African black soap, sometimes called Ose Dudu or Dudun-Ose, is made by hand from the ashes of a number of plants including plantain leaves and cocoa pods, which are mixed with various oils, such as cocoa butter and shea butter oil, and water. The exact recipe varies from maker to maker.
The soap has a dark brown color, crumbly texture and a distinctive aroma. Black soap is also available from some vendors as a liquid soap or as a more processed bar soap with added ingredients. Other black soaps include Japanese soaps made with bamboo charcoal.
As with any soap, the primary benefit of using black soap is cleansing. Black soap is a multi-purpose cleanser which can be used by children as well as adults. Black soap can also be used to remove makeup. Charcoal in soap may help absorb bacteria and body odors, providing a more thorough cleansing.
Black soap can help reduce acne outbreaks by reducing oiliness and killing bacteria which cause acne. Charcoal is known for its absorbent properties. Some proponents say using black soap reduces the appearance of acne scars.
Users of black soap report that it leaves their skin soothed, reducing irritation from rashes and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The ashes used in black soap have been used as a traditional folk treatment for skin irritation. Some black soap formulas contain honey, also known for its healing properties. Black soap can be used by people with sensitive skin.
The ash in African black soap provides gentle exfoliation. This gentle exfoliation may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and discolorations and reduce razor bumps.
Regular use of black soap helps to attenuate facial lines and rejuvinates the skin.
Black soap can also be used for cleaning your hair and nouridh your scalp.
As Black soap contains a very high content of glycerin;, it can easily absorb moisture from the air. To prevent it from spoiling, black soap should be stored in a sealed plastic bag or in a dry container.
When purchasing African Black Soap do try to purchase it from a fair trade organization. Fair trade means that the women making the soap are paid at a fair rate and are provided with a pension plan, vacation, sick and family leave, and overtime (to learn more about fair trade : Fair Trade Federation).
Make sure that the soap is from western Africa and not made in the United States or Europe. Soaps from these countries are mass produced and are not true African Black Soap and probably have artificial ingredients added to them to give the dark coloring.
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