Black soap is a traditional African recipe, and the ingredient proportions vary by region. While you can find the ingredients for African black soap in most countries, it is predominantly made and used in Western Africa. To make the soap, burn the ingredients (palm leaves, bark and other plant material), then combine the ashes with coconut oil or shea butter. The soap can be used for a multitude of purposes, including to reduce wrinkles, alleviate itchy scalps and cure acne.

Things You'll Need

Break your bar of black soap into several pieces. Black soap should not be exposed to excess water; it will last longer if you use individual pieces for separate uses. The crumbly soap should break apart fairly easily.

Moisten the soap by wetting your hands, then rubbing the soap between them. This will make the soap “firm up” and hold together better. Do not run the water over the soap.

Wash your hair and scalp with the soap. Do not run the actual soap through your hair, as it will cause the ends to split and break. Instead, lather your hands with the soap using warm water, then wash your hair with the lather. Work the lather through your hair and massage your scalp to ease itching and flaking. Rinse your hair with water.

Cleanse your face. Use lukewarm water to produce a lather on your hands. Smooth the lather over your face. Use your hands or a washcloth, but do not scrub your face. The black soap will clear your complexion without exfoliation.

Create a black soap face mask. Let a chunk of black soap sit in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes. This will turn the soap to mush, so do not plan on reusing it for anything other than a face mask. Pour out the excess water and combine the soap mush with honey until you have a sticky, gray mask. Apply the mask to your face once daily for accelerated skin clearing.


  • Always make sure that your black soap has no artificial coloring. Dark-colored soaps often lack the natural ingredients needed to give you the greatest benefits.