Soap must have been popular in Rome because the remains of a soapmaking facility were found in the ruins of Pompeii, complete with finished bars of soap! Although the Romans were known for their baths, they did not use soap for bathing. Instead, they used a combination of olive oil and sand which they scraped off with a “stragil,” or scraper. This combination was great for exfoliation and moisturizing. The Romans began using soap for cleansing sometime later, probably around the 2nd Century A.D. when a physician named Galen began recommending it for some skin conditions.
The Celtic people also claimed to have invented soap making and it’s very possible that numerous groups discovered how to make it around the same time.
Soap making virtually disappeared after the fall of the Roman Empire and was revived again in the 8th Century in Italy and Spain. During the 13th Century, France also became a producer of soaps for the European market and in the 14th Century, England also jumped into production.
The countries in the south of Europe began using olive oil in soap production, since it was plentiful. In the northern countries, they used animal fat or fish oil, so their soap was considered less luxurious and of lower grade.
Today, Wick-edly Sent continues the tradition of creating the highest quality olive oil soap, similar to that created by early southern Europeans. The wonderful thing about olive oil soap is that, not only does it moisturize your skin and smell wonderful, but researchers have discovered that it can also have beneifical effects! Olive oil is an antioxidant. In the form of soap, it is absorbed through the skin and can protect against against colon, breast and skin cancer, coronary heart disease and aging. It takes less than half a minute from the time you start washing with the soap for this process to begin!
If you’re not used to olive oil soap, you may think it looks a little funny, because one side will be bumpy. But go ahead and try it! The luxurious feel and delightful scent will make you feel totally pampered.
Stay tuned for our next post on how we at Wick-edly Sent makes our olive oil soaps.