African black soap is a natural soap made using traditional ingredients with plant potash instead of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. I have given uses for using it as shampoo, body wash, pet wash, and general household detergent uses below, but before you get to that at the bottom of the article, I thought it would be good to explain what African black soap is and how it is made differently from other soaps. You may skip the technical details to the bottom to 'How To Use It'.
It is also commonly called ABS and the Ghanaian version of it is much more popular worldwide despite versions of black soaps made in many countries across the world. Black soap comes as a bar of bar soap, semi-soft and liquid versions. Authentic African black soap is always made with oils(botanical), water and potash. Each region may add a herb that is local to the soap or choose to take out the herb as herbs do not contribute to the 3 core ingredients needed to make soap.
African black soaps have been used for centuries but were relatively unpopular until YouTube vloggers started talking about it once brands started sponsoring particular Youtube stars and bloggers. The soap can have therapeutic properties for skin disorders which makes it popular with people with sensitive skin, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin problems that occasionally flares up when a batch of the soap contains herbs. So not all African black soaps are the same. This is why you would see some people express excitement about black soaps healing all sorts of skin blemishes and at the same time others moan about not seeing results.
A typical authentic black soap is made from oils and potash made from cocoa pods. The semi-soft version is soft and a gooey jelly-like texture. African black soaps are called other names such as black soap, Savon noir, Savon beldi or hammam soap in Mediterranean countries, ose dudu in Nigeria and alata Samina, or akoma in Ghana. The version of African black soap made in Ghana is the most popular worldwide but essentially all the different versions of it are more or less the same thing.
All authentic black soaps are only made from oils from plants, water, and potash. The oils used can be olive oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, shea butter, or coconut oil but any botanical oils that saponify with lye can be used to make African black soap. The oils used are always based on what is local. True authentic black soap can not be made from caustic soda like conventional soap, the potash used to make black soap always has to be organic otherwise the black soap is not a true authentic black or African black soap. On saying this, the very popular Moroccan black soap or Hammam soaps are made with potassium hydroxide so they are not traditional black soap.
African black soap is popular because it is testified by many people with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, dandruff, and other dermatitis to help these skin problems when they flare up and in some cases, it even gets rid of the condition permanently. Most people only use it for showering and shampooing hair but there are many ways in which you can use African black soap aside these widely known uses for it.
You can use African black soap for general cleaning in the house by making a solution for mopping, wiping surfaces, and other cleaning jobs around the house. Sometimes, people complain they find African black too harsh on their skin. This is because in some recipes there may be far too much potash used in ratio to oils and there is free lye(excess lye left unsaponified). When black soap is well made, this should not happen at all. Essentially African black soap can be used the same way that you will use any other castile soap. I use it to make a mopping solution for the floor, for wiping the kitchen surfaces such as the worktop and even do laundry with it so these are ways you too can use African black soap.
Liquid African black soap:
Most people prefer to use liquid soap. You can make your own liquid African black soap to use as shampoo or spraying surfaces. When you dilute regular detergent soaps, in many cases you will need to also add preservatives to it to stop it from going off because of the added water. Regular washing up liquid and shower gels are made from synthetic detergents and these have a lower pH which means that it is an environment for bacteria to thrive. Natural soaps made from caustic soda or potash have a high pH which ranges from 9 going up.
This is a highly alkaline base and bacteria will not be able to thrive. This is why when you dilute your African black soap, there is no need to add preservatives or keep it inside a fridge.
FORMULA - sorry, you have to do some weighing here if you want to be a mini scientist.