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What is African Black Soap?

african black soap soap making traditional soap

True African Black Soap

 African black soap is an all-natural soap hand-crafted in Western Africa . There are more than 100 different varieties of African black soap. The production and recipe for the soap varies depending on the region of Africa that it is made. Most black soap is made with a blend of plantain skin, cocoa pod powder, tropical honey, and virgin coconut oil. African black soap is most commonly hand-crafted by village women in Africa who make the soap for themselves and to support their families.

What Makes Black Soap Different:

  • Natural source of vitamin A, E and Iron
  • Can help to relieve acne, oily skin, clear up blemishes
  • Can help with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Can help reduce stretch marks
  • Can be used to shave with
  • Contains no preservatives, color enhancers or fragrances
  • Can be drying to some skin types

How Black Soap is Made:
 


1 - Leaves and bark of various trees and plants are burned in a vat or kettle. These may be leaves from banana trees, plantain skins, palm tree leaves, shea tree bark, and/or cocoa pods.
 


2 - Water is added to ashes to be filtered. Oils such as coconut oil, shea oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter are added to the water to create the soap.
 


3 - The soap is then hand-stirred by local women for at least a day and then set out to cure for two weeks.

To my knowledge a soap calculator is not used as these recipes are passed from one generation to the next and vary a little from village to village. I believe that this is the reason it can feel more harsh and be more drying than some other hand made soaps. I find it fascinating that this is still the common method for making soap in some parts of the world.

People have tried to re-create African black soap in the western world, but it has never been able to truly replicate the authentic product. This is because genuine black soap is created using age-old traditions that are passed down from one generation to the next in smaller villages in Africa.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed looking it up and writing about it.

Till next time,

~Your Soapsmith


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