For over 15 years, the French company, NAJJAR, has been involved in natural cosmetics, as both a manufacturer and distributor. We distribute body care products based mainly on olive oil, notably Aleppo Soap, the famous ancestor of Marseille Soap. This soap, which was first brought back to France in the Middle Ages (500 to 1500 AD), by the Crusades, is manufactured today in Aleppo, in the north of Syria, to traditional, artisanal methods. It is made solely from olive oil and bay laurel oil.
SAS|NAJJAR is made up of a head office in France and two manufacturing sites in Syria: we have our own agricultural production of 14 olive groves, and currently contract farmers to maintain more than 10,650 olive trees. The valley of laurel trees is located between two mountain ranges near the Mediterranean coast close to Masyaf. These plantations are bound by our commitment to Ecocert.
SAS|NAJJAR in Syria is made up of several sites necessary for the production of Aleppo Soap:
> The oil mill: where we produce the two oils which are absolutely essential in Aleppo Soap, olive oil and bay laurel oil. The harvesting of olives and bay laurel berries is done by hand between August and October. The bay laurel berries are prepared prior to pressing: they are immersed in boiling water to separate the flesh from the kernel (as the bay laurel berry kernel is toxic) and only the flesh is used. The oils are then pressed just once using a hydraulic process; a first completely cold pressing which preserves all their qualities.
> The soap factory: for the saponification and manufacture of 200g traditional hard soaps, drying (9 months) and cleaning of soaps (see fabrication steps below).
> A 2400 m2 site: to make our liquid products (liquid soap, shower gel, shampoo, laundry gel), compressed hard soaps (scented soaps: rose, jasmine, cumin etc.), wrapping, packaging, labeling and product storage. The infrastructure in Syria manufactures, packages, stocks and ships directly to the company SAS|NAJJAR in Villeurbanne. On average, we take in 3 containers every 4 months at our warehouse.
We produce our own raw materials, which gives total assurance as to the contents of the cosmetic products that are available under the Najel brand. We are entirely specialized in the manufacturing process.
The different stages in the manufacture of Aleppo Soap adhere to a traditional method in keeping with an ancestral recipe, which is fundamental to the quality of our soaps:
1. For over 3,000 years, from late November to late February, the making of the world’s first hard soap, has been repeated following an unchanged process. The saponification begins by heating water and caustic soda (sodium hydroxide NaOH) in a huge cauldron (1) to a specific temperature. We add olive oil which is left to heat for 12 hours, then left to stand. One of our main assets is that we heat by steam distillation which means we can control the temperature. If the temperature is too high, the oils lose their properties.
2. The next day, we heat the contents of the cauldron, whilst mixing it and add bay laurel oil (which has first been filtered).
3. The entire preparation is then rinsed with fresh water several times to remove any trace of caustic substances (sodium). The water is then removed from the cauldron and recycled. These stages are part of the saponification process: the oil is transformed into soap molecules (2) by a natural chemical reaction between the oils and the sodium hydroxide.
4. The resulting soap paste is spread in a basin and smoothed at the surface (3). Once solidified, it is hand cut into blocks of soap (4). Each soap is then hand stamped with our Najel trademark (5 and 6).
5. The soaps are then lifted little by little onto pallets and divided by percentage of bay laurel oil (7) before being put in ventilated cellars, away from the sun. So begins the 9 month drying process. During this time, the soaps oxidize at the surface and take on a yellow/brown color whilst retaining an olive green color on the inside (8).
Aleppo Soap is an authentic, natural product, renowned throughout the world. It contains no added coloring agents, synthetic fragrances, palm oil or preservatives.