How to Use African Black Soap
The key thing to remember with African black soap is that a little goes a long way, and using too much will definitely be drying to already parched skin. Below, Dr. Crystal outlines the sequential steps to using African black soap.
- Wet your face.
- Wet the bar until you get a lather.
- With the soap on your hands, wash your face in a circular motion for 90 seconds, avoiding the skin on the eyelids.
- Rinse off with cool water.
- For a deeper clean, rub with a wash cloth before rinsing off. (DO NOT use bar directly on skin)
- Apply a moisturizer.
Upon first use, even those with oily skin might notice that the skin feels dry and tight, which should last for a week. In theory, this is caused by the soap drawing out impurities and excess oils, and the pH levels of the skin will eventually balance out after a few days. The soap can also cause a tingling, sometimes burning sensation, leading to reddened skin. This also eventually resolves for most people, but before going full-throttle and using African black soap on your face, Dr. Crystal recommends doing a patch test on another part of your body—such as your arm—before using the soap all over.
Using African Black Soap For Acne
Dr. Crystal recommends using African black soap if you’re acne-prone. “The sulfur here is a win for acne,” says Dr. Crystal, adding that the benefits are three-fold. “The ash contains potent antimicrobial properties that kill off the microorganisms causing acne, the rough bar helps exfoliate the skin and open up the pores, and the honey and sulfur also help decrease inflammation.” She adds that inflammation especially in skin of color results in hyperpigmentation or dark spots, and that this soap can help decrease said dark spots by decreasing inflammation.
Possible Side Effects
African Black Soap may encourage “purging” of skin. This occurs when the vitamin A in black soap stimulates cell turnover. This causes the shedding of dead skin cells, so you may notice extra dryness, flakiness and whiteheads as the dead cells and toxins are removed from your skin.
“Allergic reactions are common with natural skincare products, as they are not regulated on the amount of ingredients, purity of ingredients, lifespan of ingredients or sourcing of ingredients,” explains Dr. Crystal. “No one bar of soap has the same exact ingredient concentration as another.” If the skin gets overly dry or red, or peels or itches, stop using the product and see a board-certified dermatologist. Also, if you have a chocolate allergy or are sensitive to caffeine, the high concentration of cocoa pods may pose an issue.
How to Store Your African Black Soap
Store it in a cool, dry place. When it’s exposed to the air, black soap can develop a thin white-colored film—this is not mold. You might want to cut off a portion of the bar—or cut and roll it into small balls—and place them in a plastic bag. This will prevent the film from forming, and make day-to-day use easier. If you buy bulk amounts, wrap them in plastic and put them in a bag.
It also absorbs water, so keep it dry to prevent it from dissolving. Try placing the bar on a wooden soap dish with slats to allow the soap to drain before placing it back in a bag.