Did you read my 7 days acne treatment, in which I praised the acne-fighting properties of African black soap? Did you go out and buy yourself one? If my last post didn’t convince you, here’s some more info about african black soap that I’m hoping will convince you.
A first look at African black soap
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 the other soaps. Even though the name states that it’s black, the color is more brown, everything from light brown to very dark, and one soap can often vary in color and have spots in different shades of brown in it. The third thing you’ll notice is that the blacksoap is very soft and kind of crumbly.
The reason why the soap is brown is one of it’s key ingredients: ash. African black soap (or ABS) contains ashes from cocoa pods, plantain skin and sometimes other ashes as well. The ashes also contain a form of natural lye, and therefore ABS requires no extra lye in the production. This is the reason to why the blacksoap often is soften and crumblier than regular soap.
Using African black soap
Blacksoap is used to treat a wide range of skin problems, and is especially good for those with oily, acne prone skin or aging skin. It will clear the skin and help remove spots and uneven skin, and is a can help relieve skin problems such as proriasis. When used as a shampoo it is an effective treatment against dandruff.
To use: cut off a small piece of the soap and store the rest in an airtight container. Black soap easily absorbs water and can get too soft if left out in the bathroom, so I find it’s best to just take a small piece at a time.
- Daily face wash Apply to face and neck, leave on for a few minutes (optional) and then rinse. Use once or twice a day.
- Body wash Like a regular soap.
- Shampoo Wet your hair, rub the soap over your scalp and lather well. Rinse with lukewarm water, no need to repeat.
- Shaving cream: 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.
- Liquid soap Cut a small piece of the soap and soak it in hot water until all of the soap has been dissolved and you have a dark brown liquid. Keep in a pump bottle and use as hand soap, face wash or body wash.
- Deep-cleansing face mask Make a liquid like mentioned above. Take one teaspoon liquid ABS and mix it with two teaspoons of honey and a few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional). Apply a thick layer to face and neck and leave on for up to 30 minutes. Can also be used as a daily face wash.
Buying African black soap
The easiest place to buy blacksoap is online. However, you might be lucky enough to find one in a shop that specializes in afro hair, or an organic shop that stocks blacksoap. I bought my first soap from the brittish brand Akoma, and the soap is very good, but unless you’re based in the UK, I wouldn’t recommend ordering from their online sop. My own shipping was good and quick but most others that I’ve talked to have had big problems when ordering overseas with them. Here are some other places that you can buy from, but I don’t have any own experience from all of them: Akamuti (UK), A life balanced (USA), Ruohonjuuri (Finland), Body Bazaar (Sweden). Amazon and Etsy also have a whole bunch of options.
The main thing to look out for when buying African blacksoap is if it includes palm oil or not. Palm oil is traditionally one of the main ingredients in African black soap but nowadays you can easily find soaps that are free from palm oil as well (especially if you buy fair trade and / or organic). Palm oil is not bad for your skin per se, but generally avoided because of it’s grave impact on the shoveling of rainforests. Read more about palm oil.
Read more about african black soap:
http://kaufmann-mercantile.com/african-black-soap/ (including a recipe on how to make it yourself)