African Black Soap: What is it, 8 Amazing Benefits, and Product Suggestions!
By Jacqueline Samaroo
African black soap has been hailed by many naturalistas as one of the “holy grail” natural haircare products. Whether you have never heard of it or you are already using it (and LOVING it!), keep reading. Here’s what you’ll discover in this article:
- What is African black soap?
- History of African black soap
- Top 8 Benefits of African black soap
- 3 African black soap products for natural haircare
And, stay tuned! We have a comprehensive look at African black soap products lined up for you in an upcoming article.
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What is African black soap?
African black soap is an all-natural, handmade, plant-based product frequently used as a cleanser, moisturizer, and exfoliator. It is used for both skin and hair care. Other common names for it in Western countries are African soap and black soap.
Traditionally, the soap is free of additives. It is also made without lye and has no added dyes or fragrances. It does, however, have a naturally earthy, slightly chocolatey scent.
There are more than 100 different types of African black soap. That’s not so surprising really since the recipes vary depending on the area in which the soap is made.
Usual ingredients include palm kernel oil, cocoa pod ash, plantain skin ash, and palm leaf ash. Additions for added benefits include things like aloe vera, honey, shea butter, lime, camwood, and cocoa butter.
The soap has a brown-to-gray and mottled appearance. Its characteristic color can be attributed to the methods used to change its all-plant ingredients into soap. These include sun-drying and roasting of the leaves, pods, and peels.
The resulting soap is soft with a rough texture and an uneven surface that may be crumbly at the edges.
Furthermore, each batch of the soap is unique even if the recipe (ingredients list and method) for making the soap remains the same.
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History of African black soap
African black soap was created in the Yoruba communities of West Africa. Most sources credit the Yoruba of Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, and Togo. Yoruba women have been making it for centuries. They use recipes that have been passed down from one generation to the next.
The soap became popularized outside of Yoruba communities as it was among the homemade and homegrown goods the Yoruba women sold.
Different varieties of the soap are made in different regions. It also goes by various local names, including ose dudu in Nigeria and anago samina in Ghana.
Authentic African black soap sold in Western countries is often made by fair trade groups in African communities. These groups are made up of women who source local materials in sustainable ways and use traditional methods to make the soap.
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Top 8 Benefits of African black soap
Different preparations of the soap were shown to be effective at treating and preventing certain types of fungal infections as well as candida albicans yeast infection.
It has been found to be just as effective as or more effective than conventional medicated soaps in combating various types of skin bacteria.
This soap is an excellent cleaner. It removes dirt, grease, and residue buildup from the scalp and hair. It is also gentle and non-irritating and can even be used as a facial cleanser and makeup remover.
The raw, natural ingredients in the soap make it great for exfoliating the scalp. Be sure to give yourself a relaxing scalp massage each time you shampoo with it! Note: Rubbing an African black soap bar directly onto your skin is not recommended.
Aloe vera, shea butter, and cocoa butter have been proven to have moisturizing effects on the skin. African black soap that includes one or more of these ingredients should leave your scalp moisturized.
African black soap made with ingredients such as aloe vera, lime, and camwood may have a soothing effect on the skin, including the skin of the scalp. This is attributed to its anti-microbial and anti-itch properties.
7. Easy to wash off
It washes off easily without leaving behind any residue. Therefore, repeated use as a shampoo should not cause a buildup of residue on your hair and scalp.
8. Safe for most skin types
The traditional soap is made without additives, such as dyes and fragrances. This means persons with sensitive skin should find it to be non-irritating. Persons who normally use unscented soaps or who have allergies triggered by some of the ingredients in modern soaps should have no issues with this soap either.
3 African black soap products for natural haircare
Contains African black soap, bamboo charcoal, and tea tree oil working together to gently exfoliate and cleanse your scalp while relieving itching and dryness.
An all-in-one product that works as a shampoo, body wash, hand soap, and facial cleanser. Also has a creamy lather to assist with shaving.
A 100% natural bar of raw African black soap for you to lather onto a washrag or loofah and use for hair, body, and face.
Do you use African black soap? What do you think of it? Let us know!