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Alright. So I’ve been struggling to figure out how to depict my miracle product here for a few reasons…

1)   I never thought it would work well enough to be worth before/after photos and doh!, I didn’t take any.

2)   Even if I had taken makeup-less photos, this blog is no Proactiv commercial, and you probably wouldn’t be seeing them.

3)   Like some of the better beauty products in life, the actual product looks like shit – no literally, poop of some variation – and who wants that on their fashion blog?

4)   I wanted to make sure it worked. And as evinced by the state of my skin when I stopped using it for a couple weeks: it works!

Minor setbacks and a lack of photos aside (this random photo and google will have to suffice), you should trust me enough to believe I wouldn’t tell you to buy a product that looks like crap, let alone recommend you put it on your face, if I hadn’t done so with incredible results first. This one is Jazzi-tested right here.

Now what is it? My miracle wash is Raw African Black Soap from Ghana via the internet. This isn’t that “black soap” you’ve tried from Target or the health food store – there are a lot of faux Black Soaps out there. Despite the name, this soap isn’t really black at all. More like African Brown Soap. The good stuff will always contain plantain ash, cocoa pod ash, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, palm oil and often shea butter. Apparently this soap is totally commonplace in many parts of Africa, so apologies if I’ve kept you waiting to read about a product you’ve used since birth. If so, I’m totally not your friend anymore since you never shared it with me!

It usually comes wadded up with no pretense in a ziplock baggy for a very fair price. Just lather in your hands and wash (or use as a mask). It’s a little gross looking and your reaction will be “WTF did I just pay for” at first glance. But it’s all-natural, even vegan I believe (hence the uh, natural color) and has a nice earthy smell. Nothing offensive nor lingering.

I have combination to very oily skin with a teenage history of acne that left me with dark scars, spots and hyper-pigmentation (should’ve listened to mom’s advice not to pick, but I didn’t). My skin is overall tolerable, but never even and my pores could use some help.

Well, about two months since starting to use this soap, my skin is pretty bangin’. Not “Oh, I never wear makeup” bangin’, but (if I didn’t love painting my face so much) I bet I could finally be one of those “Oh, I only use a little tinted moisturizer” people! My skin it matte, my spots have noticeably faded, as have my pores and my skin has never been smoother. I think the shea butter adds some extra magic, too.

I forced numerous friends & family to try it (male, female, Asian, Russian, White, Black to name a few) and they’ve all had good results. A few found it drying but said a little moisturizer afterward fixed that up.

Another plus (then I’ll stop ranting) is that you can use this soap all over with similar results. It lathers beautifully, easily (and gently) removes my eye makeup and makes a fantastic shampoo and body wash. This is all I have in my shower at the moment and I couldn’t be more satisfied. ETA: Forgot to note the incredible improvement the soap made with the eczema on my inner arms – no joke, it’s gone.

A little goes a very long way and you can buy a pound for under $15 on Amazon (would easily last you months). Keep it fresh by storing in Tupperware between uses. I’ve also tried African Black Soap variations I found on Etsy and eBay and they’ve all been equally good. Just look for the vomit/dried poop looking stuff and you’ll know it’s worth a try! If you want Black Soap in prettier packaging, those exist too.

Next up, I’ll have an updated list of all the other products I swear by (you know, the kind you can get at Sephora and the drugstore).

COMMENTS / 44

  • Promise Armstrong / June 11, 2011

    I have the exact same issues with my skin with hyper pigmentations, I was using black soap before I decided to use Neutrogena, but the black soap I had was an exfoliant soap as well and they were pretty harsh, and opened up my spots, which in turned left scars, yours sounds really good though, I just want something that will give me somewhat near clear skin..x

  • nicole / June 11, 2011

    thank you for your recommendation! my skin is ravaged with acne and acne scars and i hope this helps!

  • Jennie / June 11, 2011

    Thank you so much for the post! I’m going to try this for sure. Not only does it sounds like it really gets the job done, but it is natural and inexpensive as well.

    If you ever need a happy hour suggestion, please never hesitate to ask!

  • Kaye Beeh / June 11, 2011

    I know all about the black soaps. My mother loves them. I like them but I prefer the Clinique soaps too.

  • Qiana Reed / June 11, 2011

    Great post! I’ve been in search for a good source for all natural black soap. I will be giving this a try. I need that clear summer skin. Thanks!

  • Tee / June 12, 2011

    Hey, very Informative post. Is the amazon link you provided the seller you actually get yours from?? xx

  • Jazzi / June 12, 2011

    I hope you guys drop by again or tweet me your results! I’m excited to hear!

    @Tee Yes, this is a vendor I use & recommend. I’ve tried a few different vendors and all were good, but this is the best for the price (and I’m usually buying other stuff via Amazon so it works out). Each batch you get might look different which is just the nature of natural and handmade products – but all can be easily molded at home with water and all yield the same great results! Just keep it sealed up between uses to keep it fresh!

  • Pj / June 12, 2011

    I love Black Soap. I’m from Ghana, and my mom tends to go back home every 1-2 years. She always brings back a ton of Black Soap are Shea Butter (: Yeah, the soap isn’t actually black, it’s more brown with little specks of black beads. It can be drying, so it’s best to follow up with some good moisturizer or even Shea Butter (if you have that available). I prefer raw Shea butter, not the lotion, I mean the actual hard-looks-like-butter Shea butter. I love African products!

  • Amy / June 12, 2011

    Thanks for the tip, can’t wait to try it! I’ve been obsessed with natural beauty stuff for awhile. The oil cleansing method and the Aztec Secret bentonite clay mask were life changers for me, you should try them out too.

  • Jazzi / June 12, 2011

    @Amy I also really liked the oil cleansing method, only the results didn’t last long-term like this soap has for me. If you liked that I think you’ll love this! And I love a good clay mask, so I’ll have to try your suggestion one day.

  • Cooper / June 12, 2011

    Thanks a lot for this review and recommendation, i was looking for something like this, my skin don’t look too healthy and i’m trying everything to keep it nice but it’s really hard, i hope this will work!

  • Melanie Alexandra / June 14, 2011

    Thanks for sharing! Definitely going to try this out. I’m trying to phase natural products into my life, and this sounds like a miracle.

    Do you use moisturizer with it, or no? I’m assuming the shea butter does the job. I constantly switch locations between humid at home and really dry at school so my skin just can’t decide whether it wants moisturizer or not since it’s always in like, shock, haha. I feel like this would have me meet in the middle.

  • Marie / June 14, 2011

    OK I HAVE JUST PURCHASED IT! I have annoying acne scars (usually get breakouts often but have cleared up recently due to what I think is from my birth control) and have been trying to figure out what to do about them. I have been meaning to try this one Kiehl’s product but because it’s $50 I have been holding off on it…then YOU COME ALONG WITH THIS POST! I can’t wait to try it! I’ll let you know how it goes!
    xoxo

  • M / June 16, 2011

    I’m so excited to try this! Does the shea butter leave a weird/greasy residue, though? I’m always worried about that because I’m cursed with impossibly greasy skin.

  • Melissa / June 16, 2011

    I’m definitely going to buy this right away and see how it works out. I’ve been looking for something for my acne scars. Hopefully this works well for me too

  • Mayka / June 18, 2011

    I took a bar of dudu orsun soap on a three-city tour of Italy, and lemme just say: it cleans, it negates the need for lotion – and thus it also cuts down on two liquid toiletries to worry about while flying. Great recommendation.

  • Michelle / June 18, 2011

    Hi Jazzi!!!
    Thanks so much for this review!!! My skin is in SERIOUS need of help, especially from scarring so this came at JUST the right time!!! I have been stalking your blog for what seems like months since you first hinted at finding a miracle product & I was preparing to shell out tons of $$$ so it is a pleasant surprise to find something so affordable recommended!!!

    Anyway, I have a question about the soap…I order mine from the seller you recommend, (HalalEveryDay), & it just arrived but mine does not contain any Shea Butter in it!!! The package says: “Ingredients: Traditional Black Soap contains mainly water, cocoa pod ashes, plantain skin ashes, and palm oil.”

    So basically I was wondering if this actually IS the soap you received from them, or if you got a batch made w/ Shea, in which case I would contact the seller…just trying to make sure I’m using the one you recommend…

    THANKS if you made it thru all that^^^ & have any input!
    ;)
    michelle

  • steph / June 18, 2011

    I love African black soap!!! I use it as a face/body wash and sometimes as a shampoo. I normally have super frizzy hair, but when I use the soap I don’t even have to use conditioner and I’m frizz-free. It’s also very affordable, which is a plus.
    I tricked my sister telling her that the soap was a cookie and she actually took a bite out of it. lol

  • Jazzi / June 19, 2011

    @Michelle HalalEveryday sells a few different black soap variations on their site. Which did you purchase? The exact one I linked to and buy (the $13 one, not the $12.50 one) contains 33% shea butter and has ‘shea butter’ in the product title. The other at $12.50, as far as I can tell, does not contain the additional shea butter (I’m not sure if that one just has less shea butter or none at all). Are you sure you ordered the shea butter-added soap?

    There really isn’t a “wrong” soap here either way, so I’d say try it and see how you like it. You could easily order shea butter separately (from the same vendor) and add it to your routine if you want! And of course you can contact the seller if you think you got a different soap than you ordered.

    @Melanie & @M – I do not use an additional moisturizer since my skin is generally oily and I don’t need it. The soap leaves my skin at a perfect balance: not dry and not greasy/shiny at all! There’s no residue left after you wash it off.

  • Michelle / June 19, 2011

    I made sure to order the 1 you linked! I just thought it was kind of odd that it has Shea butter in the title and description on Amazon, but when my bar arrived it did not have Shea in the title or ingredient list on the package!!! So I feel like they may have sent me the wrong one unless your bar didn’t have Shea listed on it either. Anyway, I’ll contact them and let you know what they say. Thanks again!
    ;)

  • TheQueenofHearts / June 21, 2011

    I had a feeling that you were going to post on black soap. It is the truth. I’ve been using it for months but it’s true, you can’t stop using it once you start!

    TheQUEENofHearts

  • pink horrorshow / June 21, 2011

    Hm, ok I just bought a bar off Amazon..let’s see what this does for me.

    They kind of look like Fig Newton innards or a Lara bar lol.

  • Jazzi / June 21, 2011

    @pinkhorrorshow Haha it totally does look like a Lara bar! That, and ear wax maybe? Let me know how the soap works out for you!

  • Thank you for the beauty tips! I am going to add this to my next shopping list!

    xo Mariana

  • taryn / June 26, 2011

    I must’ve been using a knock off version of african black soap because I bought it from the beauty supply store and it was recommended by my african foster sister. It did some pretty bad damage to my skin.

    I’ve been using shea butter lately for my skin and hair. It’s a life saver.

  • Ria / June 28, 2011

    Thanks for the recommendation, I’m going to have to try this.

  • tricia / July 17, 2011

    after coming across the cosmetic database and finding out how toxic a lot my favourite products are, i’m really eager to give this a try, especially because i suffer from eczema and acne. i just made a purchase via esty and an super curious about what results i’ll get.

  • Rose / July 20, 2011

    You are really beautiful, and I loveyour blog

  • Genevia / September 9, 2011

    Just Bought! I have normal to very oily skin too, so if you swear by this, I’ll give it a try because Shiseido isn’t “happening” anymore!

  • Alyssa / October 1, 2011

    Thanks for this post, I’m going to check the soap out! Much appreciated, <3

  • Olivia S. M. / October 18, 2011

    Hey Jazzi!

    So I’ve read your post about the african soap awhile ago and I was still kind of iffy about it but I did my research and I decided to take your word for it! So as of now, I’m rocking it as a mask. I have high hopes for this because I have a lot of acne scars and acne as well so I hope to see some great results. When did you start seeing some results?

  • MS DEE / October 19, 2011

    I ordered an 8oz size at first and the stuff is so good, I went on ebay and ordered 5lbs worth, so I am set. I am in my mid 50’s with dry skin, residual acne scars and occasional breakouts, but not now. I find the soap stings a bit if left on my face too long. I love the leather and do not mind the earthy smell. I follow my facial wash with some homemade whipped shea butter that I use on my hair and skin. My skin is so smooth, soft and my pores are decreasing. I just love this soap and should have gotten on the bandwagon earlier. Unfortunately, my first introduction to Black Soap was the faux type about 20years ago. I’m on it now and my skin is on point. I enjoyed reading your review.

  • Nick / November 29, 2011

    Did you use the Du Du Osun brand or another? I just ordered it from amazon and I’m very anxious. I hope I bought the right one because your skin is gorgeous and mine, not so much right now. Thanks!

  • Karen Cianci / December 2, 2011

    Jazzi

    I happen to agree with your grandmother. Stop making that face. why? Because you are GORGEOUS and every picture you post should show your GORGEOUSNESS.

    Sincerely

    Karen
    wayfarervintage on etsy.com

  • curiouslady / June 22, 2012

    im curious, i heard it strips the skin, do you use it everyday??

  • Jamie / August 8, 2012

    I just recently purchased some african soap at a morrocan store in montreal . After just using it twice i already feel like my skin is doing better . I also bought raw shea butter , kinda gross and I don’t really know what to do with it . Could you tell me what to do with it? Its like a really thick raw cream . Please reply via email :)

  • Fayven / September 15, 2012

    This has less to do with the soap(though, I’m totally gonna try it) and more to do with your vocabulary: I love that you used the word “evince”. It made me smile. Nobody uses it, or even know it exists, always saying “evidenced”. pshh. But yeah, you’re awesome for that.

  • TYRA/ OCTOBER 09,2012 / October 9, 2012

    HEARD ONE I GUESS YOU HAVE HEARD THEM ALL. I AS WELL SUFFER FROM ACNE PRONE SKIN, I JUST BOUGHT MY BLACK SOAP TODAY. I HOPE IT WORKS!!!

  • debie dairo / October 15, 2012

    Please,which store in ghana can I get this product…african black soap,I have terrible acne,I’ve been trying different products,I really hope this soap does wonders to ma face,please do u knw any store in ghana where I can get it,anybody who knows should please send it to ma email address(debie_22@yahoo.com)thank u very much,u will b doin me a huge favour

  • liza ortiz / December 13, 2012

    I love all the products from ghana my mom has been purchasing raw cocoa n shea butter black soap n oils for years. But the kind she got was black n smelled really perfumy and made me break out as a kid ;( but the other day I stopped by the nadina store which has all products imported from ghana I bought raw shea butter n considered buyin the black soap cuz it looked like I crap n I was jus tellin my man anything that looks n smells like shit is good for u. I wish I would of bought it now I’m guessing the black soap that my mom got before was bs.

  • Shaira / January 25, 2013

    Hello! I have been using this soap for About a week now. It works really well but leaves my skin dry after use. Wa lotion wud u recommend to use on my face?

  • Dominique Deveraux / March 7, 2013

    1st: I love ur site 2nd apologies for just now discovering ur blog/clearly I live under a rock ……..and yes! I love this soap. we have whats called “artscape” here in Baltimore & some lady had it…of course I wanted to know what the hell it was and she was kind enuff to share. Bam! there in lies my love affair.

    much love/many blessings
    xxx

  • Justin smith / June 27, 2014

    Hi,
    I used this soap couple of months ago and i’m quite fond of this black soap now. Really wonderful product from Africa.

  • stralex1 / December 1, 2016

    Thanks for writing on this black soap, it seems good to me.

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