African Beauty: African Black Soap

African Black Soap & She Nut Oil

The legendary African black soap is a plant-based soap used to cleanse the hair and body across western Africa. 100% natural, it is still made the traditional way, using only local plant waste products like plant skins, husks and ash.

Its high pH gives it natural antibacterial properties whilst its ash content provides a gentle exfoliant that smooths and softens the skin. Both properties make it highly beneficial for blemish-prone skin types.

Where is authentic black soap from?

Depends on who you ask. If you ask a Nigerian, they’d claim ownership but my knowledge of black soap as a Sierra Leonian is that it originates from Ghana and was exported to Nigeria and the rest of West Africa.

Ingredients in black soap.

No matter the country-of-origin black soap is one the last few soaps in the world that is made without processed lye. It is made instead using botanical ash, which acts as the strong alkaline needed to transform the oils, butter and water into soap.

Botanical waste like Cocoa-pods and plantain skin, bark and leaves are burnt to create the necessary alkaline to create this deep cleansing multifunctional cleanser. West African Palm and Palm Kernel oil, Shea butter and coconut oil are added for skin conditioning benefits, creating a soft soap that ranges from brownish cream to a rich dark brown and everything in between.

Typically unscented, there are new variations that contain fragrances, essential oils, and other fragranced additives to cater to the market. But authentic original black soap remains unscented and natural.

Skin benefits of African black soap.

The key quality of African Black soap is its ability to deeply cleanse the skin and hair. Vitamin A and E found in the soap also give it exceptional healing and restorative properties for all skin types, but especially for oily/blemish-prone skin and eczema & psoriasis sufferers.


If you have acne, or fungal infections like candida or athlete’s foot, African black soap’s antibacterial properties can help ease the symptoms. The high pH and botanical compounds have been clinically proven to kill fungal bacteria on the skin, including the scalp, removing dandruff and other infections. For eczema and psoriasis sufferers, it can eliminate skin infection from a broken or damaged skin barrier.

Deep cleansing

The natural antibacterial nature of the soap, coupled with its exfoliating particles make it a wonderfully deep cleanser. It removes everything but sin, washing away oil, dirt and debris, and leaving your skin squeaky clean. As a shampoo, it acts as a very effective clarifying shampoo, removing oil, dead skin and buildup. As a result of this cleanser, breakouts are reduced, skin looks and feels softer, and your hair is thicker and stronger.

Natural Exfoliator / Skin Brightener

The ash used to make the soap acts as a mild exfoliant removing dead skin and debris, two of the main acne-causing culprits. Its natural exfoliation combined with a high percentage of vitamin A from the shea butter, results in a brighter, smoother complexion.

Reduce fine lines and wrinkles

The exfoliating properties and high vitamin A content make it an effective defence against signs of premature ageing like fine lines and wrinkles. The ash particles gently remove dead dull skin whilst the shea butter restores and replenishes the skin, encouraging cell regeneration for smoother youthful-looking skin.


Its deep cleansing properties make it ideal for clearing the skin of excess oil. For bacne, pair with the African Sapo to help you cleanse your back and reduce blemishes. Perfect for chest acne or razor bumps, black soap’s exfoliating properties lift off dead skin and debris to reveal softer, smoother, blemish-free skin. Moisturise with shea nut oil for glowing clear skin.

Razor bumps

Razor bumps are the little bumps caused by ingrowing hairs and dead skin from shaving. Black soap’s natural antibacterial properties combined with its exfoliating qualities are effective against razor bumps. Exfoliation prevents dead skin from blocking the pores, whilst its antibacterial properties prevent acne and inflammation. These qualities of black soap also significantly improve the skin’s tone and texture when used regularly.

Reduces inflammation

Rich in vitamins A & E, authentic African black soap has been shown to help the skin fight against inflammation caused by environmental stressors. Eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and acne are all inflammatory conditions that can be improved by the use of African black soap.

How to use African black soap:


For hair and scalp care, break a little of the black soap in your hands and create a lather. Using the tips of your fingers, massage the soap into your scalp and wash away all dirt, grime and dandruff from your scalp. Rinse with apple cider vinegar (to restore your scalp pH balance) then follow your conditioning routine thereafter.


Break a little of the soap off and rub it into your African sapo. Rub your lathered sapo all over your body stretching out to reach your back and…crack areas. For dry skin types use shea butter to restore moisture to your skin. For acne-prone types, use shea nut oil as its lighter and less likely to clog your acne-prone skin.


Break a piece of the soap off into your hands, add water and create lather. Apply all over your face and neck (keep your eyes shut). Wash away with clean water and follow with a rich moisturiser of your choice.


  • There are no known precautions to take as pregnant or lactating mothers.
  • It can be used on babies to clear rashes and cradle cap.
  • Not suitable for daily use on very dry or sensitive skin types.
  • Do not get this soap into your eyes it will burn and sting for a while. If you do, wash it out with cool water and wait until the burning subsides.
  • As with all cosmetics, do a patch test before committing it to your entire body, if irritation occurs, discontinue use.

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