Traditionally African black soap is a soap made with the ashes of plants (historically palm, shea and other local harvests). The leaves and bark of the trees are dried in the sun and then roasted in a pot. Water and oils are added and stirred. The soap needs to then set for a number of weeks depending on the specific recipe.
Fortunately we don’t have to peel the bark and leaves off trees, dry them out and then roast them in a pot just to get started. Now we can use coconut carbon for the same end product without heading to the woods with an axe.
How To Make African Black Soap
- 9 oz Coconut Oil
- 20 oz Palm Oil
- 3.5 oz Shea Butter
- 0.6 oz Coconut Carbon
- 0.5 – 1.5 oz Fragrance or Essential Oil
- 14 oz Water
Making Lye Solution
Measure COLD water into plastic container (hot water will volcano).
Measure lye into separate container. Then, carefully pour lye into water.
Stir with either rubber, nylon, silicone or stainless steel spatula until lye is dissolved. Make sure to stir well. It is best to do this in well-ventilated room because of smelly fumes.
Place lid on container, mark “LYE – DANGEROUS” & place in an area where it cannot be spilled.
Let lye solution cool until it is below 120 F. (Cooled lye solution with “scum” on top is normal). It is okay to prepare lye solution 1-2 days in advance.
Weigh the oils and butters into stainless steel pot (no enamel because there will be problems if it chips).
Heat between 120 -140 F.
Add cooled lye solution slowly into oils and stir with your spoon for 2 minutes.
You can either add the coconut carbon directly to batch or remove a few ounces of your soap base, add it to a a smaller container & mix in the coconut carbon separately.
Incorporate coconut carbon mixture into to pot.
Blend with a stick blender for about 1 minute.
Occasionally use the spoon to ensure that all solution is incorporated from sides of pot.
Mix until “trace” (like runny pudding).
Saponification & Curing
Pour soap into prepared molds and leave open for 24 hours or until saponified. (If left in a cold room, it can take days to saponify).
Remove from molds and allow to cure for 4-6 weeks.
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