So what is African black soap and what makes it so special?
Well, after a first look at it you can tell it’s not like other soaps. Even though the name states that it’s black, in actuality the color is brown and can vary from light brown to very dark brown. Another aspect you will notice is that it has spots in different shades of brown in it. The third thing you will notice is that the black soap is often crumbly.
How does this homemade African Black Soap get made?
All natural African black soap is made from dried plantain skins, palm leaves, cocoa pod powder, and palm kernel oil for an all-natural cleansing process. Many recipes also include shea butter made from the nuts of the Karite tree. Plantain skins are largely what make this black soap so effective. They are a natural source of vitamins A, E, and iron.
When black soap is made, the skin of the plantain is dried under the sun and then roasted in a clay oven. The heat must be constant in order to achieve the perfect brownish black color, texture, and smell. Afterward, cocoa pod powder is added. Cocoa pod is the shell of the cocoa fruit and also has natural healing properties.
The next part of the black soap making process is very precise. The roasted plantain skin is mixed with palm and palm kernel oil to form the soap. The length and temperature at which the plantains were roasted determines the color of the soap. The longer the plantains are roasted, the darker the black soap will become when finished. The mixture is stirred for at least a day and then usually put in molds to cure for two weeks or more.
Is African black soap for all skin types?
African black soap is considered to be safe and beneficial for all skin types—dry, oily, normal, combination, and even sensitive in some cases. For the most part, users of African black soap have found it to be beneficial, even healing to the skin.
But while some find the soap moisturizing, others might find it drying. Skin will react in different ways depending on the individual and the product, especially since black soap can vary from batch to batch and can have varying proportions and types of ingredients.
How can I tell if I am buying high quality African Black Soap?
The soap is based on the ancient art of ash treatment finding a revival of interest today. As difficult as it is to obtain genuine African black soap it is no wonder so many imitations exist, even in Africa itself. In the United States some companies add black dye to regular glycerin or triple milled soaps. These soaps do not possess the medicinal qualities of authentic African black soap. Genuine African black soap is originally black although brown variations exist in neighboring countries and tribes. Even brown soaps with white specks can be found, but this is made using modern soap making methods combined with wood ash.
African black soap works by cleansing the skin but without harsh chemicals and is not your regular run-of-the-mill antibacterial grocery store soap. When you first pick up the soap, you’ll notice that it’s firm but not hard like traditional soaps and if you drop it, it will easily crumble into large chunks.
African black soap is great for oily and acne prone skin. It’s efficient for deep pore cleansing because of its natural exfoliating qualities. For some oily skin types it seems to keep the skin hydrated without increasing oil.
When you wash with it, black soap goes to work by penetrating the skin to remove impurities. It does not remove existing acne. Instead, it helps to prevent excessive oil production and bacterial growth which help create acne in the first place. When you use black soap you may experience “purging” where it seems like your skin is getting worse. Just stick it out for a couple weeks. Afterwards your skin will clear up and become vibrant as the black soap helps fade dark marks from the iron, vitamin A and vitamin E it contains.
I especially want to focus on the potency of black soap because the bar looks so innocent but packs a mean punch. That punch can be great, but if you overdo it you’ll hate the results. Though our black soap has a lower PH between 7 and 8 in comparison to traditional soap (our skin is around 4 or 5), using black soap is like getting a mini peel with each use. Because of this, many people cannot use this soap every day. The best usage is two to three times a week. However, some people can use it every day, but this is what they all have in common: they don’t scrub harshly with it. Use authentic African black soap and pay close attention to washing around our nose, mouth and eyes – where the skin is thinner and more sensitive. Just a little pressure is all you need to achieve smooth skin.
Take the soap apart and knead it into a ball to make sure there aren’t any jagged edges, rubbing between hands to work into lather. If you apply the soap directly to the skin, do so gently because there could still be particles that can tear the skin. Apply to face and neck, leave on for a few minutes (optional), and then rinse.
Wet your hair, rub the soap over your scalp, and lather well. Rinse with lukewarm water. No need to repeat.
Because the soap lathers so well, it’s great to use as a shaving cream. Use a badger hair brush to work up lather on the soap, or just work up the lather in your hands and apply to areas that you’re going to shave.
Make a liquid soap by cutting a small piece of the soap and soaking it in hot water until all the soap has been dissolved and you have a dark brown liquid. Take one teaspoon liquid soap and mix it with two teaspoons of honey and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional). Apply a thick layer to your face and neck and leave on for up to 30 minutes. Can also be used as a daily face wash
The cleansing and antibacterial properties of black soap help heal acne. It is also non-comedogenic so you don’t have to worry about blocking pores.
The natural fats in black soap from the coconut and palm oils help relieve tight, itchy, and dry skin. The iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E help to promote healthy moisturized skin keeping patches of eczema clear and itch free. Though black soap is not a cure-all, it should be one of the core components of any skin cleaning regimen.
African black soap is great to use for back breakouts. It helps to clear bacteria causing acne on your face and does the same for your back. Because the skin on your back is thicker you don’t have to worry about over usage.
The rich source of antioxidants and Vitamin A found in black soap makes for a nourishing tonic for the skin. The antioxidants boost skin cell renewal which helps promote a suppler complexion while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin A encourages collagen production which results in plumping out the skin and reducing those signs of premature aging.
African black soap is high in lauric acid giving it anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help reduce inflammation and skin irritations. The Vitamin A and E helps repair skin and sooth dry and irritated skin, relieving dry patches, rashes, and red areas.
It is often used by men during shaving because of the high shea butter content which helps to sooth and repair the cells around the hair follicle, reducing any inflammation.
I’ve read complaints about African black soap not lasting very long. If this is the case for you, you’re not storing it properly. African black soap contains a high amount of glycerin which absorbs moisture from the air and helps retain moisture on the skin, leaving it supple and soft. For this reason the soap can soften and start to slowly disintegrate when left exposed.
Since black soap absorbs water, don’t let it sit in a puddle after use. Keep it dry to keep it from dissolving. Place the bar on a wooden soap dish with slats to allow the soap to drain.
When exposed to air black soap can develop a thin white-colored film. This is not mold.
You might even want to cut off a portion from the bar, or cut and roll into small balls and place in a Ziploc bag to make it easier to use daily.
If you purchase by the pound or in bulk, cut off part of the soap and store the rest in a cool, dry place. Leave it wrapped in plastic and then put in a Ziploc bag.
Needless to say, Raw African Black Soap is a miracle worker, and if its uses were tallied up they would number in the thousands. In addition to the above, Raw African Black Soap has also been known to help treat the following:
The list goes on!
Not just your average, everyday bar soap, black soap is known as quite the wonder product! Be patient, as black soap can take a few weeks to reach its full effectiveness.