women preparing to shower black soap skincare

African Beauty Secrets You Should Know : A Deep Dive into Black Soaps

Every country, every region has its own traditional rituals waiting to be discovered. These rituals hold beauty secrets that have been shared from generation to generation. In this series of articles we will take a closer look at beauty rituals that originate in the “cradle of humankind”, Africa.

The first beauty secret we are going to tackle is “black soap”.

What is black soap ?

Ancient beauty secret, black soap is a soap made in Africa, free from all preservatives and additives. In liquid or paste form, black soap helps exfoliate and cleanses the skin deeply while still being nourishing and hydrating. There are two main types of black soap known today :
- West and Central African Black Soap
- Oriental Black Soap.  

                                1. West and Central African Black Soap

    Since the beginning of time, women across the Gulf of Guinea have been hand making black soap. This soap is the result of centuries of traditions and sophisticated recipes. It is made by drying and roasting the skin of bananas, cocoa pods and shea butter bark, then crushing them into a fine ash. Shea butter, palm oil and coconut oil are then added to complete this rich soap. It is generally recognizable by its dark brown, black or light brown color.
    Recipes for African black soap can vary depending on the region its from and the natural resources used. 

    What are the benefits of this black soap?

    African black soap is rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, E  and collagen this allows the soap to :
    - Hydrate the skin
    - fight against acne thanks to its anti-bacterial and cleansing properties
    - Reduce the signs of wrinkles and fine lines
    - Reduce the appearance of stretch mark
    - Reduce hyperpigmentation
    - Improve skin texture

                                          2. Oriental Black Soap

    Considered one of the oldest soaps known to mankind, this black soap finds its origins in Alep, Syria. A few centuries later, it was brought to Essaouira in Morocco where it is now also made. It is a natural substance that is created from a mixture of olive oil, crushed black olives and sometimes argan oil. It is then soaked with salt and vegetable potash, and made using cold saponification. The most known of these soaps is the Beldi soap, often used by Hammams for a black soap and kassa ( cloth) scrub. 

    What are the benefits of this black soap?

    - Gives the skin radiance
    - Exfoliates the skin and eliminates dead skin cells
    - Nourishes and hydrates skin.


    How to add black soap to your routine?

    Black soap can be added to almost any skincare routine. Indeed, not only are black soaps (African Black Soap or Beldi Soap) good for every skin type. They can be used in various ways,for face, body, and hair. You can
    - Use your black soap as a mask : add some water and honey until it becomes a paste (dump out the excess water) and leave on for 10 minutes
    - Use your black soap as a scrub : add some water and sugar to a spoonful of african black soap (dump out the excess water) or use with a loofah for body exfoliation
    - Use your black soap as a shampoo : take a small amount and apply it on your wet scalp , massage and rinse thoroughly.

    So have you ever used Black soap? Which one do you use?

     

    Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels 

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