Did You Know? Historical records show that the Babylonians were making soaps around 2800 BCE., mostly for cleaning linen rather than the body. Much later, around the 19th century, when the great scientist Louis Pasteur explained the importance of personal hygiene, the demand for soap increased significantly. Today, soap is an inevitable part of life, just like food, air, and water.
African Black Soap
The use of handmade raw African black soap can make your skin more supple and glowing. It is traditionally made in West Africa, especially Ghana, from sun-dried palm leaves, cocoa pod powder, roasted plantain skins, and shea butter. Even today, people of the Yoruban tribe settled in Nigeria still make this soap. They use their own specific blend of oils and follow a particular cooking technique. The secret recipes are carefully passed on from one generation to the next. Black soap made by these tribes is considered authentic.
The color of the soap can be black or brown. The roasted plantains determine the color. If plantains are roasted for an extended period of time, the soap becomes darker. It is not artificially scented and contains no color enhancers and preservatives. It has a natural earthy scent or a faint chocolate scent as it contains cocoa powder.
It is not as hard as regular soaps and is not uniform in shape too. In fact, it is soft and crumbly. As the ingredients used and the method of preparation vary from place to place, the soap varies in shape, color, and size. Brands like Nubian Heritage and Shea Moisture are known for their natural and organic beauty products like the African black soap.
- Plantain peel ash
- Palm leaves
- Spring water
- Cocoa pod powder
- Shea butter
- Virgin coconut cream oil
- Palm kernel oil
- Shea tree bark
- Palm oil
- Aloe vera leaf juice
- Olive oil
- Oat kernel meal
- Vegetable glycerin
- Certain herbs like rosemary
Skin Care Benefits
Deep Cleansing Action
As the soap carries antibacterial and antifungal properties, you can use it for deep pore cleansing. The most important point is that it cleanses the skin without harsh chemicals.
It contains oils and butter. So, you can use it as a makeup remover. This would prevent drying of delicate facial skin.
Suitable for all Ages
Anyone can use it, as it is good for both dry and oily skin. It’s good for babies as well as the elderly. Although it contains oil and butter, it keeps the skin hydrated without increasing the oiliness of the skin. Those who have dry skin should opt for the variety that contains shea butter or other moisturizing agents. After a bath, they should apply some moisturizer on their skin. It can be used by those who have sensitive skin as it normally doesn’t irritate the skin. However, excessive use can irritate the skin and may leave it dry.
Regular use of raw African black soap helps get rid of razor bumps and dark spots. Shea butter moisturizes the skin. Moreover, it does not clog the pores. Men may use it as shaving soap.
Works Great for Acne
It carries antibacterial properties, and it has natural exfoliating qualities. So, it promotes deep cleansing. This helps prevent formation of new acne on the face, shoulder, and back.
It is packed with vitamins A, E, and iron. It is nourishing for the skin and helps improve its quality to a great extent.
As it contains more shea butter than any other soap, it offers UV protection. The antioxidants present in the soap protect the skin from free radical damage, which can otherwise lead to wrinkles and fine lines. Thus, it prevents premature aging of your skin.
Helps Battle Skin Problems
Because of its medicinal properties, it is widely used to fight acne, rosacea, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, dryness, blackheads, and other skin conditions.
Natural Body Scrub
Instead of using modern technology, traditional methods are still followed to make the soap. As a result, the final product does not have a smooth and superior texture as other modern soaps. The soap itself is slightly abrasive, and this makes it an excellent body scrub.
Safe and Harmless
Usually, soaps and several other cosmetic products contain chemicals like sodium hydroxide, which promote saponification of oils and fats. But in black soap, the ash of cocoa pods, when added to the oil, initiates saponification. It does not contain sodium laurel sulfate, yet it lathers like other soaps. Being chemical-free, it is environment-friendly too.
Benefits for Hair
The soap is also used as a shampoo (often in diluted form) to wash hair. Shea butter softens the hair.
As all ingredients are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, they can make your hair stronger. Those who are allergic or sensitive to caffeine should stay away from this soap, as the cocoa pods could cause a skin reaction. Some people experience tingling sensation after using this soap, but this is normal, and it usually goes away on its own. The ash is responsible for this side effect.
While buying an African black soap, you should carefully check the ingredients list. It has been observed that some manufacturers sell soaps that are dyed black to look like the authentic ones. They do not carry the required medicinal properties, and they can be harmful to your skin.