Aleppo Soap

You take a first look at it, and it might not look like much. Light brown in color, a bit dirty looking, with a stamp in arabic on the top that you might not understand. It might be quite unevenly cut and you might find it lying in a box with tons of others, without any packaging. You pick it up, and it smells of earth and hay. But then you might cut it open, and you will be greeted by a beautiful deep emerald color. And then you might use it, and your will fall in love.

The product I’m talking about is one of the oldest cosmetic products there is. The traditions of Aleppo soap making is over a thousand years old, and is by some considered to be the first hand soap ever made.

aleppo soap

Aleppo soap is a composition of olive oil and laurel oil. Laurel oil has stong antibacterial, antifungal and anti-itching properties. This in combination with the nourishing and moisurizing properties of the olive oil makes Aleppo soap the perfect mild soap to use for a whole variety of purposes. Aleppo soap is said to help wound and scar healing as well as treat acne, rosacea, psoriasis and insect bites. It has even been found to inhibit skin and breast cancer cell growth!

Buying the right Aleppo soap

You can find aleppo soap in some oriental markets, or online. If you buy it from an arabic shop it will probably be a lot cheaper than you can find online, however, there can be a big difference in quality.

Generally, the finer the aleppo soap is, the more laurel oil it contains. Aleppo soap can contain everything from no laurel oil up to about 40% laurel oil. You might think, like I did, that the greener the inside of the soap is, the more laurel oil it contains. That’s actually not the case. Usually it’s often the other way around – a soap that is very green on the inside is usually cheaper and contains less laurel oil. The longer the soap is aged, the more the green color will fade in favor of brown.

You can test the soap by putting it in water to see if it floats. Proper Aleppo soap is one of the few soaps that actually floats in water.

Like you saw above, laurel oil is a very potent ingredient, but that also makes it very strong. Some people therefore actually prefer to buy an Aleppo soap with lower laurel oil content, as it is milder and better suited for their sensitive skin.

Using Aleppo soap

Aleppo soap can be used in a whole variety of ways.

Aleppo soap

  1. Hand soap Aleppo soap is a perfect everyday soap to wash you hands with.
  2. Body wash The soap is also very good to use as your regular body wash
  3. Baby skin and intimate care Especially the soaps with lower laurel oil content  (>20%) are mild and perfect for sensitive skin.
  4. Face wash/face mask Aleppo soap is perfect to use as a daily face wash for any skin type, even sensitive skin. Leave on for a minute or so to get more effect.
  5. Shampoo Use Aleppo soap to wash your hair! It’s much more handy than any shampoo bottle, and milder. The result is shiny, clean and fullbodied. Just rub the soap over your scalp, work up a lather, rinse and repeat if necessary.
  6. Shaving cream The antibacterial properties of the laurel oil makes aleppo soap the perfect shaving cream. Work up a lather with a shaving brush or in your hands.
  7. Liquid soap Liquid aleppo soap is perfect to use as a hand soap, or any other of the uses mentioned for that matter. To make liquid aleppo soap, grate the soap and pour hot water over it. Best stored in a pump bottle.  

Read more:

Vad finns i min aleppo soap? Alepposkola del 1

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  1. Ashley

    Hello hello Hilda! I was just jumping around in your blog and thought I’d say hi. (I love the post about using up food skins, seeds, etc. before/instead of throwing them away)

    I had never heard of this soap before reading your post. I love that it is bright green inside… and sad that the green represents a lesser quality. Ah well. It’s still beautiful nonetheless.

    I’ve been looking for some natural alternatives to body wash. Right now I’m just using some of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap – more natural, yes, but still boring.

    1. hilda

      Hi Ashley!

      Glad you liked the posts 🙂 Me, I currently use either aleppo soap or african black soap as a body wash. I think I read somewhere that aleppo soap is techically a castille soap as well, so they’re apparently not that far apart 🙂 I wrote about ABS a little while back:

      Before, I’ve also used rhassoul clay as body wash, but it takes some preparation as it needs to be mixed with water. I also know a lot of people that don’t use soap at all, and instead exfoliate with a scrub, for instance a mix of olive oil and sugar. That’s really nice because you don’t need any moisturizer afterward either.

      1. Ashley

        I do love to use some scrubs as well, but for now at least I’d feel weird not using some kind of wash. That’s probably silly, but ah well; I’m not washing with chemicals, at least. 😉

  2. Sandra

    Hello Hilda!
    I only recently discovered your blog, and it’s brilliant! I have a couple of questions though:
    Where do you buy your aleppo soap from?
    Also, I only wash my hair with soda bicarbonate and apple cider vinegar and it’s working great for me. However, I was wondering if you have tried the aleppo soap as a shampoo and what would you say the difference is between washing your hair with aleppo and bicarbonate/acv? Which would you say is better for the hair in general?

    Thanks for a great site!!

    1. hilda

      Hi Sandra! Glad you like the site 🙂 I bought my aleppo from an oriental shop close to where I live, it was like 15 swedish kr but it seems to be right (probably not all too high content of laurel oil though). Where do you live? You might want to take a look around in some oriental shops around your area. Other wise I know that Body Bazar has them.
      It’s really difficult to say what is better for the hair in general, because everybody’s hair is very different. I must say I personally prefer aleppo soap to the bicarbonate/acv blend, party because it’s so much easier and partly because my hair seems to like the aleppo more. But I’d actually recommend to do acv rinses also after aleppo washing (at least every now and again), because the pH level of soaps is always a bit off because of the lye. I wrote about the no ‘poo-method of bicarbonate and acv a while back if you want to read. Also I have a whole bunch of other hair washing methods that I’ve tried but this might confuse you even more 😉 Here’s the list of hair washing methods. Just try different things until you find something you like is my suggestion 🙂 Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

      1. Sandra

        Hey! Thanks for your quick reply!
        I live in Turku, Finland but I am heading over to Stockholm in a few weeks. I am quite happy with my SB/ACV regime at the moment but I need to find something a bit more convenient for my travels (heading out for a backpacking trip in Italy in a few months) and I need something more soap shaped 🙂 I have used the soap bars from lush for years but since moving from England I’ve just stopped buying them because they are so much more expensive here, also I wanted to go even more natural.
        Which would you say that you personally prefer out of aleppo soap, ABS and the Eliah Shalil herbal powder for the hair? And which would you say that you prefer as an allround soap out of the Aleppo and ABS especially for skin care?
        My face is prone to outbreaks and even when my skin looks clear it is always bumpy and spotty. I have tried many different things and after a while I just stopped washing my face daily because no ammount of washing helped. I started moisturising with only virgin coconut oil a few years back and that cleared my skin very well in the beginning. Now I have just started using jojoba oil and I think it is still to early to tell wether it is making a difference or not. I haven’t tried the OCM yet though. But would you say that Aleppo or ABS would be worth a try as a facial wash? Or which do you prefer?

        1. hilda

          I don’t know any specific shops but I figure you should be able to find some in Turku, if you have some shops that sell arabic products (you might have to ask for it though, it often seems to be kind of hidden away). Ruohonjuuri stocks ABS as well as Eliah Sahil, at least the one in Kamppi/Helsinki.
          I actually love all three, aleppo, ABS and Eliah Sahil. I think you have kind of similar skin type as me, I’d have to say I prefer ABS for my oily / acne prone skin. I’d definitely give ABS a shot as a facial wash I were you. Also I think jojoba oil is great to use as a facial oil, coconut oil can be a bit rough and some people report cosmetic acne after using it.
          I don’t know if Eliah Sahil has changed their recipe because the one I have now makes my eyes really irritated. I never experienced this before but now I hardly use it any more because no matter how hard I try not to get any in my eyes they are all read after showering. I really love the soaps because they can be used for almost anything and are so easy to bring. When travelling now, I basically just bring an ABS and a bottle of oil, and a deodorant 🙂 I even brush my teeth with the soaps haha.
          Jag antar att du pratar svenska, är du medlem i facebookgrupperna? Det finns en hel massa: Grundgruppen, Hardcore en specifik för Finland bland annat. Där kan du säkert fråga var du hittar aleppo i sthlm, kanske nån i Finlandsgruppen vet om Åbo också.

          1. Sandra

            Jo ja pratar svenska 🙂 är medlem i alla dem nu, tack för tipsen! Ja ska ta och pröva ABS, är även väldigt nyfiken på Konjak spongen!
            Ha det så bra och tack för din hjälp och dina utförliga svar!

  3. aleppo mydło

    I absloutely love your honesty here , I can’t get it why this craziness going about “Being Natural ” “Organic” …etc women are hyping these days , I don’t hate natural remedies but they aren’t all good either ! I remember asking about that all natural ingredients a family friend who was a professor of Pharamgology at the university , who always supported his beloved wives to cosmetics , and he replied saying :”They are good , but when resreached and used in the right way and dosage “

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