6 Authentic African Black Soap Criteria to Guide Your Purchase

African black soap is becoming popular among skincare enthusiasts in the United States for its organic and deep moisturizing properties. However, the increase in popularity has also increased in substandard production quality of the soap. Due to it being in demand, there is a need to know authentic African black soap from other types to get the value-worth of the soap.

I shared all that there is to know about African black soap in a previous post. And now, before you think of buying your own African black soap, you have to be able to identify an authentic African black soap.

Knowing you are buying the real deal for black soaps is a way to stay rest assured that you will get the worth of the soap. I mean, what’s the point of buying soap to help get rid of skin imperfections and conditions, but instead, causes more harm than good?

This is why I have put a list of criteria an authentic black soap should have before you buy. This list of criteria will guide you when you want to purchase your soap from any brand.

Authentic African Black Soap Criteria

black woman clear skin

African black soap is unique in that the formula is dependent on the manufacturer. The formula varies, but there are still common ingredients. The varying formula is what makes it hard for some to tell the difference between an authentic African black soap and a fake one. However, to guide you through the right path, these criteria will help you identify the right soap anywhere.

1. African black soap is natural

This is a criterion that should not be compromised. African black soaps are made from few natural ingredients through a natural process of saponification. It does not contain any chemicals or additives that would reduce its efficacy.

African black soap is made from plantain skin, cocoa pod, and palm kernel ash. Then it is heated with other natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, palm oil, and other special ingredients. This results in a very natural and organic process.

Also, African black soap is not made with any superficial chemical, especially lye. Lye is what makes soap. And an authentic African black soap has its natural lye provided by the ash.

The natural ingredients undiluted with chemicals and preservatives are what make the soap rich, powerful, effective, and different. The deep cleansing soap should be free of parabens and sulfate, which preserves soap and makes it lather.

2. It lathers easily

Another way to tell an authentic African black soap is its ability to lather easily. African black soaps are known to melt effortlessly. You only need a small portion to make enough lather for your body. This is also the reason why African black soaps are cut in pieces. Because if you expose the whole lump or bar to water, it would melt easily.

African soaps can lather easily without chemicals like sulfate. This is why you need to read the ingredients list of your black soap before buying.

3. It is marble-colored

Contrary to what people think about African black soaps named after their color, they are not. African black soap is not black in color. They are marble-colored with flecks of black, brown, and grey. The color is from the roasted plants, shea butter, and oil.

There are often black soaps colors close to black, but they will have little splashes of brown or grey. So, there is never a uniform color for an authentic African black soap.

The color difference is also a product of what ingredients and the process of making the soap. For instance, the longer plantain skin is sun-dried, the darker the soap will become. This also includes adding ingredients like shea butter that is greyish-yellow hue. Or cocoa powder that is dark in color.

black soap

4. It is breakable

The texture of an African black soap is soft and crumbly, even when in bar form. This is because no hardening agent was added to it. Also, its breakable feature makes it easy to melt. Usually, the texture is gooey and moldable. Hence, for raw African black soaps, you can mold the shape into whatever you want. Even in bar form, the shape is not static, it can be cut and reshaped.

When buying authentic African black soap, you have to make sure it is soft textured and easy on the hands. Also, African black soap can become hard when exposed to air, which is why you have to keep it covered and far away from water and air.

Furthermore, authentic African soap is not smooth or polished. It is rough to the hands, even after contact with water. This is evident even in bar soap form. And liquid African black soap is also not smooth-formed. There are fragments in the liquid.

5. It has an earthy scent

Unless an essential oil is added to it, authentic African black soap does not have fragrance. Rather the soap gives off an earthy scent. Sometimes, it could give off a chocolate scent due to the cocoa pod ingredient. Therefore, when you buy an African black soap, it must not have an artificial fragrance or aroma, neither should it have preservatives, dyes, or colorings.

6. Fair trade

Some of the ingredients used in making an African black soap are imported. Sometimes, brands buy the raw form, add their own ingredients, remold the soap, package, and resell. There has to be a fair trade production exchange that pays the first manufacturers at a good rate.

The brands you are interested in should support fair trade, especially if they are getting an already finished soap from producers from West Africa.

Read: Facts on Organic Foods

Authentic African Black Soap FAQs


What is authentic African black soap?

African black soap is a natural soap made for deep cleansing the skin and also treating skin-related conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis. It is a soap that originated from West Africa and has existed for generations. The soap is known for its deep exfoliating properties. Also, it is known for keeping the skin smooth, fresh, and evening out your skin tone.

The soap is made from roasted or sun-dried plantain skin, cocoa pod or powder, shea butter, palm kernel oil and palm oil, coconut oil, and others. African black soap is unique because there is no uniform ingredient, but the ones listed here are the common and basic ingredients.

Why do I need an authentic African black soap?

You can gain a lot from using African black soap but the most common benefits are highlighted below:

  • The soap reduces acne.
  • It treats skin conditions like eczema, dry skin, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines.
  • It evens out your skin tone.
  • African black soap soothes the skin and works well on all skin types.
  • It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • It keeps the skin moisturized.

How do I buy authentic African black soap?

You can buy authentic African black soap from a trusted and well-known source. If you are shopping online, you can buy from known online or e-commerce platforms. Also, you buy from the brand’s website or online store.

Before buying online, it is recommended you read customer reviews of the product or brand to know if they are trusted and reliable. Reviews are goldmine information because they answer questions you might have or information on what troubles you about the product.

For instance, you could find if the soap has a particular recurring side effect with more than a few customers. Or if their finishing is not clean and debris and dirt can be found in the soap. You could also learn how fast skins show signs of the result. What you can learn from reviews is endless.

black woman clear skin

Are African black soap expensive?

No, they are not. When you are ready to buy your African black soap, you have to consider what you are going for. For instance, a bar of African soap ranges from $5 – $12. A bottle of liquid black soap could be as high as $20 for an average bottle. It depends on what you want.

Also, the sizes of the soap and how many in a pack will determine the price. A 4-pack African black soap could cost between 20 to 25 dollars. And a tub of black soap of 10lbs could cost almost $40. So, the size you are buying determines how much you will be spending on your soap. But in all, black soaps won’t shred your wallet to pieces. They are inexpensive.


African Black soap is becoming a popular product in the skincare market, which is why there has been a proliferation of substandard products. Telling an authentic African black soap from a substandard one is essential if you want to get your money’s worth. Also, if you want to get the benefits of the soap, you have to buy the real deal.

This is why you should know that black soaps don’t have a fragrance, neither are they really black nor hard. However, authentic African black soap is 100% percent natural and good for the skin.

If you are browsing the internet for your next African black soap, buy from a trusted source and read reviews from previous customers. African black soap is great for skin health. And you can only get the best one if you buy the real one.

Africana Fashion provides skincare articles to help improve your lifestyle and wellness.