In the early days tree bark and soapwort were used to enhance ablutions but in the 8th century Italian and Spanish set about creating what we now call soap from goose fat and beech tree ash ,the French (a stylish bunch)introduced the concept of replacing the animal fat or tallow with olive oil I must say a much better alternative.

Andrew Pears was one of the first people to define the need for soap as a cosmetic aid ,the son of a Cornish farmer, he set about refining the existing  harsh base soaps and eventually produced a transparent soap perfumed with the flowers of an English garden .