The black soap post
I know saying I've been busy sounds generic but for real you guys, life (work) has a way of pushing everything to the background sometimes.
I've been meaning to share my experience with black soap and here it is finally.
My history with black soap
1] My first encounter was with a brand called Village Fresh. It came in a white jar with green print and a green cover. I was in High School and still looking for the best thing for my sensitive skin, so when classmate spoke highly of it I got it. It was a goopy semi-solid, dark brown, had truckloads of lather and it was FULL of strong fragrance.
It dried the heck out of my skin and I had white flakes all over, especially on my face and legs + my skin felt very tight and ready to crack.
2] Next was Dudu Osun, few years later. It's a hard, dark bar that lathers a lot. Also had too much fragrance for me and dried my face out, thankfully not as badly as Village Fresh did but nonetheless drying.
At this point you probably wonder why I tried again.
I. In my quest for an organic lifestyle, I've been looking for an all-natural top to toe cleanser to replace both shampoo and body wash. You've probably this too much on here: I love multitasking products. This was the most viable candidate from all my online searches.
II. I figured that the previous ones I tried had artificial additives especially synthetic fragrances which are known to irritate sensitive skin.
There's so much praise online for the raw, pure African Black Soap that I became convinced it was the best thing for me.
I was going to order from Natural Nigerian but I came upon this baby at Ebeano supermarket.
Full name: Namaste Organics Exfoliating 100% African Black Soap Conditioning Hair and Body wash with Rosemary and Ylang Ylang oil.
It goes on below to say "stimulating and deep hair conditioning". You can see the ingredient list in the picture.
My bentonite clay is the same brand. I got this tub for N2, 250, almost $15 for 400g. I know it's rather steep for a locally made soap but since it already contained essential oils which I was planning to buy (those cost a lot) + carrier oils, I figured the price was okay.
When you open it the first smell that hits you is the rosemary- very spicy and warming. If you inhale deeper you'll smell the soap base clearly.
How I used it + Results
Straight: I used as a body wash with no extras, just to get a feel of it. I even used a little bit to wash my face. The first thing I noticed was a squeaky clean feeling all over. Definitely not what I'm now used to. For my face, that's a huge no-no. Read all about that here.
I needed more body oil than usual and that kept dryness away from other areas but my hands which were as dry as Okporoko.
Mix no. 1- I scooped some into a pump container and mixed with water, honey and olive oil. The water only made me use more to get a good lather. Still squeaky clean. Didn't use on my face. Hands started to feel rough after a few days. I tweaked each time I mixed- more honey, more oil. No appreciable difference.
This is when I tried it on my hair to remove product buildup. Oh my days... you could literally hear my hair squeak. That's how stripped it was. It tangled badly. Worst part was: some areas still had buildup! I had to follow with the shampoo I'm trying to replace, then conditioner all over again. Bad bad experience.
Mix no. 2- Left out water and added a lot of honey and olive oil. In desperation I grabbed everything: palm kernel oil and even melted some shea butter.
My hands finally stopped feeling rough and the soap lathered well without the dilution with water.
Mix no. 3- lots of honey, olive oil and sunflower oil. I mean lots. After mixing, the quantity of soap went from 1/4 to an almost full container.
|While mixing, it went from irregular semisolid to creamy...|
|...At rest it stiffened and set.|
This is the mix I'm currently on. It also lathers just fine and doesn't leave my hands rough or too dry. I even used it to wash off my makeup today and it got my face really clean without making it dry and flaky. That said, my face and body still require oiling while damp to get some moisture.
Verdict: I really wanted this to be it but it's not for me. If I have to tweak a product so much to get just fair results, it's not worth it. I won't repurchase.
I understand that loads of people love black soap so who knows? Try and see.
The search is still on for my perfect all over cleanser and my next experiment will be from Shea Moisture.
Have you used black soap? What was your experience? Have you tried any other organic alternatives? Let's talk :)
P.s- I also won't be trying Dr Bronners liquid castille soap because I read reviews and a number of people found it drying. Personally I figured if it's such an effective all-purpose cleaner- even for dishes, floors, bathrooms etc, it will more than likely dry me out. I'd rather not find out.