A couple years ago I was in Tribal Eye in Toronto and found these little bags of what looked like dirt clods. The label said “Black Soap“, but it didn’t look anything like any soap I’d ever seen. Dry, crumbly, and full of brown and black bits, it was thoroughly underwhelming.
So of course I bought some. The internet told me it is made of roasted plantain leaves, unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada), cocoa pods, cocoa butter, palm kernel oil, and other things. Or maybe not. The list seems to vary quite a bit. So does the information on how its made. But the end result always seems to be a dark cloddy mix of stuff, and it’s awesome.
I must admit I wasn’t expecting it to lather, so I was rather surprised when it did. It is a proper saponified soap, so I guess I should feel a bit foolish for thinking it wouldn’t. The lye comes from the roasted plantain leaves.
I no longer recommend using alkaline cleansers like soap or baking soda on your face; read this for more information.
Because the soap comes in little crumbly clumps, it dries out quickly. Dry soap is better than soggy soap, but there is such a thing as too dry in the soap world, so I highly recommend just breaking off the tiny amount you’ll need (about a pea-sized amount for your entire body) and using that. Store the rest of the soap in a plastic bag that’s been tied off with a twist tie to keep it as fresh as possible. It makes a difference, I promise.
The lather is less rich and creamy than the soaps I make, but you can’t argue with the results. I think black soap is the best anti-acne soap I’ve ever encountered. It’s wonderfully effective and exfoliating. It’s also as natural as soap gets—the lye hasn’t even been processed. There’s no fragrance, no colours, no petroleum byproducts. Nothing suspect at all. I highly recommend giving it a try! It’s easily purchased online, or if you live in Toronto, there’s always Tribal Eye in Kensington.