Have you heard about African black soap? This all-natural soap was the beauty secret of many Africans for centuries, but it has now become a favorite skincare product worldwide. Made of ingredients that possess healing powers for all skin types, black African soap can help anyone get flawless skin naturally – as long as it’s used correctly.
While the black soap is surprisingly healing for some skin types, for others it may be a tad drying. That’s why it’s important to know how to use African black soap for your skin type.
Here’s what the dermatologist Purvisha Patel has to say about this African soap and how it works.
Expert Opinion on African Black Soap
Morocco is one of the leaders in making premium African black soap. Black soap has been in Moroccan women’s routines for centuries. I remember growing up in Morocco and always having my little jar of black soap to use in the shower and in the Hammam. Now, even if I’m a thousand miles away from Morocco, I still use black soap very regularly and can’t imagine using another product to exfoliate my skin.
Here is what I learned from using African Black Soap for at least three decades.
What Is African Black Soap?
This hand-made African bar soap is made of natural ingredients that have very good effects on oily and acne-prone skin, though certain soaps can also be good for severely dry skin. According to dermatologist Patel, natives have used the African black soap bar for centuries. It’s sourced from raw farm produce in Western Africa.
Traditionally, it’s been used as a face soap, shampoo, and body bar. The unique black color comes from the ashes in the soap. African black soap ingredients include the ashes of plantain skins or palm leaves, palm oil, cocoa pod powder, honey, Shea butter, coconut oil, and water. One way to find out if you have a real African black soap is to pay attention to its texture – if it’s rough, you have the real deal, if not, your soup is most likely synthetic.
However, plants can never grow the same and since this product is plant-based it means batches can vary even if you buy from the same brand. In other words, if one batch is perfect for your skin, another may not be that suitable for your skin type due to an increased amount of a certain ingredient.
Black Soap Benefits
Here are some of the most significant benefits of African black soap:
- It possesses antibacterial properties – the strong antibacterial properties make it an amazing natural cleanser that can substitute any chemical-laden product of this kind.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties – the ashes in the black soap contain sulfur which possesses strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. While the rough texture of the product exfoliates the skin, this active ingredient eliminates fungus and bacteria on the skin, whether that’s the face or any other part of the body. All this makes the soap a perfect product for shave bumps.
- It moisturizes the skin – it contains oils that help trap the water in the skin, thus preventing excessive water loss from bathing. Along with the soap’s anti-inflammatory properties, the moisturizing ability helps soothe irritation linked to psoriasis and eczema.
- It improves the tone and texture of the skin – the soap’s rough texture allows it to exfoliate the dead, hyper-pigmented skin cells.
- It reduces dandruff – the ashes in the African black soap contain anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties which help destroy the yeast that causes dandruff. What’s more, the oils in the soap help moisturize the dry scalp.
Can You Use African Black Soap for All Skin Types?
Even though you can use black soap for the face, Patel advises that you should be careful about how often you use it. Generally, the product is ideal for combination skin or skin with oily T-zone.
If your skin is dry, however, make sure you use soap that contains a moisturizing ingredient such as Shea butter as the roughness of the soap can make the skin even dryer and more irritated. Applying a revitalizing moisturizer after using the African soap is highly recommended for those with dry skin.
Although the soap is made of natural ingredients, it can still cause allergic reactions due to the sulfur in the ashes. Some products may contain essential oils as fragrances which can also cause an allergy.
How to Use African Black Soap
Don’t use too much African soap, especially if you have dehydrated skin. Here’s how to use it:
- Wet your face with warm water.
- Wet the soap until you notice a lather.
- Rub the soap gently on your skin – face and body – in a circular motion avoiding the eyelids. Avoid the eyes and intimate parts.
- Rinse your skin with warm water.
- You can use an exfoliating brush or washclothfor a deeper exfoliation, especially on your knees, elbows and neck. This Moroccan Exfoliating Mitt is a great choice!
- Apply a natural oil (jojoba or argan oil) or moisturizing cream. See the section on Black Soap and Acne for more details.
You may notice a feeling of dryness and tightness in your skin in the first week, but that’s normal because the soap works on drawing out excess oils and impurities. After a few days, your skin’s pH levels should balance out.
You may also feel a burning or tingling sensation as well as redness which usually resolves after a while. Still, it’s best to test the effects of African black soap on another part of your body before applying it to your face.
Can You Use African Black Soap for Acne?
Yes, you can and you should use the soap for your acne-prone skin thanks to the sulfur in the ashes. The antimicrobial properties of the ashes included in the soap destroy the acne-causing microorganisms, the rough texture exfoliates the skin and leaves the pores open, and the sulfur and honey help reduce inflammation. This can also help decrease dark spots, especially in skin of color. The key is to always hydrate your skin after using black soap to avoid any skin dryness.
Whatever skin type you have, with or without acne, I always recommend following the black soap deep cleanse with quality hydration. I’m a fan of natural oils like organic jojoba oil – which is great to balance your skin oils and thus, is perfect for skin with acne ! – a premium argan oil – which incredible anti-age properties – or a any non-comedogenic hydrating cream.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Just like any other natural skincare product, black soap can also cause allergic reactions. The reason for this is the sourcing, lifespan, purity, and amount of ingredients which is not regulated.
As Patel says, each bar of soap contains a different concentration of ingredients. Therefore, stop using it if your skin starts itching or peeling, or if it becomes overly dry or red. You may also want to avoid it if you’re sensitive or allergic to chocolate or caffeine as this skin care product contains a high amount of cocoa pods.
How to Store Your Real African Black Soap
Keep your black soap in a cool and dry place, preferably cut into small balls and store in a plastic bag. This will help avoid the formation of a thin white film that appears when the soap is exposed to the air.
If you leave it exposed, your African soap may soften and gradually disintegrate due to the glycerin content. Plus, it absorbs water so it’s best to keep it dry. You can drain it on a wooden soap dish before putting it in a plastic bag.