Updated: May 20
I know that today complex 10-step skincare is the wave. I get it. It's all about self care and skincare is the perfect social media portrayal of self care because frankly it's pretty hard to record a therapy session or take your phone with you into the spa or sauna. It's also quite boring to record yourself budgeting or color coordinating your closet (just me?).
All your favorite influencers are making 8-minute long videos of double cleansing, clay masking, sheet masking, serum layering, all topped off with a nice luxurious cream that goes for a modest $40 per 1.5 ounce. And it's fabulous. I get it. I have a beauty drawer full of clean beauty sheet masks, I have a shelf of happening beauty tools (mask brushes, rose quartz rollers, gua sha), my bathroom sink has a beautiful display of Epanouie beauty products (a 6-step face routine) that brings me a level of joy and zen that I can not begin to describe (actually I can and will in another article). BUT today we are taking it back to the basics. To what has been the single most successful beauty product in my personal beauty arsenal. It's not insta-friendly, it's not super expensive, it's not inaccessible but it works. Today we are talking about Black Soap.
I first discovered Black soap at a farmers market when I was living in Miami. I was struggling with really bad acne, a result of a changed environment, a changed diet, a change in lifestyle... lmao just a WHOLE lot of changes. Anyway, I met a West African man at the farmers market who gave me some Black soap that his wife made. He told me unsolicited that he had something that would help my skin. "My wife made it. It's for skin like ours." Ours as in Black? Ours as in Acne-ridden? Ours as in on a budget? Lmfao. I didn't know but I went home and tried it, and IT WORKED. That's the story. It works. A lot of products I've used have either left my skin too dry or too oily. Some acne-targeted products work really well but if I skip one day than boom: SUPER break out. Black soap is different. It clears my face and keeps it clear. I've been using it ever since.
Let's dig in!
There are two types of Black Soap (that I know of): African Black Soap and Moroccan Black Soap.
Q: What are the primary difference between ABS and MBS?
1. African Black Soap is solid and Moroccan Black Soap is gelatinous and gooey in texture.
2. ABS is often made from palm ash and palm oil and MBS is made from olive oil.
3. ABS is better for daily use and MBS is ideal for spa and hammam style treatments.
Q: I've seen companies offer Black Soap in liquid form. Do you recommend bar form or in liquid form?
I recommend ABS in bar form because that is how it is made. I haven't found a liquid black soap (body or face) that has been nearly as effective.
Q: What do skin-experts say about African Black soap?
A: Honestly, the opinions on Black soap vary. Some estheticians love it, some don't. But like most health and wellness things, it really all depends on the person and what their needs are. Black soap has worked wonders for me. For others, they found it too drying.
Here is a twitter thread from an esthetician that I trust who talks about the criticisms of Black soap and offers some guidance and knowledge about why and how it can still be a good cleanser for you.
Q: How do you use Moroccan Black Soap?
A: You want to steam your body or ready your skin by being in warm water or a steam room. Then you apply the Moroccan soap via massage and let it sit on the skin for at least 10 minutes, then you use an exfoliating glove or salux cloth and scrub it off. Your skin will glow! You can do this yourself or go to a hammam and have someone do it for you. I've done both. I prefer to go to the spa. It's a lot of work and it's messy!
Q: How do you use African Black soap?
A: I lather my face with cold water and black soap and massage with my finger tips for 30-60 seconds. I rinse with cold water and follow up with a dense and rich moisturizer (2 I like:Epanouie Night Cream and Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Night Cream) and a lighter moisturizer in the summer months (I don't currently have a favorite).
Now you know!
Interested in purchasing? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org