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Fer à Cheval: The Timeless Skincare Tradition of Soap

By Marko Brdarski March 03, 2021

A timeless tradition. How else can you describe almost 170 years of experience in the production of this iconic Marseille soap? Rooted in historic recipes and refreshed with modern knowledge of skincare, Fer à Cheval is the ideal gentle and all-natural cleanser you need.

Who is Fer à Cheval?

In the 19th century, you would find a tiny soap factory on every corner in Marseille. Today, Fer à Cheval soap factory is the oldest soap factory in Marseille out of the four that remain. In 1856, the candlemaker switched to making traditional Marseille soap. Following its acquisition in 1895, the factory produced Marseille soap on behalf of several brands, including Le Chat, and in 2003 took over responsibility for maintaining only the Fer à Cheval historic brand.

What does Fer à Cheval mean?

In the 19th century, it was customary to name soap factories after an expression, word, or other phrase that would evoke good luck. That is how Fer à Cheval, meaning horseshoe in French, got its name. Accompanying the name was the brand symbol, a horseshoe with seven nails.

How are the soaps produced?

Although the manufacturers keep the secret of the recipe to themselves, they will be happy to give you a peek under the cover of the saponification process. It’s the saponification of olive oil that produces the soap. At the beginning of it all is quality olive oil, which is boiled and mixed with water and other ingredients until the mixture is saponified. Only then does the actual shaping of the soap take place. 

The saponification takes place in the traditional way in old cauldrons, which give rise to exceptional soap products. "We carefully produce and select ingredients to create the basis for real Marseille soap. We are at the very source of the product and we pass on know-how from generation to generation. Thanks to this, we proudly carry the Living Heritage Company brand – a brand of quality and tourism for maintaining ancient expertise,” says the brand.

Because the soap is made from olive oil, it’s ideal for washing the whole body. It’s gentle, natural, and proven by many years of use. Nowadays, you can also choose from various fragrances, ingredients, care mixtures, and designs.

Interesting fact: The Savon de Marseille trademark designates only high-quality, genuine Marseille soap, which must contain at least 72% natural oil.

In the end, Fer à Cheval is not just a cosmetic cleaner. It represents the real and living heritage of Marseille. When it comes wrapped, it makes a beautiful gift from the heart. After all, the brand is made from the heart.

WONDERFUL TIP: If you don't know how to gift, choose our historical set with Marseille soap and a wooden stand with a brush, or a beautiful traditional olive set in a gift box.

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