A Review of African Black Soap as Shampoo

This week, I stumbled on a question on one of the many healthy lifestyle e-forums about whether or not it is safe to use African Black soap to wash one’s hair. Personally, I have used this soap to wash my hair a countless number of times & I had the same question on my mind too. In the search for a healthier lifestyle, we hear a lot of recommendations especially one that says that when something is natural, it is safe. This is not always the case. I have seen countless recipes of bananas, avocados, eggs, etc to make hair masks, deep conditioners & more. When it comes to shampooing our hair, we have been told that using shampoos with sulfates can strip our hair of its natural oils. With this, a lot of people have opted to use a natural way to clean the hair, hence the use of African black soap as shampoo.

What is African Black Soap?
The phrase “black soap” is gotten from the direct translation of the name of the soap in the Yoruba language, “ose dudu”. It is made from a combination of plantain skins, palm leaves, shea butter nuts & more.

According to Aguh,C & Ginete O., it can be made from the ash of local plants like roasted cocoa pods or dried palm kernels. African Black soap is rich in a lot of nutrients.

According to this source, it contains:

…..vitamins A and E, Polyphenols, Antioxidants and Major fatty acids (Lauric, Myristic, Cinnamic, Oleic, Palmitic, Stearic, Linoleic and Arachidic acids respectively)

How good is it for the hair?
This is where it gets a bit dicey. According to this source, black soap is good for the hair for the following reasons:

The presence of Shea butter in the soap makes it an incredible moisturizer. You do not have to buy an expensive shampoo that may not ultimately help you. Black soap also contains natural saponins that make hair smooth and thicker.

Many of the herbs used in making black soap contain magnesium which is very essential in preventing hair breakages, soothes hair roots, adds luster and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Cocoa leaves used in the manufacture of black soap are a great remedy for oily hair. It improves hair conditioning and soothes an irritated scalp, thereby improving hydration and repairing hair

In spite of these benefits, they are some warnings for the usage of African black soap as shampoo. According to Natural Hair Queen, because of the alkaline nature of black soap, you will need to rinse your hair with diluted apple cider vinegar(ACV) after your final rinse on wash day, This helps to add some acidity & regulate the PH of your scalp.

Personally, I discovered I experienced dryness whenever I used black soap frequently for a month even after doing an ACV rinse. Hence, I resorted to using African black soap as shampoo only when I feel like my hair has a lot of build-up. It works for my hair & scalp for clarifying.

What was your experience with using African black soap for your hair?



Feature image is not a picture of African black soap

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