Soap is perhaps humans’ earliest hygiene and grooming tool, yet classic forms such as bars are enjoying resurgent relevance in the age of convenience and sustainability.
Origins of a World-changing Technology
Cleansing one’s self with precious aromatics has a long, storied history, stretching from Ancient Roman times to the Islamic Golden Age and right up to today. The first solid soaps were believed to have come from Babylonia in 2,800 BC. According to a soap recipe dating back to 2,200 BC, Babylonian soap was made with water, an alkali and cassia oil.1
Cultures around the world each found their own unique way to create soaps. Israelis made soaps from potash and lye leached from wood ashes, while those on the African continent made black soap from plant ash (dried palm kernels or roasted cocoa pods), water and a fats such as coconut oil, palm oil and shea butter.2-3
Regardless of region, it seems like humans were destined to find a way to cleanse themselves and their belongings.