Natural Skincare Product: Raw African Black Soap

Sunday, February 23, 2014

natural acne and skincare product raw African black soap

Many of you have probably heard of raw African black soap as a skincare product by now, but maybe you've held off on buying it because you heard about how messy or gross-looking it might be. I've been using raw African black soap for about three months now, and I have found it to be a worthwhile investment and not all that messy (though it could be prettier).

First off, raw African black soap is not black. This is the first thing you'll hear about African black soap. It's got a sort of marbled brown look to it, and has a very uneven -- crumbly, even -- texture. It's generally made of plantain skins, palm leaves, cocoa pod powder and coconut oil, though some variations include ingredients such as shea butter, palm kernel oil and other things. As a result, it's not as drying as most facial and body soaps, and contains naturally-occurring vitamins A and E, along with antioxidants. As it's completely natural, it contains no sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), though it suds up quite satisfactorily.

It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which make it a good addition in anti-acne skin care, as it draws bacterial out of acne to promote quicker healing (though it does not actually cure existing acne). It's also said to prevent excessive oil production which, coupled with the antibacterial properties, work to prevent future breakouts. All in all, it seems raw African black soap is a good option for acne-prone and oily skin.

However, it's also said to be good for eczema and psoriasis sufferers, probably due to its shea butter and coconut oil content. Proceed with caution on sensitive or raw skin, however, as raw African black soap can cause stinging. (Also avoid the eye area.) Some people limit their use of raw African black soap to several times a week whereas I have found no problem with using it twice daily on my dry-combo, generally spot-free skin.

The best thing about raw African black soap -- as with many natural ingredients and products -- is that it's multifunctional. Raw African black soap is said to contain polyphenols, which help suppress free radicals. If this is true, raw African black soap would be a good anti-aging product. The inclusion of ash in the soap serves as a natural exfoliant, though I would caution against using the soap bar directly against the skin on your face, as the ash may be too harsh. Instead, lather the soap up in your hands before applying the lather to your face. African black soap can also be used on the body and as a shampoo. With its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, it is said to help dandruff and body acne.

natural acne and skincare product raw African black soap
The raw African black soap as it was sold to me. I slice off pieces so it doesn't absorb moisture and disintegrate.
If you would like to turn your solid piece of African black soap into a more liquid state (similar to a shampoo or body wash), add several chunks of the soap to a bottle and add water and allow it to sit for several hours. The soap will break down. (I haven't tried this out, but I would assume that you would need at least enough water to cover the soap, and maybe a 2:1 ratio of water to soap.) Despite reports stating that raw African black soap is messy, I have not found this to be true at all. The texture is a little crumbly and soft, but ultimately turns into a hard-to-soft glycerin soap with use. My particular soap (which I bought on Etsy for $5 for 8 ounces) has a mild mushroom scent, though the scent doesn't last on the skin.

I've been using the soap for three months now, and I've noticed a significant decrease in hormonal acne. My skin feels more velvety after using the raw African black soap, and I've definitely noticed that my T-zone area appears more matte. Like I said before, I generally use it at morning and night, and I have non-acne prone, dry-to-combination skin.

One last thing to mention: there are African black soaps on the market that are actually black-colored and shaped like traditional soaps. These can be found in big box stores and pharmacies. They are African black soap, but I suspect they've been processed (a.k.a. not raw) and filtered to look prettier and smell better. I do believe that these processed black soaps contain some, but not all, of the benefits of raw African black soap, so if you are hesitant to try the real deal, trying a processed black soap wouldn't hurt.

Have you tried African black soap, whether raw or not? How has it worked out for you? Let me know if you have any questions about my experience with raw African black soap, or about my soap itself. And if you'd like to see how the soap foams up, here's a video I made on raw African black soap ...

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2 comments

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Gina, I bought mine from this Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/atlsmellgood based off of price and ratings, but it seems there are tons of sellers on Etsy with equally good ratings and similar prices. I've also heard that Coastal Scents carries a good African black soap: http://www.coastalscents.com/natural-products/soap.html. Hope that helps!

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