June 22 2020 – Ibironke Jegede
African black soap or black soap is a natural soap originating from West Africa. It is made from the ash of locally harvested African plants such as cocoa pods and dried peels of plantain, which gives the soap its characteristic dark colour. Black soap has become a popular toiletry product in North America due to its benefits on oily and acne-prone skin. In West Africa, black soap is often made by women using traditional recipes and is often exported through fair trade groups. Black soap known as ose-dudu originated from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. A combination of ose-dudu with leaves of the tropical camwood tree (osun) produces a popular kind of soap with exfoliating properties. Another variety of black soap known as ncha nkọta which roughly translates to "soap you can scoop" because of its soft texture originated from the Igbo people of Nigeria. Black soap has been found to have antimicrobial properties against skin microbiota such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. The soap is usually mixed with shea butter or palm kernel oil. The ash from cocoa pod leaves or plantain skin gives the soap its characteristic black or brown color.