Wednesday, January 23, 2013

African Lemongrass Black Soap Elixir by Shea Terra Organics

Black soap from Africa.  For someone raised on Dove soap, how exciting!  Now, I haven't used Dove soap as a facial cleanser in quite a while, and have used some almost black in color cleansers that are charcoal based, but this is my first venture into soap made from indigenous African ingredients.

Apparently, not every soap that is labeled "African black soap" is the real deal:
Be cautious of soaps that are labeled as black soap or African black soap, but are manufactured in the United States, Europe, or Asia on a large scale. These soaps are not authentic African black soap. It is important to look at the list of ingredients and make sure they do not contain and cheap oils or fats. Also, determine how the black color was obtained. In some cases charcoal or black dyes are added. The dark color of a true, original black soap is obtained by the lengthy process of saponification. In an industrial setting, it is not economical to use the traditional saponification method, and so black coloring agents are added to get the dark color.  (Source:  African Black Soap Revealed)
I've had good success with Shea Terra products, so that was my first choice when it came to trying a black soap.  The Lemongrass Black Soap Elixir contains Yoruba black soap, derived from cocoa pod ash, plantain peel ash, palm kernel oil, and Camwood bark, and is mixed by the Yoruban tribe in Nigeria.  
So what makes black soap special?  Apparently, it is great for exfoliating the skin as well as eliminating acne causing bacteria.  Since I've got oily, blemish prone skin, this is perfect for me!   Interestingly, the instructions say to leave the soap on your face for 5-10 minutes, which I did not do the first few weeks.  I used it as a cleanser with my Clarasonic, and it worked well in that capacity, but I didn't notice anything particularly different from any other cleanser.  So, I decided to follow the instructions:-)  It's actually pretty easy to apply the liquid soap and then go about my business for a while before using my Clarasonic to loosen the dead skin.

Observations when leaving it on longer:  I can feel my skin tingling in certain areas, and I love the lemongrass scent.   After about 10 days, I cannot say that I see any noticeable differences when leaving it on for 4-5 minutes than I do when using it only as a cleanser, however.  I do like it and at $20 for 8 oz., think it's a good cleanser for my skin type.  I do not find it drying and my skin feels clean but soft afterwards.

Have you tried African black soap?  What did you think?

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.

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