I received many inquiries about the origins and uses of of West African Black soap at a soap conference last week, so I am republishing a blog article that ran a few months ago.
Black Soap, Ose Dudu or Alata Samina is a true West African Soap. Black soap has it's origins among the Yoruba in Nigeria, but receives more widespread use and production among the Ghanians.
Legend has it that the black soap was introduced to Ghana many years ago, by Yoruba traders doing business in Ghana. These traders were women and many were in the business of selling tomatoes and peppers. They were called the Alatas (Pepper Sellers). Samina is an Akan word for soap. The word Alata Samina, coined by Ghanians, means 'The Pepper Traders Soap'.
What is Black Soap
Black soap is a dark colored cleansing bar. It is soft and porous and dissolves faster than most cold press soaps. Black soap produces a very rich lather and gives the skin a clean soft feel. Many users claim that Black soap clears up acne, eczema, blemishes and discolorations. Black soap is 100% natural, Organic and Vegan in origin and process.
Varieties of Black Soap
The color varies from jet black to light brown depending on the ingredients used in making the soap. The basic ingredients used in black soap are Shea Butter, Red Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, Roasted Plantain Skins, Roasted Cocoa Pods. Other additives like Agoa bark, scents and other oils are optional. The darker soaps tend to have more of the roasted plantain skin in the ingredients. The oxidation from the plantains make the soap bar darker. For a lighter bar more roasted cocoa pods are used. Black soap does not contain conventional lye, however the ash from roasting the plantain and cocoa pods are the local equivalent of lye that are used in the saponification process.
Who Uses Black Soap?
In spite of it's African origins, black soap is suitable all ethnicities and works especially well for troubled acne prone skin.
Where to Buy it
Black soap is sold in bulk bars that can be cut into smaller bars or you can buy our individually wrapped bath size bars. See our selection of black soaps. These soaps are available in wholesale quantities for reselling online or at local farmers markets
Some Uses of black soap
- Cleansing bar for face and body
- Face mask for acne prone skin
- Skin Brightening and removal of blemishes
- Shampoo bar
- Can be re-batched into a cold press bar
We welcome comments and suggestions on you experience using Black soap.