intoxicating but not overpowering scents. All are made in France with no animal testing, and with 100% natural ingredients.
Pré de Provence. Using only the finest of natural ingredients, Pré de Provence soaps and body products are meticulously fashioned in Provence by French artisans following traditions established generations ago. Each soap is triple-milled to produce a completely uniform and smooth soap, without impurities, thus lasting longer, but they took it a step further and created a quad-milled bar to be smoother and have a richer lather that creates a luxurious feel. Their aromatic natural fragrances will transport you into a moment of calmness, vitality, dreaming, or well-being. Available in 2 bar sizes, 5.3 oz and 8.8 oz for the bath. What’s not to love about that?
Panier des Sens en Provence. (translated as “Basket of the Senses”) was equally “born” in the South of France in the Provence region. Presently, they have expanded to now manufacture a complete line of soaps, lotions, skincare, bath and body products that use only the high-quality standards of Savon de Marseilles and also the scents of perfume making in Grasse France. The development of their products also excludes any animal testing. Furthermore, no ingredients of animal origin are used in for the composition of their products, except for the Regenerating Honey range, that contains extracts of honey, Propolis and Royal Jelly.
Last, but not at all least, Antica Farmacista Bar Soaps!
As with all their products, Antica Farmacista’s bar soaps as well as their liquid hand washes/soaps come highly recommended. Beautifully packaged and presented, their 4 oz soaps can be used in a powder room, or in the bath/shower. As with the French luxury soaps, their soaps are infused with shea butter, olive oil and argan, creating a creamy lather complemented by the perfect natural fragrance level.
A few recommendations when selecting your next soap or body wash. First, check the label. If you can't pronounce the ingredients, don’t buy it and certainly don’t put it on your skin. Ingredients should be natural and sound like your breakfast: honey, oatmeal, shea butter and berries.
Second, don't fall for false fragrance. Commercial brands often “amp up” the scent with manufactured fragrances. But remember: a soap's scent shouldn't overwhelm. Many natural ingredients, like almond and coconut, have little or no scent. Natural scents come from essential oils like citrus, cedar, lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint.
Lastly, pay the price. These luxury soaps will last longer, be better for your skin, and make washing a pleasure. Remember the simple rules we started out with: The closer something is to your body, the better it should be. Be good to your skin, you’ll be wearing every day for the rest of your life.