Monday, May 20, 2013

Raw African Black Soap is Unscented

My Search for Unscented Products Continues

In my search for unscented products, I stumbled upon raw African black soap at Sola's African & Carribean Food Markets in the San Fernando Valley on Sepulveda Blvd.  At first glance, this product appeared moldy.  I didn't know what to make of it or its composition and hesitated to purchase so I sought more information.  Most importantly, I had verify that it did not contain soybeans or fragrance.  

For more information, I went to YouTube and found the video "De-mystifying African Black Soap" by Duchess Gabrielle.  Gabrielle explained how the product is processed and generally what it contains.  I say "generally" as she explained, depending what on the region African the soap is derived, some of the ingredients could vary.  Mainly the soap contains plantain, cocoa ashes, palm oil, and shea butter.

Additionally, I found that this soap was easy to liquefy as I was looking for an alternative soap for my hand soap dispensers.  Previously, I used Method Home (free of dyes and perfumes) liquid soap.  However, I did not like the sodium lauryl sulfate in the their product as it dried my hands.  

How I Liquefy

What I do to liquefy the African black soap is to break it off into pieces (or you can grate).  Next, I add room temperature distilled water to a container.  I then place the soap pieces in the container and after approximately 30 minutes, the soap is liquefied.  You can shake the container or stir the ingredients.  I have seen other YouTubers boil the water, add glycerin, but for me, just adding to the distilled water was sufficient.  I found that with the African black soap it did not dry my hands as they Method home products.  I now use it to cleanse my face and have noticed smoother skin, less acne and it has lightened facial dark blemishes.  I don't particularly like it as a shampoo, but I may rethink and try it again. 

Does it Have an Odor?
Remember, I need unscented.  I definite must for me is that a product be free of perfumes, fragrance and dyes especially if I use around the facial area. As for the odor, the African black soap is free of perfumes and fragrances.  I detect the odor of the ingredients to be herbal or earthy.  With the African black soap, I do not have any reaction of symptoms as I would with a product that has fragrance or chemicals.

Many companies now are marketing the African black soap in liquified form.  I saw one such company, Alaffia, (see photo) at the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim.  This company, though, added an essential oil, which made the soap completely unusable for me.  The citrus essential oil odor invoked a headache and nausea.

It seems that many companies are quick to commercialize certain ingredients as many people continue to search for natural or organic products.  For more than 8 months or so, since my purchase at Sola's African Market, I have been using the African black soap in this unscented form.  Additionally, in this way, I can use it for other unscented uses and it is more economical.  My next use for the soap will be as a sugar scrub to exfoliate my skin along with coconut sugar.

Where Can You Find?
First of all, I would check to see if there is an African market in your area.  Secondly, you can check Amazon or Etsy.  

This is another item that will aid you in becoming savvy and scent free.  When you use it, I would love to know your thoughts and leave a comment below? 


  1. Great review! I've been wondering about African soap and read about the earthy odour so I wasn't sure if it was tolerable or not. Does the odour stick around on skin/hair after you have used it?

    1. No I really don't detect much... and whatever it is dissipates quickly, but not the one by Alaffia. I can not have that one above my neck, so hair and face are out. I actually gave that one to someone else that doesn't have fragrance issues.

    2. Good to know! I like the idea of liquifying it. I too had skin issues using the Method Free & Clear, this sounds like a better natural solution.