Editor's TipEditor's Tip

For “bacne” sufferers, apply to affected area once daily to scrub away dead skin.

Shea Terra Organics

Birchbox Breakdown

Here’s a quick lesson in skincare history: In West Africa, traditional black soap is made by mixing the ash of local plants and barks with healing oils. Rich in vitamins A and E, it’s become prized by women around the world for its abilities to battle blemishes and the signs of skin aging. This powerful powder is African black soap in its raw form, which, when mixed with water, creates a scrub that gently washes away dead skin. Its raw, organic formula—no harsh chemicals, dyes, or additives—leaves skin clean, rejuvenated, and healthy. The multifunctional formula also calms irritated scalps, clears up acne, and soothes razor bumps.

How it Works

All-natural ingredients including plantain peels, cocoa pods, and tree kernels are roasted in clay ovens, broken down into ash, then packaged into jars. When mixed with water, the powder creates a scrub that dissolves sebum, helping to exfoliate dead skin.

How to Use

The soap comes in pure powder form. Add a spoonful of water to powder to create a paste, then gently massage onto face and body with fingertips. The more water you add, the thinner the paste becomes. Wash away with water. To create shampoo, dilute with water.

Cocoa pod ash, plantain peel ash, locally produced palm kernel oil, camwood bark

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Product Reviews & Sample Feedback

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Face feels clean afterwards!
Purchased

I have sensitive skin and battle with adult acne so I'm always looking for something that is gentle but strong acting. This seems to do the trick and I have to say that I enjoy the ritual of making my own cleanser in my hand with a sprinkle of this powder and some water…but that's also where I took a star away. It's a little messy and if you mix it right when you want to use it, parts of it clump and parts turn watery and it's awkward to apply. I'll have to try what one other reviewer suggested and make a batch the day before to get a uniform consistency. This jar will last FOREVER! The smell is odd but I don't mind it as I feel like I'm already playing in the mud while I'm mixing this up in my hands!

4
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Works wonders on dandruff!
Purchased

I purchased this after my sister-in-law raved about it as a skin cleanser. I used it in the shower on two areas of my scalp that are very dandruff prone and the dandruff was gone after one use! It removes all the "waxiness" on skin but doesn't dry it out. I have tried multiple drugstore brands of dandruff shampoo but nothing seemed to work. This was like a miracle. The smell is definitely "earthy" but it rinses right out, and not at all noticeable after shampooing with regular shampoo. The bonus is that I only use a very small amount for my face and my scalp so this bottle is going to last forever. I only gave it 4 stars because it didn't clear up my adult acne as quickly as I would have liked.

4
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DEF REORDER
Purchased

At first I had a tough time using this and it was strange. The soap is a powder and tough to get out of jar, it also turns everything muddy and brown. I love way my skin feels now and how it has helped with blemishes and discoloration. Wish there was a more user friendly method but still love this product.

4
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Absolute miracle
Purchased

This product comes in a glass jar with a screw top lid. The opening is quite small, so using a spoon to remove the product is a good idea. I ended up dropping and shattering my jar in the shower, so I transferred the remaining product to a tupperware and it was much easier to use. I had heard good things about black African soap and how it does wonders for body acne, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Let me tell you, this stuff is amazing. The texture is very nice, once mixed with water, even if it does tend to get under your nails. The smell won't be everyone's cup of tea - it smells like ash and dirt, but I got used to it and even enjoy it now. A few drops of essential oil would mitigate that if you can't stand the smell, though. The best part is that this stuff works. It heals my body acne rapidly without being drying, and evens out the keratosis pilaris (chicken skin) on my arms. Any small bumps on my chest disappear after using this a couple days in a row in the shower. It's a dream, 10/10 would recommend to anyone who suffers from body acne.

5
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I'm a believer
Purchased

I do believe in the power of this pungent yet viscerally soothing, beautiful soap. It's not easy dealing with late-onset acne like I do, especially on the forehead, but I do tell myself that this soap helps. And I actually really like the smell.
Just a trick: whether you are trying to use this as a soap or a mask, finding the right consistency can be tough. I use a tiny sauce-dish thing to mix the powder with water. Trouble is, if you mix it right before you use it, you are left with painful clumps and a watery, grainy consistency.
My advice is to take maybe two to three teaspoons of the powder in the bowl, and pour just enough water to be able to unclump and mix smoothly (texture should be kind of watery). I leave it on a shelf overnight to use it the next night, and it forms a beautiful pasty, smooth texture.
I leave this paste on my trouble area as a mask until it starts to dry up on my face, and rinse it off with warm water.
This is irrelevant to this soap: but to those of you who struggle with blemishes: after this step I find that it is a good combination to use a honey-cinnamon mask for 20-30 min. The soap is supposed to clean your face of oils and sebum, and the honey mask will restore moisture and annihilate bacteria in the oh-so-hateful bumps on the face.
This in combination with some kind of salicylic acid serum after rinsing off everything, helps (try Evologie Blemish Serum).

5
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Amazing soap
Purchased

I bought this product to deep clean after working out. I agree with other reviewers that it does have a burned smell to it, but it goes away after you wash it off and I don't find it to be offensive. I can definitely see why some people would not like it. Mixing the powder with water definitely gets messy but it also cleans up really easily so I don't see that as much of an issue either. It really does a terrific job of clearing up occasional break outs on my back, better than products with a huge list of ingredients I cannot pronounce. I have not yet tried it on my face. I am really happy with this product and it will definitely last a long time as you don't need much to work up a lather.

5
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high expectations almost met
Purchased

I'd heard about black soap for a long time but never tried it so I was excited to get my hands o some. it wasn't quite the transformation I expected but it was still pretty nice and I only see it getting better the more I use it

4
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Effective Cleanser
Purchased

I actually purchased this cleanser by accident, because I was looking for a charcoal cleanser, was reading too quickly, and there you go. BUT-although this cleanser isn't made with charcoal, it is still very effective. It helps with my adult acne and leaves my skin feeling clean but not tight. The powder format makes it ideal for traveling (no splooges in the suitcase), but a little messy while using (until you get the hang of it). Overall, I would definitely recommend this to a friend--with a warning that the smell may be a bit off-putting. It doesn't bother me at all, but if you can't take the smell of a campfire, you will not like this at all.

1
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It feels funky

It cleaned my face but it didn't feel any different than soap and water. The texture is also really funky and seemed runny.

3
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Great soap!
Purchased

Love this african soap. Lasts forever too because a little goes a long way after adding water. My skin feels fresh and not dried out. The black soap also has a bit of an exfoliation effect too! Love this!

5
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