Well maybe it's a bit soon to rave about this soap since I've only used it twice but... it's wonderful! I ordered it on eBay for $7.50/8oz. and was anxious for it to arrive since my skin was out of control. So finally it arrived and I balled up some soap to gave it a try. It was a medium brown shade, soft and crumbly, smelled a little "smoky", sounds funny I know but I definitely noticed a roasted scent. Anyhow, I lathered it up and applied to my hands first, the lather felt creamy smooth and rinsed off completely with no oily residue... Then I applied it to my face to remove all my makeup and it stung a tad, I felt the sting a little more intense after I washed my face the second time. Even more so after I applied moisturizer! But the stinging faded and I went to bed... So I woke up this morning and quickly ran to check out my skin.... My face looked a little red BUT my breakout was almost completely cleared! Needless to say, I'm thrilled :) I can see this as my "go to" soap whenever my skin goes crazy and breaks out like mad... Funny, I was researching "Coalface" soap by Lush and the concept is essentially the same except this soap is completely natural!
I've been slowly turning to more natural products and, after a bit of research, decided this sounded like a good option for my sensitive, easily broken out (annoying) skin. So far so good! It gives me a proper 'clean' feeling which is essential for me but doesn't leave my skin totally dried out. I also like to gently exfoliate a few times a week and always follow up with a moisturizer (shea butter and aloe cream at the moment). I should also mention that I've upped my water drinking quota which can't hurt so it might not only be this soap but generally my skin's been pretty happy lately.
About me: Oily, acne-prone, subtype II rosacea, extremely sensitive to most things.
I was in a desperate state when I purchased this soap. My skin was breaking out in huge, painful cysts, extremely red and irritated and overly oily. I had been using Dove bar soap for sensitive skin for months with great results until everything sort of hit all at once. I'm not sure if I should attribute any of that to the Dove soap, but seeing that it does contain all sorts of chemicals, it just may be the culprit.
Anyway, back to this amazing soap. The very first time I used this, I honestly noticed a difference in my skin's texture the next morning. It was tighter, brighter and most of the tiny whiteheads had completely disappeared. Nothing has ever made my skin improve so quickly! I also had this huge, disgusting pimple on my cheek and this soap made it scab over and turn a reddish-black color. It took a few days, but it finally fell off and the spot is fading. I've been using this soap for a a few weeks now and it's been amazing. My rosacea hasn't flared at all (the redness is just GONE) and if I get any pimples, they're very small and go away quickly. NO new cysts. It does dry out my skin a bit, so moisturizer is absolutely necessary. If not, my forehead develops those tiny telltale bumps. I will update again when necessary.
UPDATE 9/11/09: Okay, so this stuff is definitely overkill when used every day. It will start irritating my skin if I use it consistently, but when my face is breaking out, I'll use it for a few days and then switch back to a normal gentle cleanser. It's really helpful during breakouts and especially TTOTM.
UPDATE: 1/24/11 So, I decided to try this again after Cetaphil moisturizing lotion turned my skin into a hot mess. I used it for a few days, but my skin seemed more irritated and rough after I used it. I don't think I'll be attempting to use it again. Oh, and I saw a video on youtube about using it as a shampoo. BIG mistake. First, it didn't even feel like it cleaned my hair at all. It just made it feel dry and dirty at the same time. Yuck! I think I'm going to be throwing the rest of my bar away.
I decided to give this a try late 2008. I was desperate to even out my complexion (still am!) and I heard many good things about this soap. I liked the fact that it is really a natural/organic soap. Within two weeks my bf told me my skin looked more even and maybe about a month later, I had a glow. A summer glow in the dead of winter. LOL. This soap can possibly dry out your skin, it does when I first begin to use it each and every time and then my skin adjusts. It deep cleans tremendously. It takes off every bit of dirt, makeup and oil. There a times when I think it leaves a slight film and for that I use a gentle toner. I moisturize or put on my nightly treatment afterwards. I don't end up dry, irritated, or oily after using this soap. This soap helps with acne marks/scars. pore size, breakouts, irritation, and skin imbalances. Very nice. Highly recommended.
I have milia and a few very large pores, as well as numerous skin tags. This soap, which I got from Coastal Scents, has been incredible for sloughing off all the ick. Yes, it can be drying but I find that using it daily - but very lightly -, followed by olive-based squalane, tamps down the dryness factor. I'd given up hope with one ginormous pore that always sort of scabbed over a bit (from a bit of gravel - the gravel came out but the pore never closed up). 3 mos using this soap and the pore is finally closing up! Milia don't stand a chance!
I will buy this forever.
yes..yes,ABS is AWESOME!!
it works almost like miracle!!!my never ending praises to the Black african soap,I wish I knew it from longtime ago!!I ordered it from scotiafairtrade.com.they imported from a supplier in Togo(Agbanga Karite).
for a couple months I have suffered from crazy pimples,bumbs everywhere,and I hated my face,but then I took a chance to try ABS after reading lot of sources from internet..My God..it worked like a magic,only 4 times using it all the nasty pimples & bumps were dried then gone..it felt like mumbo jumbo..but it's true.I'm very optimistic by the end of this week my face will all clear and I believe it'll be much much Better than Before.I keep using this,forever and the day!!
I did like this while it lasted. I am caucasian female w/ combo/sensitive skin and I neither found this too be drying or too moisturizing...just right. My skin felt clean and soft. The scent is something that you grow to like (a little earthy...remember, there is no fragrance added!)
The color/texture also take getting used to. I have a Nigerian friend and she just calls it dudu, which means black, but has a whole other connotation for us Americans, haha :) It is brown and lumpy and soft. Moldable into bars/balls.
My only complaint, the only reason I took a lippie off, is because it will not hold up in the shower. I kept it high on a shelf in the shower (at the very back, away from all water) but the moisture in the air, I guess, still causes it to get gooey-er and gooey-er...
Used it on body and face with no probs. Found it best rubbed w/ a shower sponge and then it formed lather....a little goes a long way. Try it, expand your horizons. There is something to be said for indigenous knowledge that is passed down from generations!
I bought real African Black soap from agbangakarite.com and it's great. It's not in block form but is a soft soap. I just take a piece off (a little goes a long way) and rub it in my palm with a little water. Makes great lather. Then apply it to my face, rub around then rinse. I also use it for hair shampoo. This soap is definitely not oily. I follow the rinse with a little bit of 100% unrefined shea butter which I also bought from agbangakarite. The shea butter is best used in small quantities (a little goes a long way) and rub it in your palm until slightly melted then apply. 100% unrefined shea butter can be used by all skin types because it is non-comedogenic. Makes a great all over the body moisturizer. These products together work great and I highly recommend them. Also, if you do use it (black soap), you need to keep it stored in a container or it will absorb the moisture from the air and get mushy. The piece that I have in the bathroom, I keep in a small Glad plastic container.
Update 5/26/09: This soap is still working great. I find that for shampooing it works better if I dilute it in a little bit of water for a few hours to make a liquid soap (see my notepad). Then I just pour it on my head like regular shampoo. I follow with a 50/50 ACV/water rinse and it leaves my hair soft and clean. No more store bought shampoo for me. :)
i asked a friend of mine who is african where i could find some REAL african black soap. he told me to go one of the african shops at the local flea market. i did that and came across several african shops that had big bowls of this soap just sitting out unwrapped, which cant be very sanitary. each time i inquired,i was assured that it was real,natural black soap that came from africa. i ended up buying a bar from a guy who at least taken the time to wrap the bars. i cant really tell you how well it works because i only used it once. first thing i noticed is that my zits had turned to bloody sores and were oozing and looked worse. which tells me that this soap is harsh. a few hours after i washed my face with it, i looked in the mirror and my face was just drenched in oil.i mean you could fry some chicken on my face. it was quite embarrassing. my make up was sliding off and i looked hideous. all throughout the day i had to keep blotting and touching up my makeup. i also tried some other black soaps from whole foods & the local herb shops and those also made me extemely oily.so the soaps went in the trash. one thing i know for sure is that real shea butter is extremely greasy and is equivalent to crisco. so pehaps thats why the soaps were so greasy because a lot of people add shea butter to the soap. at any rate- black soap is definitely not for me. maybe someone with dry skin would benefit better from this soap.
Sarahandj did such a great job! I am not going to try to over do that review! If you are really wanting to try African Black Soap, look around for the best authentic African black soap. You do not want to be spending more money than you have to on a little block of soap. It is also important that its really form African so you are getting the real thing (you will not have to worry about dyes and other unnatural ingredients). Make sure that the place/person you are buying it from is Fair Trade seller, this ensures that the families and tribes that are making this soap, are receiving the pay they deserve. Over all I LOVE THIS SOAP I love everything about it! the smell, the look. I love how it gets my face cleaned up after a long day and doesn't leave me dry but moisturized (and I don't mean oily)! The perfect cleanser!
*update can be drying in the winter. I only use this during the summer months