Have you heard of African Black soap? I hadn’t but it seems it is the greatest thing since sliced bread! By the way, I am not being racist, as my daughter accused me, the soap originates in Africa and the ingredients make it black therefore, African Black Soap!
Brief history of African Black Soap: Traditional African Black Soap is an all-natural soap made in Ghana, West Africa, and Nigeria. It is can be referred to as Anago Soap, Alata Soap, or Ose Dudu in some regions. The soap consists of roasted cocoa (chocolate) pods, plantain skin, and palm oil from coconut husks. (The plantain is a rich source of vitamins A & E and iron.) Black Soap benefits the very young and the elderly, or anyone with tender skin. Black Soap is known for its quality antiseptic properties and for its gentleness.
Benefits of African Black Soap: Authentic African Black Soap is centuries old and has numerous benefits. African Black Soap is used in its raw form for the face, body, and hair. For centuries, Africans have used Black Soap to help relieve blemishes, oily skin, and skin irritations and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Many use this natural soap for bathing, washing their hair, and removing make-up. Black Soap is so highly thought of, it is has been used in African spiritual purifications. Different regions make their own variations of Black Soap and the recipes are highly guarded. Its methods and secrets are passed down from generation to generation to keep the soap close to Mother Nature and to avoid exploitation & imitations. The authentic African Black Soap is not the mass produced imitation African Black Soap in packaged boxes often found in markets.
Sounds like a wonder soap doesn’t it? Well after reading all the research I thought I needed to get in on the action! So last night I attempted my first batch of Hot Process African Black inspired soap!
Hot process soap is very different from what I normally do so the whole thing was a little nerve racking! Prior to last night I bought plantains and peeled them and dried the peels and roasted them in my oven. Now traditional black soap takes the plantain skins and burns them and then takes the ashes to make lye for the soap. (Don’t believe anything you read that says black soap doesn’t contain lye. The only reason it doesn’t contain lye is that the lye is used up when the chemical reaction takes place between it and the oils and makes soap!)
They also take cacao pods and roast them to put in the soap. Cacao trees are where we get cocoa beans. Not having a cacao tree nearby I opted for the next best thing, cocoa nibs! Cocoa nibs are what is ground to make cocoa!
So far I am cooking with gas! Not literally but you knew that! So ingredient list so far is: Plantain skins roasted and dried and ground into a powder, cocoa nibs roasted and ground into a powder, shea butter, palm kernal oil, and a little cocoa butter. Since goats milk is my thing I opted to add goats milk to the ingredient list as my liquid of choice. I mean, could you possibly imagine a African Black soap without Sophia? Heavens NO!
While I milked Sophia last night I placed my oils and butters in my crock pot on low to melt. When I finished with Sophia I came in and measured the fresh milk for the recipe and dissolved the lye in it. I then added the milk/lye solution to the melted oils in my crock pot and blended until the mixture came to trace. Then I placed the lid on it and crossed my fingers! The mixture bubbles and changed color and worked it’s magic! After a while I stirred and let it cook some more. And I prayed a lot! Once the mixture finally gelled it was ready for more fun! I had mixed the cocoa nibs with the plantain powder and the additional shea butter a couple of days ago to let it steep so now I added it to the cooked soap in the crock pot, mixed well and then cooked it 30 more mins.
I was seriously worried I was doing something wrong so I kept sending pics to fellow soapers for their opinion! After 30 mins the whole thing went into my mold except one piece the size of a nickel. Why that one piece? Well with hot process the soap is usable right away! My usual cold process has to wait 6 weeks to be usable. Once the nickel sized piece was cool I put it to the test…and it lathered!!!! Beautiful tan bubbles! I did it! I made my own version of black African soap with goats milk! Only 4 bars are available at the show at the Max Canada on August 17th, come by and get yours!