From Nature With Love 2 ♥ African Black Soap

I have used so many facial washes in the past, I literally spent thousands of dollars in skin care trying to find "The One." The skin care line that would shrink all of my pores down to pin drops, erase all of my blemishes, get me on the cover of Vogue, and have angels sing their exuberance over my radiant skin. Okay, so maybe there is no product that can do all of that but when you find a good product you know it and you hold on to it for dear life. I am hoping in these series I can start to steer you towards a natural approach.

When I first started out, a teenager putting my mother's anti-aging creams on my face and smothering sunscreen all over my face I didn't know what I was doing and suffered gross breakouts as a result of all of the heavy moisturizers I was putting on my skin. I have used every supermarket brand there is as well as Murad, Proactiv, and any creams that promised glowing skin in a bottle. 
Walking around in public was a NIGHTMARE, I didn't want to look people in the eye or have people look at me because of the horrendous acne I had all over my face. I always preferred to sit in the dark spots in a restaurant because at least then people could not see me so well in the dark, and the tons of makeup I had on in a bad attempt to cover up the acne would seem like it was doing its job. 
Of course the first rule of thumb is, never use tons of makeup to cover up zits. 1. you need to correct the problem at its source first and 2. concealer never really covers up any zit and makes it look worse. I had the acne problem before I started smothering creams all over my face but it sure made it a lot more worse. After reading books like: Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me [Paperback] by Paula Begoun, I started to recognize all of the junk that was in my cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, creams etc. I love products as much as the next girl but I try hard as much as I can to eliminate most of the chemicals and junk but still keep some things I absolutely love. Hey, we only live once right?

In my never ending quest to find the best of all things, I came across something called black soap in a Walmart long ago. After looking at the ingredients on the label I still couldn't make heads or tails of what black soap was so I went home and googled black soap. It turns out there are a lot of fillers in most, if not all commercial black soaps, that the only relation to real black soap in those supermarket black soaps is the word "black" in it.

 The difference:

Real Black Soap

Consists of roasted plantain skins, cocoa pod, palm kernel oil, palm oil, natural sodium and coconut oil
The methods to making the soap is a handed down tradition that is well guarded
The quality and main component of the soap comes from the plantain skins
Is brownish-black
Not scented
Never completely black
 Fake Black Soap

Will have a bar soap shape, real black soap will come to you in malleable chunks
It is dyed black
It is hard, real black soap is pleasantly soft to the touch
Uses cheap vegetable oils that are bad for your skin
Chemically processed
Usually scented with fragrance
  Using the soap is very pleasurable, as I mentioned it is soft and the best thing that I love about it is the smell. It has a roasted, nutty, earthy smell to it that I can only obviously attribute to the roasted plantain skins. The skins are dried, then carefully roasted in an oven to achieve a perfect color, texture and smell. The skins are then mixed with the palm oil and the palm kernel oil to make the soap. Cocoa pod may also be used in place of the skin or both may be used. Some of these fake soaps may even claim to have added Vitamin E, which plantains are a natural source of Vitamin E and A. Most of the best recipes for black soap resides in Ghana but there are many other countries that have their own recipes for black soap. I order my black soap from Nasabb, whose black soap comes from a women's fair trade cooperative in Ghana, West Africa.
A plantain shown cut in half so you can see the thick skin that is used for roasting and as a main ingredient in black soap

Benefits of Black Soap
Deep cleans the skin
Works for most skin types
Great for removing makeup
Good for fine lines and wrinkles (variable for each user)
Alleviates acne, oily skin, and other skin conditions
Helpful in getting rid of skin bumps (razor bumps)
Excellent as a shampoo
Use as a facial (leave on your beautiful face for 30 sec in the shower)
Some have claimed it has helped in the removal of acne scars (brown not pitting)
The soap when it arrives to my house in the package from Nasaab
Texture of the soap up close
Soap cut into squares. I cut up my soaps because I buy them in bulk to save more money. Just bag them individually so you will have another one ready to go when you run out of your current one!
The longer the plantain skins are roasted, the darker the soap will be, which will also affect the texture and smell.

Since using the black soap myself, I have noticed that my brown spots from my acne have diminished greatly. I never sleep easily unless I wash my face with my black soap and my makeup never comes off completely unless I use it. I never really wash around the eye area with much soap or friction unless I have makeup on, since that area is really sensitive and generally only needs a gentle water bath to clean any eye debris. 

Again some products may not work for everyone so I encourage you to try it out and see if you like it or if you may have an allergic reaction to it. Storing your black soap: since there is plenty of glycerin in the soap it will pull moisture from the air sitting on your shelf and become more darker and softer as it sits there exposed. Conversely, make sure it is not stored in a puddle of water in the shower. Use a plastic bag, plastic container, or pick yourself up a cute kawaii soap dish! (just make sure it is well drained before putting your soap inside!)
 Your beautiful face will thank you!

Hello Kitty to the rescue!

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