When it comes to beauty product Top Trumps, African Black Soap is THE card you want in your deck! The soap has been enjoying its time in the limelight recently; frequently cited as a spot-prone skin saviour, and credited in a plethora of before and after pics. So, it’s no longer a secret that a good bar of African Black Soap can help carve a path to clearer and healthier skin. But (and this is where it gets even better) the benefits don’t stop there!
Before we start, what IS African Black Soap?
African Black Soap is a type of soap that originates from; you guessed it, Africa! Typically West African countries like Ghana. Traditionally, the soap is made from locally harvested ingredients including the ash from sun-dried and burnt plant materials, and various oils and fats, such as shea butter and coconut oil. The mixture is then cooked until solidified before it is left to cure.
It's important to know how to spot authentic African Black Soap; two of the key features to be aware of are colour and texture. Authentic African Black Soap will not be black in colour, it will also be crumbly and softer in texture than traditional soap. Check out our blog post here for more in-depth tips on spotting authentic African Black Soap.
Let's start at the top.
Suitable for hair of any texture or length African Black Soap can work wonders as a shampoo. Naturally full of Vitamin E, African Black Soap’s antioxidant properties can help maintain hair growth by reducing oxidative stress and free radicals that can cause hair follicles to break down. As African Black Soap also contains Vitamin A it can also help maintain scalp moisture by stimulating the production of healthy oils.
To make your own use a butter knife to slice a section of your bar into dissolvable shavings, before mixing it into a small cup of warm water. Add a teaspoon of an oil of your choice and leave to sit for 1-2 hours, or until the soap is fully dissolved.
Spring clean your makeup bag
You know those foundation stained brushes you have in your makeup bag? And those beauty blenders that are starting to look a little bit crusty? African Black Soap can help with that too! Its antibacterial and antifungal properties mean you can use it to give your makeup tools a good old clean. Simply break off a piece of your Black Soap bar and rub your wet brushes on it to coat them, before working up a lather on your brush cleaning mat.
Here to s(h)ave the day|
African Black Soap’s natural texture, along with the ash it contains give it gentle exfoliating properties. This makes it great to use on areas such as the legs and bikini line before shaving to help combat razor bumps and burns. Its exfoliating properties will gently remove any dead skin cells and dirt, giving your shaving butter/lather more chance to cosy up to and protect your skin.
The million-dollar question: can it help my problem skin?
The great news about African Black Soap is that it's suitable (and beneficial) for all skin types; in a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 91% of African Black Soap users reported that the soap helped improve their skin conditions!
The soap helps fight acne by effectively removing any surface-level oil, debris, and markup before cleansing the skin deep into the pores, with its natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. The ash in the soap also acts as a natural exfoliant, to gently clear clogged pores of any debris or excess sebum. This also helps to improve and smooth skin texture over time; stimulating the fading of any acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
Some types of African Black Soap can be drying for the skin. This can be a problem even for oily/acne-prone skin types, as dry skin encourages the production of excess sebum. So, when looking for an African Black Soap try to find one that's made with Shea Butter, to make sure the moisture balance of your skin is kept in check!
Make a liquid soap/shampoo.
Take an old shampoo or shower gel bottle. Add 1/4 of African Black Soap and fill the rest with water! Leave for 30mins and there you have it!
Liquid soap immediately ready for use.
What to do with your bar after you've put it to work?
To maintain and preserve the effectiveness of your African Black Soaps the storage of your bar is super important! African Black Soap needs to be kept dry and cool, that means not leaving it in the shower where it will stay damp, or on your bathroom windowsill where direct sunlight can get to it. Invest in a little soap drying dish like this bamboo one, or this sleek ceramic number.
Additionally, when African Black soap is exposed to air, it can develop a thin, white-coloured film. So, to prevent this and make daily use of your soap easier, store it in an airtight container after use; a simple Ziploc bag would do the trick.
Now you’ve got to grips with the ins and outs of the super multi-tasker that is African Black Soap, why not try it for yourself? Our African Black Soap is made with only four ingredients (including Shea Butter) and can be found here.