What to Know Before Using African Black Soap

Moroccan black soap hammam

What to Know Before Using African Black Soap

African black soap benefits have been the subject of many research studies. I grew up in Morocco using African soap on my skin weekly. This beauty product is Moroccan women’s beauty essential and probably the secret to their soft skin and clear complexion. In Morocco, we call it Moroccan black soap. It is an all-natural soap made with ingredients that possess healing powers for all skin types. Black African soap can help anyone get flawless skin naturally. Although healing and powerfully detoxifying, It can be drying for some skin types, That’s why it’s essential to know how to use African black soap for your skin type.

african soap

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 I 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, backed up with research studies as well as dermatologist experts like British expert dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel:

What Is African Black Soap?

This hand-made African bar soap is made of natural ingredients that have excellent 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.

Moroccan black soap hammam

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 as shared by research studies.

  • 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.
  • I recommend using a traditional Moroccan Kessa scrub to get rid of dead skin. This Hammam Kessa scrub from Little Moroccan Things is very soft making it perfect to use on your body and face. It also gets rid of dead skin very efficiently. Your skin will be as soft as a baby’s skin.
  • I also always recommend finishing your routine by applying argan oil (premium quality) to restore moisture and to deeply nourish the skin.
hammam glove

Can You Use African Black Soap for Acne?

Yes, you can and you should use premium black 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.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Like any other natural skincare product, black soap can cause sensitivity, although very rare. If your skin is extremely sensitive, I recommend testing a small patch and seeing how your skin reacts before using African black soap on all your face and body.

How to Store Your African Black Soap

It is recommended to keep your black soap in a cool and dry place. I keep my African black soap in my bathroom making sure the jar is tightly closed and the African soap is protected from air and humidity. If you leave it exposed, your African soap may soften and gradually disintegrate and liquefy due to the glycerin content.

Best African Black Soap Brands

I also recommend buying a small jar vs. a large jar to always work with a fresh product. In fact, you really don’t need a large jar, a small jar will last for 4 to 5 months of weekly use. My favorite African soap brands are the ones that use 100% natural ingredients, like Little Moroccan Things’ black soap from Morocco, which is also infused with restorative argan oil.

Favorite Picks


I use this high-quality black soap from Morocco  weekly. Natural and organic, it will leave your skin as soft as a baby’s skin.

moroccan black soap


This argan oil has been cold pressed in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, making it one of the richest argan oils in nutrients. 

argan oil morocco


Use it to exfoliate your skin after applying the black soap. This scrub, with the black soap and argan oil, are Moroccan women’s secret to soft skin!

kessa glove

Safaa, founder of moroccanzest

From design and decor to food and travel, moroccanzest is the space where I share what I loved growing up in Morocco, and more. It’s your destination for everything beautiful, artistic, and made the Moroccan way with love. Learn more about me here.