At the soap museum in Saida (Sidon), Lebanon, we watched a video of the history of soap and how it came to be. There is no one definitive proof of who invented soap or how long humans have been using it. Archaeology and ancient texts have been written of various cultures making and using soap from as far back as 2200 BC...wow, that's a lot of bubbles! Soap was used for cleansing and also for medicinal reasons.
Even though the different cultures had their own recipes for soap, they all used either fat from animals or plants and some type of alkali obtained from ashes. Much like today, these recipes were passed on from one soap-maker to the next, perfected, and closely guarded. Even though everyone knows soap is a mixture of oils/fats and an alkali, it is the actual percentages and various additives - such as butters, fragrances, and natural colorants - that allow soap-makers to stand out from others.
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