Black soap is generally made from locally harvested African
plants such as plantain, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves and Shea tree bark. The
ingredients are sun-dried and roasted, which is how it gets its deep color.
Water and oils such as coconut, palm and Shea butter are then added.
The soap is then left to sit and “cure.”
Traditionally made in West Africa by tribeswomen in Ghana
from special secret recipes, it is often fairly traded. These soaps are
more likely to be pure, whereas commercial soaps made in the U.S. may include
additional artificial ingredients.
When I cleansed my face with the black soap, the deep color
mixed with water made a brown, creamy lather that felt cleansing and
smooth. There was no redness or tingling while using the soap, yet afterward my
face did feel exfoliated into a warm glow.
In bar form, black soap is a little crumbly and softer than
most soap and may look like food to a child or pet, so be careful to store it
properly. It's also typically a shade of brown, instead of black. It has a high
glycerin content and absorbs water easily, so it should be stored in a plastic
bag or dry area away from the tub and shower.