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How African Black Soap Benefits Your Beauty Routine

Investigate the science behind the beauty trend that just won’t quit!

As African black soap washes away competitors in the beauty sector, you might be left wondering: “What are African black soap’s benefits, and why should I care?”

It’s been touted as a miracle soap, as it indiscriminately boost skin health across all skin types – and even hair.

So is this a trend you should follow? We recommend you at least give it a try. By the end of this article, you’ll understand the benefits of African black soap and why you should add it to your beauty routine.

What Is African Black Soap?

African black soap is actually the name of a soap category, rather than one particular formula. It’s a traditional West African soap with varying formulations. Because the hot and humid climate of countries like Nigeria and Tanzania cause frequent mild skin infections, black soap has maintained its staying power with its unique ability to stave off microbial and fungal infections.

African black soap, also called ose dudu (Nigeria) and saboun beldi (Morocco), has since made its way overseas. Fortunately, it’s often purchased directly from local women who handcraft it, making it a fantastic way to support developing communities.

While European and North American manufacturers have caught wind of this trend, we recommend finding fair trade, raw, organic black soap. In addition to supporting the cultures from which this traditional soap originated, raw, organic African black soap doesn’t include harmful oils and chemicals like its modern knock-offs.

How Is African Black Soap Made?

Passed down from generations of women and girls, African black soap varies from one culture to the next. We’ll discuss common ingredients and methods, but you’ll have to read ingredient labels to understand exactly what you’re getting.

The common ground shared by all African black soap is that it’s derived from agro-waste, such as cocoa pods, plantain leaves, palm husks, and groundnut shells. One or several of these ingredients are collected by hand and sun-dried.

Then, they’re placed in African ovens where they’re crisped into a black char. This char often contains vitamins A and E and antioxidants, giving African black soap its color and antimicrobial properties.

The char is then mixed with water and one or several bases and natural additives. These bases can include shea butter, coconut oil, and palm oil. Additives often include honey and aloe vera. Stirred by hand over the course of 24 hours, the base ingredients mix with the char and rise to the top. This soft, dark mixture is scooped out and left to cure for 2 weeks.

Benefits of African Black Soap

African black soap has an incredible number of benefits in skin and hair care. It’s truly a miracle soap as it can be used on any skin type and all parts of the body, including face, hands, and hair. So if you’re in the market for a new gentle cleanser, let us convince you why you should give African black soap a try.


While black soap is renowned for its benefits to all skin types, its antibacterial and antimicrobial effect is its crown jewel. A 2001 evaluation of African black soap showed the addition of the agro-waste had excellent solubility, consistency, cleansing, and lathering abilities – all without the toxic chemicals that are typically used in mainstream soap making.

Because African black soap is often mixed with shea butter and aloe vera, you’ll find it’s gentle and soothing. A pleasant surprise if you suffer from eczema and psoriasis, black soap whisks away microorganisms that commonly infect skin.


African black soap is one of the mildest exfoliants on the market when properly made. The char from the groundnut shells and dried plant husks maintains a degree of grit, even after adding water. It’s this nearly imperceivable gritty texture that gives African black soap its exfoliating power.

A word to the wise: there is no standard for making African black soap, which could mean larger pieces of char are mixed in. We recommend lathering it between your hands before applying it to your face to prevent any minor abrasions.


Because of the addition of shea butter, aloe vera, coconut oil, and/or palm kernel oil, African black soap is an incredible moisturizer. On top of that, char is excellent at pulling in moisture from the air. In fact, it’s so good that you should probably not store the soap in your shower. It will last longer if you store it away from moisture.

Gentle & Soothing

African black soap has been a god-send for people with sensitive skin, eczema, and acne. Packed full of nourishing antioxidants, aloe vera and shea butter help soothe the skin while the antibacterial char sweeps away excess sebum and microorganisms.

African Black Soap Benefits Hair

The same exfoliating and cleansing benefits of African black soap apply to your hair in addition to your body. Your scalp needs gentle exfoliation, too. Relieve itchiness and dandruff without stripping your hair of its natural oils. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in African black soap promote hair growth and relieve dry scalp.

How to Find Raw, Organic African Black Soap

In order to find raw, organic African black soap, you might have to do some digging.

For starters, look for fair trade and vegan certifications on labels. A fair trade certified product means that your African black soap likely comes from an African community. If it’s vegan, all the better.

Also be sure to read the ingredients list. For example, you won’t find synthetic fragrances or dyes in raw, organic African black soap. The soap’s brown to blackish color should come naturally from ash, not added coal tar dyes.

Top African Black Soap Brands

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar

Cruelty-free, Vegan
SheaMoisture makes their own version of African black soap using the traditional ingredients shea butter and aloe, and adding organic oats for extra soothing. Their char consists of palm ash, tamarind extract for that citrus shine, and plantain peels. This combination results in an extra soothing blend that’s perfect for people suffering from eczema and psoriasis. Enjoy the subtle fragrance made from a blend or essential oils.

Incredible by Nature Black Soap Bar

Cruelty-free, Vegan, Fair Trade, Unscented
This unscented blend of palm kernel oil, coconut oil, plantain skin ash, and shea butter comes with an unbelievable 30 day guarantee. That’s right. If you don’t see blemishes and dark spots disappear, Incredible by Nature will return your money, no questions asked. That’s a pretty bold strategy! Best of all, this African black soap benefits communities in Ghana as it’s fair trade and vegan.

Laurel Organic African Black Soap Hair Cleanser

Cruelty-free, Vegan-friendly, Raw, Organic
Treat your hair to the same love your skin gets with this organic black soap hair cleanser. Eliminate dandruff and nourish your scalp with vitamins A and E, creating the ideal environment for strong hair growth. This hair cleanser claims to repair damaged hair and promote hair growth.

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