Black Soap

Black Soap Bars & liquid

Black soap has been handmade and used for centuries throughout western Africa. It consists of a naturally-derived emollient combined with the nutrient-rich ashes of native African plant materials. Black soap is known for being gentle and is said to cure acne and other skin ailments. It is used on the face, body and hair. Some artisans who make black soap have deviated from the original African recipe by replacing plantain ashes with more accessible cocoa ashes, as well as adding essential oils, herbs or dried flowers.

African black soap has grown in popularity. Traditionally an artifact created using natural ingredients and processes, the soap is fast becoming commercialized. In fact, synthetic versions manufactured by large cosmetic companies have found their way into store shelves allotted for beauty products.

African Black Soap Origins

African Black soap hails from West Africa and is much sought after on account of local lore surrounding its efficacious effects on the skin. It is known by many names, including Ose Dudu, as it is called by the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria, a term which literally means “black soap.” Black soap is said to have been used throughout the African Diaspora.

Ingredients and Properties of African Black Soap

The color of this type of soap ranges from light brown to deep black, depending on indigenous ingredients and method of production. Palm oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter and shea butter are commonly used as base oil, while the lye component, usually in the form of potash (potassium hydroxide), is derived from the ashes of plantain skins, cocoa pods, shea tree bark and the by-products of shea production.

African Black soap is a great moisturizer. It is mild and good for sensitive skin. It is well known for its healing or dermatological properties. Partly because of the plantain skins used in its production, the soap is rich in vitamins A and E, and is considered a treatment for eczema and acne. It is even said to provide relief to children suffering from ring worms and measles. African Black soap is also a natural shampoo for the hair, and has been prescribed for dry, itchy scalp. This beneficial effect on the scalp is attributed to the lubricating property of palm kernel oil.

Because it is soft and dissolves in water easily, the soap should be left to dry when not in use, preferably deposited in a slotted soap dish where it can drip dry. One manufacturer sells African Black soap in large blocks so that the individual can cut smaller bars from it when soap is needed. The smaller chunks can also be melted to allow the addition of preferred fragrances and herbs, in a modification process called Melt and Pour.

How African Black Soap Is Made

The traditional procedure for making African Black soap requires some muscular power. The base oil is extracted from palm by hard pressing. In the meantime, lye in potash (potassium hydroxide) or ash is made by burning cocoa pods and plantain skins. The resulting ash solution and the palm oil are mixed and cooked in water. Semi-liquid hot soap is then scooped off from the pot and placed on a table to cool and harden.
Today there is some concern over the inclusion of synthetic ingredients of dubious safety in the mass production of what some large cosmetic companies call African Black soap. These include the harsh degreaser and foaming agent sodium lauryl sulphate, and the chemical preservative Parabens, both of which are also found in most liquid soaps.

Select a base oil. Shea butter or palm oil are traditionally used in Africa

~If using palm oil, you can extract it yourself by processing coconut palms in a hand press. Since this is laborious work and palms are hard to come by in some regions, you can purchase palm oil that has already been extracted.

~The amount of palm oil or shea butter needed will vary depending on how much soap you wish to make. The amount of oil used should not exceed half the capacity of your double boiler, but those who wish to make a larger amount of soap generally process it in batches.

My organic bag of plantain leaf & chamomile flower

Plantain leaf can be purchased

I boil the leaf in distilled or any type of filtered water, the amount of the leaf depends on how much your making.

Once boiled set aside and let cool, once cooled add your other products. 

Add drops of essential oil, such as lavender, or dried plants, such as chamomile, if desired.

Traditional African black soap does not contain any additives, but some soap makers prefer to make their own versions of the soap using the scents and benefits these additives provide. My formula is what works for me. I add glycerin & a few goodies. (If you would like me to make you some I only charge $6.00.)  This is a liquid product.

  • Black soap tends to be softer than many other forms of soap, and it dissolves easily when soaked in water. It should be stored on a dry surface. Some prefer to cut or break pieces from the bar to bring into the bath or shower, instead of getting the whole bar wet at one time.
  • Black soap does not expire or decay over time.

               How to Make Organic Hair Products

Please note that most, if not all oils are strong, so make sure your using drops as appose to pouring alot, to see if your allergic to anything.  The sites I frequent for my ingredients are:,,,,
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 Mountain Rose Herbs)

Rosa Centifolia Flower*"Cabbage Rose" has soothing, gentle cleansing properties that has a softening and refining effect and used for restoring pH balance.
Eclipta Prostrata*"Bhringaraja" was traditionally used in India for promotion of lustrous hair growth; it also has been used for thousands of years for its rejuvenating properties.
Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit*"Amalaki" is considered the keystone of cellular regeneration; used for supporting immunity, strengthening hair, premature greying and regulating sebaceous hyperactivity.

Sapindus Trifoliatus Fruit*
Soap nut that contains saponins; used for gentle cleansing of hair.
Castor oil*Traditionally used for its humectant properties, organic castor oil is used as a moisture binding conditioner in hair care products.

Olive Oil*

Extensively used globally in hair and skin care products, it is used for its lathering, moisturizing and conditioning properties.
Cocoa Butter*Extracted from the seeds of the cocoa plant, it is used for its conditioning, moisturizing and soothing properties.

Ocinum Sanctum Leaf*

Rosemarinus Officinalis*
Called "Tulsi" in Sanskrit and referred to as "the incomparable one," it is known for its oxygenating properties and traditionally used in personal care for skin, hair and scalp conditioning.
Rosemary is used for strengthening hair. It has a fresh, herbaceous and sweet aroma and is known to support cell renewal and circulation.

Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil*Also known as "Camel grass" is a herbal plant of southern Asia used for its pleasant smell.

Sweet Marjoram oil*

Also called "Marubaka" or "Joy of the mountain", it has a woody, spicy aroma. It has a warming and soothing effect on mind and body and is also used for its preservative action in Personal Care products.
Vetiver Root*
A grass like plant Vetiver has a earthy fragrance similar to patchouli with a touch of lemon. Apart from adding volume it gently strengthens and nourishes delicate strands of hair.

Coconut Oil*

Used for centuries in India to condition hair.
Purified Water

Cetearyl alcohol & Cetearyl glucoside

A natural emulsifier derived from vegetable oils and corn syrup.

Sorbitan stearate & Sucrose cocoate

A natural emulsifier derived from vegetable oils.

Potassium sorbate

A mild, naturally derived preservative found in sorbus cashmiriana berries.

Cetostearyl alcohol

A natural texturizer derived from vegetable oils.

Stearic acid

A natural texturizer derived from vegetable oils.
Hydroxypropyl Trimonium Honey

An emollient, derived from honey, is a good moisturizer for hair and scalp, restoring hair's elasticity and flexibility.

Sorbic Acid

A mild preservative found in sorbus cashmiriana berries.

Natural Vitamin E

A natural antioxidant from vegetable oils.
Vegetable Glycerin

This sweet-tasting, syrupy liquid is made by combining water and fats derived from vegetable oil. It is used in moisturizers due to its water binding capabilities that allow it to draw and absorb water from the air helping skin retain moisture.

Natural Botanical Fragrance

Proprietary blend of oils used for their pleasant aroma.
Benzyl Salicylate

Essential oil isolate used for its pleasant smell and preservative action.
Benzyl Benzoate

Essential oil isolate used for its pleasant smell and preservative action.
Citric acid

Found in citrus fruits, citric acid is used to normalize pH levels in personal care products.

Dry Hair
If your hair is dull, hard to manage and brittle, it may be due to an overload of chemically-laden products. Harsh shampoos and conditioners strip follicles of essential nutrients. Choose instead to make organic hair products that feed the hair the nutrients it deserves. Putting good proteins and essential fatty acids on your hair increases shine, vitality and best of all, manageability. Making your own organic hair products at home is easy and saves money in the long run. Put life back into your locks with homemade organic hair products.

Use oils to create your own natural hair products. Coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil are often found in natural hot oil treatments, conditioners and hair moisturizers. Rosemary and lavender essential oils are also used in natural products to soften hair, stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.

Use foods such as bananas, cantaloupe, avocado, eggs, mayonnaise, honey, limes and yogurt to create natural hair conditioners for black hair. These ingredients soften and moisturize your hair making it much more manageable. Eggs and avocado also encourage hair growth in African American women.

Use ingredients such as Epsom salt, baking soda, aloe vera gel, liquid castile soap, apple cider vinegar and chamomile tea to create natural shampoos that make black hair softer and shinier as well as improve dry scalp and dandruff.

Baking Soda Shampoo

The awesome ways to save money with baking soda

Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 3 cups water (this will make enough for several washings). Store in a plastic or glass container. You can also make it one serving at a time. Mix 1 Tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water.
When you’re ready to use, shake and apply to your scalp, scrubbing it in.
After you’ve scrubbed your scalp with the baking soda, rinse with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (or regular white vinegar for a lighter smell). You can also use 1 Tablespoon of vinegar mixed with 1 cup of water for a lighter mixture.

Keep in mind that there are as many natural shampoo recipes as there are people experimenting. You might need to play with proportions before you find a combination that works great for your hair. Also, check on Youtube.

Tip: It might take two weeks or more for your hair to “settle in” to being washed with baking soda and vinegar. The reason is because right now, your commercial shampoo (and daily washing) strips your scalp of natural oils. When you go natural, your hair might feel greasy or thick as your body adjusts. Stick it out! It’s also best not to wash your hair every day, whether you’re using natural shampoo or not. Washing every other day will help keep your hair and scalp healthy.

Natural Conditioner Recipes

Pour a 1/2 cup of pure honey into a small container. Add 3 tsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp. of guar gum and 4 drops of essential rosemary oil to the container. Mix the ingredients well until they're thoroughly blended. Apply the mixture to damp hair, making sure to coat the hair completely. Cover your hair with a plastic cap or shower cap for about 30 minutes. Motown Girl recommends shampooing your hair lightly and rinsing thoroughly with cool water to remove the conditioner.

Peel one avocado and remove its pit. Mix 1 small jar of mayonnaise and 1/2 of the avocado inside a medium-sized bowl until the ingredients are well blended into a greenish color. Apply the mixture to your hair and cover with a plastic cap. Allow the mixture to penetrate your hair for about 20 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water.

Crack 2 eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Add a 1/2 cup of distilled or purified water into the bowl. Pour 1 tbsp. each of olive oil and vegetable glycerin and 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar into the bowl. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Apply the mixture to freshly shampooed hair and cover with a plastic cap. Allow the mixture to penetrate your hair for about 20 minutes before rinsing it out.

Natural Hair Treatment Recipes

Pour 1/4 cup each of vitamin E oil and castor oil into a container. Add 15 drops each of rosemary and peppermint essential oil to the container and mix the ingredients well. Apply a small amount of the mixture to your hair often. According to Motown Girl, this mixture promotes hair growth.

Pour 4 cups of warm water into a bottle or container. Add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice and 2 tsp. of pure honey to the bottle and mix thoroughly. Apply the mixture to freshly washed hair to add moisture and sheen to your hair.

Dissolve 1 tsp. of plain unflavored gelatin inside 1 cup of warm water. Pour the gelatin into a sealed container and place it in the refrigerator. Apply a small amount of the gelatin to your hair as a natural hair gel.

Some Shampoo choices~

1) Fill a bottle or container with about 1/4 cup of warm water. Pour 1/4 cup of organic liquid castile soap into the bottle. Add 1/2 tsp. of an organic oil such as sunflower oil or olive oil to the bottle and shake well until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Use the mixture to shampoo your hair as you normally would.

2) Pour 1/4 cup of organic liquid castile soap into a bottle or container. Add 1/4 cup of organic aloe vera gel, 1 tsp. of pure vegetable glycerin and 1/4 tsp. of an organic oil such as avocado oil, sunflower oil or olive oil to the bottle. Shake the bottle well until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Use the mixture to shampoo your hair as you normally would.

1. Castile Shampoo from

Instructables is one of my favorite sites because you can learn how to make just about anything here. And they’ve got a great recipe for homemade shampoo. This recipe uses liquid Castile soap.

You need:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup liquid Castile soap

Dry Hair:

If your hair is very dry, you may have used too much baking soda and should lesson the amount. You may also need to use more ACV in your rinse. Also, try smoothing a tiny bit of oil into your hair either after you shower, or in the morning. A tiny bit is all you need. Coconut oil works well, and smells great!
If you find your hair is chronically dry, and you like the idea of a hot oil treatment every so often, you can follow one of these recipes, the latter is best for dry hair and the former is a hot oil treatment for occasional use :

-- 1 teaspoon soybean oil
-- 2 teaspoons castor oil
Combine ingredients then warm on low heat. Massage mixture into the scalp and hair. Wrap hair in a hot towel for 15 minutes. Shampoo & rinse out.

-- 1/2 cup of dried rosemary leaves
-- 1/2 cup olive oil
Combine ingredients then heat up until warm. Strain. Coat the entire scalp and ends of hair with the oil mixture. Wrap hair in saran wrap and a towel over that, leave on for 15 minutes. Wash hair twice to remove the oil. Use this treatment twice a month or when your needs a deep conditioning. Leaves your hair shiny and re-hydrated.

If you want, or need the occasional deep condition, especially if you have very long hair with breakage at the ends, you can try a mix with one small jar of real mayonnaise and 1/2 of an avocado. Mash them together in a bowl with your hands until it's a minty green colour, then smooth onto your hair. Put on a shower cap, or wrap your hair in saran wrap and leave on for 20 minutes before thoroughly rinsing clean.

If you're using this only for the tips of your hair, or for very short hair, half the ingredients.

If you swim regularly in pools, or have very chlorinated water you may find your hair dries easily. To help prevent chlorine damage after you've gone swimming, try mixing one egg, one eggshell's worth of olive oil with one quarter of a peeled cucumber. Blend together, spread evenly onto hair, leave in ten minutes and then rinse well. See also [I have hard water!]

If you regularly blow-dry, stop!

Scrunch with a towel and then let your hair air-dry. Curling, straightening or kinking your hair using hot irons can also attribute to drying and breakage. You can also try using a boar-bristle brush to brush your hair with, this will distribute your hair's natural oils evenly. Though be warned that you don't need to use it all the time, and using it too much might actually make your hair feel more oily then usual!
White Build-up:

You're probably using too much baking soda! Remember, you only need one tablespoon per cup (250mls) of water, for long hair, you only need a maximum of 2-3 tablespoons. It doesn't seem like much, but it goes a long way. For easier distribution, keep a little cup with some baking soda in the shower and take a pinch and apply to wet hair, then rub in.
Itchy hair/scalp:

Try infusing your rinse with tea tree, rosemary or lavender essential oils (only a few drops at the most!) Try changing your rinse routine. Add a bit of honey, try a rosemary tea rinse. experiment! For itchy scalp caused by build-up or dryness, try adding a few pinches of brown sugar (not white, as it will dissolve) to your wash and rubbing it through. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. If you use any oils on your scalp (like jojoba, or coconut), stop and see if that makes a difference. See also [I have hard water!] Dandruff:

Skin cells flake and slough off the body all the time, normally skin go through the cycle of dying and being replaced once a month. If this process is sped up and the skin cells aren't removed, you get dandruff. Although the real causes of dandruff are still unknown, most theories involve the sebaceous glands being plugged, or overproducing.

To help control dandruff you can use a mild acidic solution on your scalp, before shampooing, about twice a week.

-- 1/2 cup Water
-- 1/2 cup of White Vinegar
Combine ingredients then apply directly to the scalp. Use before shampooing. Apply twice a week.

If you're using any oils on your scalp (coconut, jojoba, etc - not essential) stop and see if that helps. Also try adding some brown sugar to your baking soda wash and massage it into your scalp to help slough away flakes. Don't use white sugar, it will just dissolve.

Use distilled water or boiled water to wash your hair with. It won't remove all the impurities, but it can make a difference.
What Kind of Herbs Can I Use to Improve My Hair's Health?

Burdock: root helps prevent dandruff

Catmint: leaves encourage hair growth and soothes scalp irritations

Chamomile: flowers soften and lighten hair

Flannel Mullein: lightens hair

Goosegrass: tonic and cleansing, helps prevent dandruff

Henna: red hair dye and conditioner

Horsetail: non-fertile stems and branches strengthens the hair

Lavender: antiseptic, antibiotic, stimulates hair growth, and degreases

Lime: flowers clean and softens

Marigold: lightens hair color

Nasturtium: for hair growth

Parsley: enriches hair color and gives a nice luster

Rosemary: tonic and conditioner, one of the best herbs to use, gives luster and body, also slightly darkens the hair. (This is good to use if you notice your hair lightening due to baking soda use.)

Rhubarb: the root makes a yellow hair dye

Sage: tonic and conditioning, darkens the hair

Southernwood: encourages hair growth and helps prevent dandruff

Stinging Nettle: tonic and conditioning and helps prevent

Witch Hazel: leaves and bark are astringent and cleanses oily hair

*Most recipes using these herbs call for dried or fresh, you can boil it into a tea and infuse it into your rinse routine (or make it a rinse all by itself).

How to make Infused water:

Boil water, add herbs, then turn off stove. Allow herbs to steep covered for about 30 minutes. Remove herbs and you have herbal infused water!

The oils will work as well, but make sure they're pure, and use very little. A few drops can go a long way! I will also post a few sites I use to purchase organic oils & products. If you know of another site please post them.

extend to shampoo as well. Baking soda is the household product that I buy in gigantic, 5 lb. bags from Costco and boy does it go fast. I use it for everything, including shampoo!

The biggest benefit to using baking soda is that it really helps get rid of the buildup that settles on your scalp from other hair care products. But, you have to rinse with vinegar if you want your hair feeling as light and fluffy as it always does. Alone, baking soda has a tendency to dry hair out.

Here’s what you do:

Protein Infused Hair Gel~

2) One cup water
2 tablespoons flax seed
1-2 drops of essential oil of your choice.

Combine the water and seeds in a small saucepan, bring them to a boil and then remove from heat. Set aside for a half hour. Strain through a colander. When completely cooled, add the oil and mix through. Transfer to a wide-mouthed jar with a tight lid (mason jars work well!), and use as you would any other gel product. There are also tutorials on Youtube for flax seed gel, this stuff really defines your curls; if your hair is natural; or infuses the hair with protein richness.
 Spotlight Ingredient~

                    Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein

Naturally derived, hydrolyzed wheat protein contains wheat oligosaccharides (carbohydrates) and constitutes a unique hydrating complex offering a combination of moisture-balancing and film-forming properties that work synergistically to give hair better body control, and skin, a smoother softer feel. An exceptional ingredient to add moisturization to lotions, creams and facial serums, it is also an excellent addition to shampoos, conditioners and body washes. Recommended Usage Level: 1-5%
Solubility: Soluble in water
Appearance: Amber Liquid

HAIR CARE- Wheat Protein is well hailed for its strengthening properties. Penetrating the cortex, it provides replenishment by adding Cystine to hair weakened by chemical treatments and regular hair maintenance. This makes it an ideal choice for hair waving systems, post-perm conditioners and products for damaged hair.

SKIN CARE-Wheat Protein has been shown as one of the most effective pore minimizers in modern skin care, providing the porcelain look when utilized in facial cleansers, toners, serums, gels, or lotions. Provides balanced moisture, and gently nourishes.


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