African black soap originated in West Africa from where it is made using plant based ingredients. Many have tried to call it different names because of its huge benefits. Names like holy grail, black gold and anago have been used differently to describe its many skin benefits. The weather is very hot in Africa and the sun can be harsh on the skin but the African Black Soap is still able to give a glowing, radiant and clear complexion. It is handmade using locally sourced ingredients over several days. It is ingrained in the traditions and culture of the West African people from whom it originated.
It has been touted as a solution for eczema, psoriasis, acne, skin irritations, hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, sun burn and lots of other skin conditions.
It is hand made from plant based ingredients. The igredients varies largely on where it is being made. The major ingredients are Cocoa pods, plantain leaves, Palm oil, Palm kernel oil, plantain peel, coconut oil, camwood bark and Shea butter. The lye is made naturally.
It is usually made by roasting the plant parts until they become ash. The plant oils are then added to it and left to cook for at least 24 hours until it solidifies. It is then left to cool and thereafter to cure for at least two weeks before it can be used. The intensity of the colour depends on how long it cooks. The recipe differs from region to region depending on the common ingredients in the area. The recipe is believed to be a family held secret by many and is handed down from generation to generation. However, much is known about it but not written down and passed from generation to generation by oral teaching.
To use to bath: Simply apply on wet sponge or soft clothe and use gently on the body. It can also be used directly on wet skin. Apply gently on face.
To use as face mask: Take a bit of African Black Soap and dissolve in water. Mix with honey and lime. It is then rubbed between wet palms and applied on the face, (can also be applied directly to the face)leave for ten minutes and rinse off with warm water.
To use as body scrub: Mix African Black Soap with half quantity of oatmeal (ratio of 2:1) and use to scrub your body.
To use as body wash: soak the soap in equal amount of distilled water overnight and then use as body wash.
Benefits of African Black Soap
1.It is safe for all ages.
2. It is suitable for all skin types. It is good for all skin types without stripping off the natural nutrients of the skin. Unlike synthetic soaps, African Black Soap does not contain fragrances or synthetic chemicals that can be harsh and overdrying. People with dry or sensitive skin do not do well with scented soaps. African black soap is unscented or fragrance free and can be used by sensitive or dry skin type without reactions. People with oily skin can have a balance in the secretion of sebum without clogged pores when they regularly use African Black Soap.
3. It helps improve skin tone. It gently exfoliates and gets rid of dirts, dead cells to reveal a bright radiant complexion. African Black Soap gently exfoliates when used regularly leaving the skin smooth, soft and supple.
4. It helps protect against aging. African Black Soap is rich in Vitamins A and E. These vitamins are very good antioxidants that help mop up free radicals and toxins. These toxins contribute to aging. Also, it may help in the development of collagen and thereby reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
5. African Black Soap has antibacterial properties and protects the skin against infections. The ingredients are rich in flavonoids, alkaloids and active components that can fight bacterial infections. These components helps protect against the bacterial causing acne.
6. It helps soothe and clear skin irritations like rashes and eczema. It calms the skin and relieves itching.
7. It is moisturising. African Black Soap contains a lot of natural oils that are moisturising and conditioning. These oils nourish the skin, lock in moisture and keep it plumped up and hydrated.
8. It can help in reducing hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation may result from sun exposure.
9. It has antifungal properties and found to be effective against athlete’s foot and other common fungal infections on the skin.
African Black Soap needs to be stored properly or it will go bad. If not using it, but already open, store in a Ziploc bag. If in use, keep on a soap dish (preferably wooden) and let it not soak in water.
What to expect if using for first time
1.Your skin may feel dry. Do not worry. This is because ABS draws out toxins and oils from the skin. This will balance out after a few days.
2. You may experience mild tingling sensation. This will also balance out over a few days.
Keep in mind that no matter your skin type, you should follow up with a moisturizer or hydrating cream.
Depending on the area where it is made, it is called different names. The names do not mean a less quality but however be sure to get an authentic product.
Example of African Black Soap is Imose African Black Soap available in liquid, paste and bar forms.