African Black Soap - Why You Should Try It Today!

African black soap is the hidden skin care secret and here's why

I first got to know african black soap at a travel show (of all palces!). I found this stand full of natural skin and hair care products, all made by hand. I started to talk to the boutique owner, Edem Agbekey-Taylor, who had made her way from Ghana to the cold Finland and then founded Inkuto, her shop full of natural products. Most of her products were made either in Finland from African ingredients or in Ghana, where she of course had contacts. From her I bought my firstAfrican black soap that Edem promised to polish off even acne.

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African black soap comes in many colors

Don't be surprised if your African black soap is not as black as you'd think. In many cases carbon soap is much darker and if your black soap is super black you might think it has some coloring in it. My African black soap from Ghana is brown stuff. The color comes from the ingredients of black soap: cold-pressed coconut oil and ashes, which comes either from the burning of plantain crusts or cocoa beans. So pretty basic ingredients for a soap, but I do not know if they throw a pinch of magic in, because black soap is a wildly versatile product.

Black soap for acne and make up removal

I use African black soap to wash off my make up in the evenings. My hubby, though has had acne since he was a teen. And we're not talking about few break outs, we're talking about a severe skin problem that has left his face and upper back skin somewhat scarred. The acne has now calmed down, but at times he gets these bad break outs. So Edem, whom I met at the travel fair and who had all these wonderful products said that my husband should try African black soap for his acne. And I have to say the thing seems to work. My husband skin care regime is pretty much simple as this: Scrub with black soap in the evenings and then moisturize with ozonated olive oil. I swear his skin is brighter and less damaged now.

I know some people even wash their hair with african black soap. This one time I had bought a bottle of liquid black soap and I was out of my regular natural shampoo. So I decided to give it a go and washed my hair with black soap. It was a good wash and the result did not differ that much from my regular shampoo, but I didn't keep with it, since I love how my regular shampoo smells.

Why try African black soap

+ African black soap is often made by hand (check your suppliers process), in small batches, so the quality is good.
+ Black soap is gentle, it is recommended for babies and the elderly, for example
+ At the same time, however, black soap is effective and does wonders for people with acne
+ The price! One piece costs 6-7 euros in the EU and arond the same in dollars (and lasts as long as the normal make up remover, but I think 100% natural product is a better choice at this price)

The No Poo Method - Read This Before You Ditch Your Shampoos

No poo has come to stay - read about the most natural hair care!

No poo - my life without shampoo

At some point we've all been there: browsing through blogs and getting excited about the idea of no poo. I mean, what's not to like: no more shampoo bottles lying around the bathroom and so much time saved since you don't have to was your hair! And it's ecological: you stop rinsing sulphates into the water, reduce plastic waste and let the hair live it's real, natural life. 

What is No Poo?

Regardless of what so many blogs will tell you, there's no one right way to go No Poo: Some change from regular shampoos to natural alternatives, such as shampoo bars. Some just head to the kitchen for alternate ways of washing their hair. Think of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. And some just cut it cold and endure some weeks of really, really oily hair before it starts to get better (they say). 

Have it how you will, the no poo method and all of it's variants have started to appeal to the masses. And me too. But I actually made a couple of mistakes when I started testing a shampooless life. To spare others I collected a couple of tips so your no poo life might start off on a better track.

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Get things clean before you start your no poo life

So I tried a method where I tried to ease into the shampooless life. I switched to Burt's Bees natural shampoo and then to a shampoo bar. Soft landing is quite a common way to start the no poo life. However, both of the alternative shampoos left my hair waxy. Later, I read that the reason might be in our sewers: certain areas have what's called hard water and that can react badly with natural shampoos.

I was set to go no poo so I stuck with it and tried to lengthen my washing interval. But my hair was getting more and more waxy. So googled I did and learned I had skipped a really important step in going no poo.

The no poo method should always be started with a natural deep cleansing. Save your nerves, do not skip this. I read more about the instructions in the No Poo -method site. Wash your hair with a mixture of baking soda (1 part of baking soda and 3 parts of water) and rinse with apple vinegar (the smell is a little tedious but the smell leaves when you rinse and dry).  And behold! My hair was shinier and airier than ever!

Ireally need to point out that using the baking soda method for long periods of time can be brutal to your scalp. Those who wash solely with baking soda use about half a teaspoon of soda and the rest water.

Get a natural brush and brush, brush, brush

At the beginning of the no-poo life, your hair will get oily. Natural brush spreads the natural oils of the hair from the scalp to the rest of the hair. Brushing with a nice natural brush gives the scalp a treatment as well. With time, the situation calms down and you can go longer with out washing!

So how did my trial with no poo go? I would say that I still have to get used to it. I will not be going full on no poo, but I have traded my shampoo bottles for a natural shampoo bar. 

Shampoo bar - your next new hair crush

Why I Love My Shampoo Bar

What to do when the silicone-filled shampoo bottles are so last season, but are you not really ready to try the whole no poo thing? Then you're most likely going to love a shampoo bar! I really think shampoo bars are a heaven sent to us eco bellas who do not want to compromise on comfort and convenience. I have myself tried out quite a few shampoo bars, so I decided to share a few tips and so much praise on shampoo bars!

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There are as many types of shampoo bars as there are other shampoo products: you'll find your version for blond hair, dry hair, dandruff and curly hair just to name a few. You'll find shampoo bars with honey, tea tree or tumeric and scented in so many variants. But be aware, there are also shampoo bars with chemicals such as sulphates, so check out the ingredients before you buy.

My current favorite is a shampoo bar made by a Finnish company Flow Cosmetics. Their products are 100% natural and very popular here up North. I noticed recently that my heavy hair needs effective cleansing and I knew that clay-based products are good for my hair type. Did you know that some eco girls even use pure clay to wash their hair - go those warrior princesses! As I do tend to go for more refined products I asked  my favorite organic products store for anything clay-based. To my surprise they took out a tea tree shampoo bar which also had clay - yay!

What's so great about a shampoo bar?

  • A shampoo bar combines ecology and convenience, you just gotta love it!
  • With shampoo bar you do not even necessarily need conditioner, I ditched mine and now only use coconut oil or other natural care products.
  • Less waste: no plastic bottles, but the packaging is a recyclable carton piece
  • When flying you can take the shampoo bar the the cabin because hey, that's not a liquid!
  • I was able to extend my hair washing frequency with a shampoo bar and I now only wash my hair once a week
Curly hair washed with a shampoo bar and then straightened.

Curly hair washed with a shampoo bar and then straightened.

Naturally curly hair washed with a shampoo bar.

Naturally curly hair washed with a shampoo bar.

Lessons learned with a shampoo bar

I have tried four or five different types of shampoo bars from three different brands. At first my hair got a little bit waxy, something a lot of people will experience at first, but I think I chose a product that was for the wrong hair type. One tip is to deep cleanse before starting with a shampoo bar. Try for example a subtle mix of water, baking soda and rinse with a mix of water and apple cider winegar. 

Otherwise I have completely fallen in love with shampoo bars and will continue using them for sure. I am just wainting to see more scents and mixes from more brands!