Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review of African Black Soap

Originally submitted 3/24/2012

I've spent some time using African Black Soap and wanted to tell you about it because it's replaced some parts of my cleansing routine.  

What is African Black Soap? It's all natural soap usually made with ashes of plantain skins or cocoa pods combined with shea butter, coconut oil and/or palm kernel oil. You may find other natural ingredients like essential oils or honey. This soap looks, smells and is used differently than traditional bar soap. It doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate which is the artificial ingredient used in soaps and shampoos to create suds. Coconut and shea are ingredients that saponify or have a soap like sudsing quality. There are suds in African Black Soap but they are all natural.ABS is dark black due to the use of ashes and a bar of it kind of looks like a fudge or candy bar.

Be prepared, ABS can be messy. This soap when wet will produce brown water drips. For my face, I usually rub my wet Clarisonic brush head into the bar of soap to get some on the brush and splash a bit of warm water on my face. For shower use I tear off a small chunk of ABS and use it for my body. This is also the kind of bar soap you need to protect, if you leave it out in the open in the soap dish in your shower it will melt away quickly. I bought a travel soap dish and keep it under my sink and after 2 months of use, I still have about half of a 150 g bar left. The attached photo shows my ABS bar in use. If you like liquid soap you can also tear off a chunk and put into a bottle with hot water to make liquid soap or shampoo. Let it dissolve overnight and shake it up to mix. The mixture will be thinner than regular liquid soap and may need to be shaken periodically to mix.

One important tip is to remember to use warm or hot water with this soap. It takes warmer temperatures to rinse off the shea/coconut oil. If you use ABS with your Clarisonic or other face brush make sure to clean your brush with hot water regularly to rinse off the residue.

I like this soap and feel it's worth the special handling and change in my routine because it cleans my skin really well and then moisturizes immediately with the shea/coconut oil. I have combination skin on my face and I think that this soap really balances out my skin. I haven't been overly oily or dry or had any major breakouts since starting to use the ABS. I feel like any breakouts I've had have healed much more quickly and old marks are beginning to fade. The texture of the skin on my face and body is smooth and soft. I can skip the all over body lotion when I use ABS, I focus on moisturizing feet, knees and elbows.

ABS has a very earthy, natural smell that is not unpleasant. I give African Black Soap 4 out of 5 stars and will continue to use for my face and body. I like how effective this soap is for cleansing and moisturizing without all of the chemicals found in more widely used soaps. I don't know what all of those chemicals are for and am of the opinion that sometimes those chemicals can send my skin into a tail spin. I would much rather strip down my skin care routine to the basics instead of constantly react to how my skin is acting due to chemicals.

One word of caution, this soap tends to burn more than traditional soap if you get it in your eyes or up your nose, just be ready to rinse!

If you plan to try ABS make sure to buy one that is truly from Africa and read the ingredients. I like the ABS at, linked below. Please also read about their Project Ghana. They sell a chunk that is nearly 1 lb. for $11.49 or look for the smaller bars on their site.

This product review represents my own opinion, I was not paid or given any products to test.

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