Have you been shopping lately and noticed soap in a dark brown or black color? It’s not moldy and its dark color doesn’t mean it’s dirty either. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite.
So what exactly is in this mysterious black soap and where does it come from? We’re going to go over everything you need to know about African black soap. From where it comes from to its benefits, you’re going to be an expert by the time you’re done here.
We’re also going to give you our best African black soap picks to make your decision easier.
African Black Soap and How It’s Made
Traditionally, this soap comes from West Africa, usually Ghana (1). The dark color comes from the ash belonging to various plants and tree barks. It could come from plantains, shea trees, cocoa pods, palm leaves, and more.
The ingredients are sun-dried and then added to a kettle to roast. Water and oils like palm or coconut oil are added in to bind everything together. After it sits for around two weeks, it’s ready to be used.
Because this soap is typically made by villagers in Africa, it is usually “Fair Trade Certified.” Fairtrade certified goods are guaranteed to fairly compensate all people involved in making a product (2).
This is nice because you know your money isn’t just going into the pocket of a big-time CEO.
Ingredients and Benefits
African black soap is a great organic alternative to other soaps on the market. They don’t typically have any added preservatives or coloring to make it last longer as other bar soaps do.
It doesn’t have any harsh ingredients either. Most big brand soaps have fragrance, parabens, sulfates, and triclosan added in (3). The ingredients in African black soap are all-natural so your body gets plenty of benefits from it.
1. Palm Oil
Despite being a saturated fat, palm oil can be good for you. It’s high in antioxidants and has both forms of vitamin E which are good for acne and eczema (4). It also has carotene, which is good for reducing cell damage caused by pollution and toxic substances.
Palm oil and palm kernel oil can be confused for each other quite frequently. Palm oil, however, comes from the flesh of palm. Palm kernel oil comes from the seed.
2. Palm Kernel Oil
This oil is used to thicken up the soap and is high in lauric acid. Lauric acid is used for treating a number of infections including some flu strains as well as cold sores among other things (5).
This is nice because you know you’re getting at the grime, dirt, and unseen germs on your skin when you use it.
3. Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean. While it’s typically used in baking, it has benefits for your skin as well (6). Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids, which are known for their ability to hydrate the skin and improve elasticity.
Cocoa butter is commonly used to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles as well as other pesky skin marks. It can also help heal rashes caused by eczema and dermatitis.
4. Shea Butter
Shea butter is similar in consistency to cocoa butter. It’s commonly used to help heal burns, scars, and other skin issues like psoriasis and dermatitis. Like cocoa butter, it is extremely moisturizing and can reduce fine lines and wrinkles too.
Shea butter also has cinnamic acid in it. Cinnamic acid is an antioxidant that has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties (7).
How to Use It
Because African black soap is completely natural, it’s safe to use on your face, body, and hair. There are a few different ways you can use it.
African black soap is softer than traditional soaps and can easily break off. To use it directly, just break off a small piece and then use water to help lather it. This soap makes a rich lather so a little piece can go a long way.
To use it in liquid form, grab an empty bottle and scoop a tablespoon of the soap off of the brick. Drop the scoop into the bottle and then fill the rest of it with warm water. Set it aside for 24 hours and the water will infuse with the soap.
The Best African Black Soaps of 2020
Now you have the lowdown on the history and the benefits of this mysterious soap. That means it’s time to talk about our favorites. We’ve scoured the products on the market to find the ones that clean up the competition.
1. Our Earth’s Secrets Premium Soap
This soap brand is made in Ghana and uses traditional African recipes and techniques. Aside from the main African black soap ingredients, this soap also contains natural sodium too.
Because it’s raw, it’s recommended to lather the soap before applying it to your skin. The soap may contain some small pieces of husk which can scratch you otherwise.
With this choice, you’ll get three 1 pound bricks of the soap. This is nice because a little goes a long way and it’ll last you a while before you need to purchase again.
The product doesn’t contain any added fragrances either. It’s recommended for regular use in clearing acne and dark spots and is a good makeup remover too.
- Comes with three bricks.
- Good makeup remover.
- Good for hair, body, and face.
- Soap may be a little sticky.
2. Rise ‘N Shine African Black Soap
This bar is also from Ghana and can be purchased in four different sizes. You can get it in a 16-ounce bar, a 16-ounce two pack, a 16-ounce four pack, or a bulk order of a 10-pound bar.
It works well to clear blemishes, balance oily skin, and soothe other skin issues. It’s also completely safe to use on your baby. If you or your kids suffer from dry skin or acne, this is one to consider.
This soap is 100 percent unrefined, raw, and organic. It’s made of plantain skin ash, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and natural sodium. It doesn’t come with any added fragrances either so it shouldn’t be irritating to the skin.
The company also offers you a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t feel like you received a genuine product.
- Great for curly hair.
- Extremely moisturizing.
- Easy to cut up.
- May find bits of hair or husk inside.
3. Wonderfully Natural African Black Soap
This is one I’ve seen the most of on YouTube. This bar of African black soap is available in a 1 pound block and is completely organic. The company is African owned and is fair-trade friendly as well.
The company also offers a 60-day 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. If you receive the product and aren’t impressed, they will refund your money.
This soap is good for removing dark marks and pesky acne spots on your face and people have sworn by it for their psoriasis.
- Great for psoriasis.
- One brick will last months.
- Two-month guarantee.
- Product can be drying for sensitive skin.
4. Shea Terra African Soap Bar
If you’re looking for a smaller size than the others on our list, this is a good one to consider. It comes in a 4.5-ounce bar so you can try it out without feeling like you’ve wasted it. This one is formulated to help settle and prevent acne.
It’s easy to use — the company recommends lathering and then letting it sit for five to 10 minutes before rinsing off. It’s USDA certified organic, so it’s safe for both you and the kids as well.
The soap is also cruelty-free, so animal lovers out there don’t need to worry. It doesn’t contain drying alcohol, parabens, dyes, or synthetic fragrance either.
Unlike the other soaps, this one contains olive oil. Furthermore, you can choose products with added all-natural scents, including lemongrass and menthe.
- Other scents available.
- Good for oily skin.
- Mom-owned business.
- Certified organic.
- May find small pieces of husk inside.
5. SheaMoisture Facial System Kit
Sometimes you don’t want to mix a million products to get a clean, glowing look. If this sounds like something you struggle with, this whole facial system uses African black soap in its products.
The system comes with a facial wash and scrub, a facial mask, moisturizer, and a body bar. The body bar can be used on your face too. The company makes a toner as well, but it needs to be purchased separately.
This product helps control breakouts and detoxifies the skin as well. It’s made completely of certified organic and natural ingredients which are nice for people with sensitive skin. It doesn’t contain any sulfates or parabens and the company is cruelty-free too.
- A great natural alternative to other systems.
- Contains tea tree oil for purification.
- Good for sensitive skin.
- Amazon and in-store products may have different smells.
Time to Go “Au Naturel”
The benefits from the ingredients in this type of soap are incomparable and are worth trying over regular bar soaps full of preservatives.
Our favorite African black soap is Our Earth’s Secrets Premium Soap. We like this one because it comes with three bricks. With this soap, you don’t need a lot so having this much means spending less in the long run.