Africana skincare prides itself in going to the source of things. We connect with the local people directly (no intermediaries) and learn from them.  We want to transmit this knowledge onto our customers because it is really important for us that when buying our product you know WHO makes it, HOW it is made and WHERE it comes from.

African black soap has been used for centuries in West African countries. It originates with the Yoruba people in Nigeria and Yoruba communities in Benin and Togo. In Yoruba language black soap is ose (soap) and dudu (black).

With time, its use spread throughout many other West African countries and nowadays is sold worldwide because of the amazing benefits it has.

The base ingredients of black soap are: potash and a fruit derived oil, this can be palm kernel oil or coconut oil for example. You are then free to add any other ingredients to it, such as shea butter for example which is specially great for those people with dry skin because it helps by adding a moisturising effect to it.

Step by step making of African black soap

We can differentiate two different techniques of black soap making. One produces a slightly harsher soap that the other. The difference is in the pounding. One technique integrates the pounding of the soap after it is taken off the fire whilst the other doesn’t.

Let’s have a look at the first technique.

The palm kernel oil is heated on fire wood for approximately 10-15min. Then the potash is added gradually to the oil (potash is a mixture of dry cocoa pod husk with water – see picture below). It is important to mention that adding the potash to the palm kernel oil has to be done with a specific technique (you cannot just pour it into the pot). The mixture becomes powerful and can splash and cause harsh burning on the skin.

Dry cocoa pod husk

This is then left on the fire wood for approximately 30 minutes. It is then taken off the fire and put into another container for it to cool down (the first few seconds it starts rising quickly, just like a cake!). Once it has cooled down, the women start moulding it into a ball shape (all kind of sizes), and that is it, it is ready for packaging and sale!

Alternative technique

As mentioned previously, this technique produces a less “harsh” black soap, thanks to the integration of pounding. Once the mixture of potash and palm kernel oil has been left for approximately 30min on the fire wood, instead of being left to cool off, it is pounded for another 30 minutes. When the pounding is complete, it is put onto fire wood again (at a very low fire) and is left there for some hours.

The pounding and slow fire cooking produces a less harsh soap as well as changing the colour of the soap to a black colour, whilst the technique without the pounding produces a whitish soap.

Africana skincare bring the best of African natural ingredients to your skin. You do not need to look any further away from nature to find what your skin needs!

Please watch our video to see visually the production of the African black soap!