How Do I Spot Authentic African Black Soap?
by Nina Perry
What is African Black Soap?
Real traditional African Black Soap is a type of soap originating from western Africa.
Authentic Black Soap is made from harvested sun-dried African fruits and plants such as plantains, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves and shea tree bark. These give the soaps the alkali base needed for soap making, in a natural form. These ingredients are then roasted in a pot for hours, giving it its brown colour. Water and oils such as palm oil, coconut oil or shea butter are then mixed in to give the soap which provides the oil or fat needed for soap making. These oils and butters also add moisture to the soap. These core ingredients come together in a process called saponification which forms soap!
The soap is then left to ‘cure’. This soap has been used for over hundreds of years and is now becoming extremely popular in Europe and the US as it has many skincare benefits. The problem with the big hype means there are a lot of imitations out there. So sometimes it is hard to make sure you are getting the real deal!
Is 'authentic' African Black Soap better than 'non-authentic'?
Traditional African Black Soap is made authentically without major changes to its traditional formula. It is in fact not black but dark brown, easily breakable and marble - like in appearance.
Authentic African Black Soap is Better at Killing Bacteria
Traditional African Black Soap showed a HIGHER level of antimicrobial activity, when compared to non-traditional African Black Soap derivatives such as Zee or Dudu Osun, and a better antimicrobial activity than.
A 2016 study tested the antibacterial effectiveness of Black Soap vs. four other brands including Dettol and Dudu Osun. The results proved that; Traditional African Black Soap - not only natural, packed with a number of skincare benefits, and highly effective - but it has been proved to kill bacteria more effectively than some of the biggest brands of antibacterial soap. Read the full study below.
Authentic African Black Soap have fewer skin irritating ingredients
Traditional African black soap is free from ingredients that often cause skin irritation such as; artificial fragrance, sulphates and parabens.
Authentic African Black Soap is made in their countries of origin
& supports the soaps founding cultures.
Traditional African Black Soap also benefits from supporting traditional farmers and product makers in the soaps country of origin.
How can I tell if I’m buying the authentic, real African Black Soap?
1. Authentic African Black Soap is NOT jet black and more of a brown looking colour.
In the making of real Black Soap, the plantain leaves, cocoa pod and other plant-based material are sun-dried and then burned into ash. The longer the ingredients are roasted, the darker the soap will be, but the darkest shade is a deep shade of brown. Non-authentic Black Soap has unnatural black dyes added to intensify the black colour. These black dyes can dry out your skin, sting or burn, irritate and overall, do not have the same skin benefits as the authentic Black Soap.
2. Traditional African Black Soap is not 'polished' smooth.
Ingredients like sodium hydroxide (lye), hydrogen peroxide, harsh silicon and aluminium oxide can be added to some mass-produced Black Soaps to make them less natural and more like ordinary soaps. These chemicals can irritate your skin.
3. Traditional African Black Soap is soft so easily breakable.
Real authentic African Black Soap is not like your average soaps, it doesn’t contain any artificial colouring or hardening agents. The raw soap also doesn’t have any artificial fragrances making it have an ‘earthy’ scent. As the soap is made with 100% natural oils that do not completely harden the soap, it is easy to break small pieces off at a time.
4. Traditional Black Soap is marble looking and not flat in colour.
This is a definite way to differentiate between the real and the fake! Plant ash is the main component of authentic African Black Soap. The plant skins are roasted to achieve their colour, texture and natural fragrance. Whn mised with water and oil, the soap does not take on a uniform shape or consistent colour. This leaves it with a marble look, a non-smooth surface and an almost soft texture.
5. African Black Soap ingredient watch...
The fewer chemicals that are found in skincare products, the better! African Black Soap is packed with natural ingredients including Vitamin E, meaning it shouldn’t irritate the skin and will keep it feeling moisturised. Black Soap is famous for its amazing healing properties and is used to relieve the symptoms of various skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.