Black soap commonly known, as Dudu-Osun, is a type of soap made in West Africa. Black soap has a long history in Africa, and although rumored to have originated from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and then spread to other parts of West Africa, through pepper traders, the method of making it might originally come from Syria where it is called ‘savon beldi’ also meaning black soap.

African black soap tends to range from a beige caramel to a dark brown or black color as different versions are made across the continent, such as amonkye/ alata as traditionally known in Ghana or Beldi in Morocco, which is made from olives. Black soap is also made in Ethiopia, Mali and in Ivory Coast.

Made from plant-based ashes such as the ashes of plantain skin, cocoa pods or palm leaves and nourishing ingredients such as coconut oil, cocao or shea butter and essential oils, black soap has many benefits. It will brighten your skin, reduce acne, even out your skin tone, reduce scarring and help to fade stretch marks. It’s high in vitamin A and E, which help to improve the texture and tone of skin as well as stimulate collagen production. It’s also a great deep level cleanser and exfoliator and its antibacterial properties will help to keep spots at bay.

Black soap can be used as shampoo for your hair, as a cleanser for your face and body, and as a face mask for acne prone skin, although, it can be harsh on the face for those with sensitive skin.

Here are some reviews on some of the blacks soaps we’ve tried:

Fig Brightening Black Soap with Turmeric (Egg and Coconut Oil Free) (4/5)

This might not smell great, but then again it’s black soap. This soap works amazingly for your face and is a very good soap for your body. It is everything that that Fig says it is. It will even out your skin tone, brighten the skin on your face and reduce scarring and discolouration. It didn’t quite help with getting rid of spots, but it certainly made one’s skin glow. This comes in a big tub that lasts for a few months making it a great value for your money. N5000 / 700g

Namaste Organics Rosemary and Ylang Ylang Conditioning Hair and Body Wash (4/5)

This black soap is as great for your hair as the Fig black soap is for your face. It is cleansing without being overly drying. It feels and smells great and leaves your hair feeling squeaky clean and soft. Made with rosemary and ylang-ylang oil this soap both conditions your hair and helps to stimulate hair growth. It can also be used as body wash and will last for a good amount of time. N3500 / 400g

Namaste Organics Liquid Black Soap (3/5)

Namaste’s liquid black soap is a great body wash for your skin. The deep cleansing action of their liquid soap will have the skin on your body looking clear and it also helps to fade scars and blemishes. Their Papaya Seed Extract, Sweet Orange and Patchouli and Oil liquid black soap smells really good. One of the things we love about Namaste Organics is their ingredients and the look and feel of their products. They’ve really transformed the user experience of using traditional black soap. We gave this three stars because the consistency of their liquid soap isn’t the best, but otherwise, it’s really still a pretty good soap to buy. N3500 / 400g

R & R Black Soap (3/5)

R&R’s black soap is probably the simplest out of the black soaps we’ve tried and also the mildest. It is made with shea butter and coconut oil, which help to moisturize your skin. This is a good black soap for those with sensitive skin. It makes your skin brighter and definitely evens out your skin tone both on your face and your body. N1250 / 250ml

Honeypot Nigeria Turmeric Liquid Black Soap (3/5)

This soap is full of surprises. It’s a slightly more caramel / dark brown color due to the amount of turmeric in it and will turn orange once you lather it up. Use with a dark sponge or mitt as it will stain them if they are light in color. This liquid black soap may not have the efficacy of the others, but it has a beautiful color and a lovely consistency. N1500/150ml