I’ve mentioned before how much I love to make soap. I got into it years ago after coming across Soap Queen. If you spend the night at my house, chances are you’re leaving with some black raspberry vanilla shower gel.

There are a lot of claims on the interwebs for African black soap. “It clears acne! Evens skin tone! Works for eczema!” So I get plenty of questions on African black soap. I thought it best to discuss Ose Dudu, the original African black soap, like this one. Forget the Shea Moisture “African black soap”.

Historically, African black soap is from West Africa. According to this article by Oamobu Naturals,“…the soap goes by various names depending on how and where it’s made, Nigeria or Ghana. Ose Dudu, Dudu Osun, Alata Samina and Anago Samina. In Yoruba medicine, soap is Ose and black Dudu thus Ose Dudu. Ose Dudu is the original black soap…”

Below are three common questions I get asked about African black soap

What is in African black soap?

African black soap is a result of mixing an alkali/lye and oil. The lye is potassium carbonate from the ash of roasted plantain skin and cocoa pods (potash). The oil can be coconut, palm, palm kernel, shea or cocoa butter.

Is African black soap natural?

If you’re 1000% sure that unrefined oils and potash is used in the manufacture, then yes. But technically, it’s a no because there isn’t a natural cosmetics certification body in Africa.

Is African black soap good for clearing acne?

The average skin pH of a healthy adult is roughly in the range of 4.5 to 6.0. This is because of a thin layer on the skin called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is a mixture of water, acids and oils from the sebaceous glands. It has two main functions:

Hinder growth of harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. Microbes don’t thrive in the low pH of the acid mantle.

Maintain the cell structure as flat and tight so external elements like bacteria can’t enter. Like tiles on a roof preventing insects and rain from entering the house.

The lower your skin pH, the better its health
Generally, the lower your skin pH, the better its health.

When we use alkaline products, we raise the skin pH. The acid mantle is neutralized/compromised/disrupted. While it’s disrupted, our skin is open to infection, acne, irritation, sensitivity, dryness and dehydration.

Most bar soaps are alkaline, with a pH close to 10, and African black soap is no exception. At first, cleansing with it may seem great but using such a high alkaline product often can damage your skin.

In Conclusion

I would suggest you step away from bar soaps, including African black soap. It isn’t doing your skin any favors.

When you cleanse and the skin feels squeaky clean instead of plump and hydrated, then it’s stripped of natural oils. You’re leaving it open to dryness, infection and damage. You need to let that harsh, stripping cleanser go.

Invest in a gentle low pH cleanser like:

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel

SebaMed Fragrance Free Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser

Fulom Face and Body Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser

Have you used African black soap before? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!