I'm sure you've heard about or used Black Soap at least once in your life, especially those of us who are West African (shoutout to Dudu Osun!) The biggest question for me before I actually started using black soap was which one would work best and what the differences were between all of the forms that exist out there.
So, what exactly is black soap you ask? Black soap is a type of soap made from the "ash" of local plants and barks, such as plantain and palm tree leaves. Black soap is a natural exfoliant that naturally relieves dry skin, oily skin, and acne among other benefits. Black soap has a multitude of benefits including the fact that it is a natural source of Vitamin A & E, both aids in improving the elasticity of skin, although that is not why I use black soap. In general, I have very dry skin and during the winter months, I have eczema on my lower body. Literally nothing works to clear those dry patches but raw black soap and black soap in general. So which one would work for you? It depends on what you are looking for.
Let's start with Raw Black Soap:
I just recently started using 100% pure black soap and one thing I can say is that it is actually significantly cheaper(USD$3.00) than the enriched black soaps that I use and have used. I only use black soap on my body because I feel that it would be too harsh for the skin on my face. Raw black soap can be found at your local beauty supply store or the market and even some groceries stores such as Whole Foods if you are in the U.S or U.K.
Please note that black soap in general can be very drying and that is most likely why you find black soaps being enriched with things such as shea butter or coconut oil, etc. If you don't like the "squeaky-clean" feeling after showering or bathing, this soap is definitely not for you. Once I get out of the shower, I absolutely must moisturize my skin immediately (translation: I can't dance in my robe for too long) or else my skin will feel tight. I personally hate the "coating" feeling of most soaps because it makes me feel like I didn't wash everything off. I also use this mostly in the summer because my skin is not as dry then. If I had to rate this, I would say this is my favorite form of black soap. *Disclaimer* This soap starts to break down and can leave residue in your bathroom, but it worth it if you ask me.
Next up, Enriched Black (Bar) Soap
Enriched bar soap is great for those who prefer to use bar soap, but do not want that squeaky clean feeling that raw black soap leaves on the skin. I have used this particular black soap by Nubian heritage and I love it! I used this in the winter because it has way more moisturizing components than the raw black soap and the oats soothe my dry skin as well.
This soap is a bit more expensive (you can get a pack of four for USD$14.15) than raw black soap and as I said earlier, this is due to the fact that it is enriched. If you are looking for additional moisture in your soap, I would say go with this.
Last, but certainly not least Enriched (Liquid) Black Soap
As with most liquid soaps, my skin does not benefit or suffer from using them. I am not sure why, but liquid black soap is just..neutral to me. In my case, this soap did not cause my skin to worsen, it just did not cause it to improve either. If you skin does well with liquid soaps and you prefer a coating on your skin, almost as if you put a light oil on your skin, then you will LOVE this!
Liquid black soap is the least messy and the most versatile in regards to use. You can use it for baths in order to soak your skin deeply, you can use it on a loofa, a washcloth, your hands, or whatever you use to scrub your body. Also it's great for when you are in a hurry because it doesn't take too long for it to lather. With all this said, liquid black soap is also the priciest because of the process it takes to liquify the plants and barks and well as transporting it.
Throughout my journey of figuring out a skincare regimen for my body, A LOT of products have been kicked to the curb while others became staple only for a short time. One product I absolutely will never give up- even if Obama told me to- is black soap. My skin has greatly improved by using specifically the black bar soaps and I just can't see myself going back to any other soap.If you really think about it. what you use in the shower is the foundation for the level of moisture and health of your skin. We often overlook the importance of soap and worry mostly about the lotion/moisturizer we use. Soap is just as important.
Let me know if you guys try it out and tag me on basically every social media outlet @afrikanrising!
As always, thanks for reading. God bless you.