Let’s think about soap for a second. Images ranging from pristine white bars of soap to neon-colored jiggly pots to translucent gel in more scents than you can even recognize may come to mind. Now imagine a deep brown and black bar, bumpy with exfoliating grains. That might not seem like it will get you clean, but it’s one of my favorite natural cleansers!
Black soap consists mainly of shea butter, palm oil, and cocoa! Yes, you can get clean with chocolate- well, kind of. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Lauric acid in palm kernel oil and coconut oil is antimicrobial and creates a rich ,dark lather. It’s an interesting contrast to the white suds we’re used to in regular soaps.
Black soap is great for all skin types! Dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, probably even snakeskin. The coconut oil and shea butter in black soap helps hydrate dry skin and balance oily skin- all without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
You know you have good quality stuff when there’s bumpy little grains in it- this is perfect for exfoliating the body. It’s found in raw, unprocessed black soap. Save yourself a step and an extra product!
Another benefit is that black soap fights acne. Besides being a gentle cleanser free of harsh chemicals, the coconut oil and palm oil contain nutrients and fatty acids that help balance the pH of your skin, as well as assist in the healing process with anti-inflammatory properties. (Disclaimer- using oils in cleansing products is fine since you’ll rinse them off, but leaving coconut oil on your face will cause clogged pores).
There are some unusual ingredients in black soap, however. But to a low-waste gal like me, I love that they’re giving new life to things that tend to be discarded. Plantain peels and cocoa pods. Basically, chocolate, right? Anyway, these two ingredients a full of antioxidants which fight free-radicals that cause fine lines and wrinkles.
If you’ve struggled with hyperpigmentation, you know how difficult it is to get rid of acne scars and sun damage or other skin injuries that increase melanin production. Luckily, black soap can assist with evening skin tone! Cocoa pods absorb UV light to protect from sun damage; as well as inhibits tyrosine- the enzyme that produces melanin. The essential fatty acids in black soap assist with cell regeneration, healing scarred or damaged skin. It even helps with stretch marks! Shea butter has been known to repair skin tissue by increasing collagen production.
Black soap is excellent in hair care. It helps with issues caused by product build-up, excessive shampooing, dry scalp as well as dandruff. The best way to use black soap for hair care is in diluted, liquid form. Some health food stores may carry this in a convenient bottle, but it’s easy to make it at home!
DIY Clarifying Treatment
A small amount of black soap
Mason jar, glass bottle or other container
Warm water for oily hair
Warm coconut, olive or jojoba oil for normal to dry hair
Apple cider vinegar for rinsing
Chop or shred black soap into small pieces
Add black soap and water or oil to your container.
Stir or shake until dissolved. This may take some time, so you’ll need to let the mixture rest in between stirring/shaking. It helps to have a pot or bowl of hot water nearby to set the container in, keeping the mixture warm.
Once you have a homogenous liquid, massage into wet hair, focusing on your scalp. Allow to sit for 10 mins, then rinse with warm water
Follow up with an apple cider vinegar rinse (diluted with warm water as well). Massage into hair and scalp, and rinse again with water. Black soap can be drying to hair, so using ACV right after helps to condition and detangle hair.
For an extra softening boost, finish with a deep conditioner.
Give black soap a try and let me know of your results! Til next time - N