Raw African black soap, or ABS, is a natural, handmade soap originating in West Africa. This soap is a wonder, offering gentle cleansing and a host of additional benefits.
For centuries, the recipe for this soap has been passed down through generations of families. It’s traditionally made by taking organic materials, like plantain skins, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves, and shea tree bark, sun-drying them, and then burning them to ash. This ash is then added to coconut oil, palm oil, unrefined shea butter, and a little water. This mixture is then cooked and hand-stirred for 24 hours until it solidifies, and left to cure for several days.1
If you haven’t tried washing with African black soap, here are some of the remarkable reasons you should consider adding it to your daily routine.
1. It’s Great for Sensitive Skin
The elaborate process involved to make ABS results in a soap that’s very mild and gentle on the skin. It also contains no lye – which is a corrosive substance found in many regular soaps. In fact, it’s so gentle on skin, the Yoruba tribes of Nigeria even use it on the skin of their newborn babies – where it’s viewed as a soothing bathing remedy for a teething baby.2
2. It May Calm Itchy Skin Conditions
Because it is so gentle, African black soap can be a wonderful alternative for those who suffer from itchy, dry skin conditions. African cultures have long used black soap to ward off skin conditions, which isn’t surprising.3 This soap is packed with natural fatty acids and vitamins A and E. It also contains palm oil and unrefined shea butter – and both of these have natural anti-irritant properties.4,5
3. It’s a Natural Antibacterial
Studies have shown that African black soap is a natural antibacterial. One study concluded that ABS could be a better option than regular medicated or antiseptic soaps because of this antibacterial activity.6 That’s great news for those who suffer from breakouts. One of the key bacteria that ABS was effective against was S. aureus – which has been linked to the progression of acne.7
4. It Helps Fight Fine Lines and Wrinkles
African black soap for skin is made using the ash of cocoa pods, which may help fight the appearance of wrinkles. Research suggests cocoa pod extract helps combat specific enzymes which are responsible for breaking down the collagen and elastin in your skin. And, you need your collagen and elastin for youthful, supple-looking skin!8
5. It’s a Gentle Shampoo Alternative
It’s easy to forget that your scalp often suffers from the same problems as the rest of your skin – itchiness, irritation, or dry and flaky skin. Yet we often use shampoos full of harsh additives, like sulfates, parabens, and fragrances.That’s why ABS makes a great natural shampoo – gently cleansing the hair without stripping away natural oils from the scalp.
6. It Can Help Even Your Skin Tone
Some tribes have been using black soap to even out their skin tone for years. And modern studies have shown that it’s because of that wonderful cocoa pod again.
Cocoa pod extract can inhibit an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is responsible for skin pigmentation, and dark spots.9
7. It May Prevent Razor Bumps
Razor bumps can be unsightly and itchy. They occur after shaving, and they often look like irritated pimples. This is because the cut hair can curl back on itself and start to grow inwards. One of the best things you can do to avoid razor bumps is to use a good thick cream to shave with – or your African black soap. Many people find that the soothing oils create a creamy surface for razors to glide over.
8. It’s an Easy Make-Up Remover
Those luscious, fatty oils in ABS are perfect for removing stubborn makeup with ease – especially eyeliner and mascara, which tend to stick to skin. Using your African black soap can help makeup simply glide right off, without pulling at your delicate facial skin.
9. It’s Toxin-Free
With 100 percent natural ingredients, a true African black soap doesn’t contain any harmful additives or toxins. It’s become increasingly hard to know what’s really in your skin and hair care products. That’s why it’s so refreshing to understand each and every ingredient in African black soap. It’s likewise comforting to understand exactly what you’re putting on your children’s skin.
It Looks a Little Like Cake
True African black soap is actually closer to brown in color, and it has an interesting texture – if you slice it open, it almost looks like cake. It’s also very malleable, so you can break off small pieces and roll it in your hands to form a lather. A little goes a long way.
ABS is recommended for both dry and oily skin types, and it could be a great new asset to your skincare routine.