I have a love hate relationship with soap bars, well more hate than love to be honest. I just find that they get messy, gooey looking over time and end up looking nasty in the soap dish. So you can imagine my delight when I found out than you can liquefy soap and in this case African Black Soap. I have tried liquefying other soap bars as well but that is a story for another day. My first encounter with black soap was about ten years ago or so in a friend’s bathroom; I know I am African the soap is African but here’s the thing I am East African and this particular soap is native to West Africa. So unfortunately I don’t have any stories of how my grandmother used to make this soap or how I bathed with it as a child like some of my West African sisters do. In fact my very first encounter with said soap was outside of the African continent imagine that.
Like I was saying I first saw this black looking mess in a soap dish in a friend’s bathroom and I asked her what that was and she told me. She used it mostly for her face and I could see how clear and smooth her face was but try as much as I could, I could not bring myself to having that mess in my bathroom Lol. So fast forward many years later I am online looking for solutions to control my very oily face and I come across reviews of this soap and a YouTube video of a Vlogger liquefying the soap. I was sold! I use mine primarily for my face but also as an occasional hair shampoo and body exfoliator, it is a head to toe soap and perfect for all you natural sulphate free shampoo lovers. This soap has done wonders in controlling the oily nature of my face it is also less drying when liquefied. I almost freaked out the first time I used it because it left my face dry and flaky but thankfully the flakes can be scrapped out with your fingers and a good moisturizer used afterwards to combat the dry feeling initially. On asking around and more online reading I realised this was quite normal the first few days of using this soap for a first timer because it is exfoliating your skin by removing the dead skin. Various west African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo and others have their own version of this soap; in Nigeria it is referred to as Dudu Osun/Ose Dudu and the local name in Ghana is Alata Samina. I currently use the Tropical Naturals Dudu Osun brand which is made in Nigeria it is all natural the only difference being that unlike the raw cut soap bar this one is moulded to look like a regular soap bar, some companies have gone a step ahead to produce readymade liquefied versions I have never tried any so I don’t know if they have preservatives in there and what not. This soap bar goes a long way a 150g bar can last up to 6 months and a little goes a long way since it lathers very well even in its liquefied state making it very economical. I just made a new batch today and thought I would share the process with you all so here goes;
|What I used; hand grater, one cup hot water and a bowl|
I grated about a fifth of the bar
|Looks a whole lot I know but trust me that is a fifth of the bar|
Added the hot water to it
Less than 15 minutes later it was dissolved
|This soap dissolves quite fast even in room temperature water I used hot water to hasten the process. It also dissolves quite fast on its own after one use left in a soap dish over time.|
I waited for it to cool for about 45 minutes and then decanted into my pump bottle (old body lotion pump bottle that comes in quite handy!) and it was ready to use.
I discovered through trial and error that one cup water which is about 250ml is enough to dissolve a fifth of the bar. Any more water for a fifth of the bar and it becomes too dilute this ratio is perfect for my mix.
The brand I use is available online here and depending on where you live this brand and others can also be found at African stores (West African mostly), select beauty supply stores or independent retailers. Nairobi readers if you need info on where to purchase this brand just email me I know a few independent retailers who sell it. When purchasing please be aware that genuine natural West African black soap is not black in colour but more of a dark brownish colour and dissolves easily in water. Also check the ingredient list all products listed should be natural with no preservatives. I would be cautious of purchasing any African Black soap that says made anywhere other than West African countries. Note I said “made in” not “packed by” two different meanings. If its origins are in West Africa but it was packed elsewhere for resell then that’s fine.