Various Types and Features of Soap Used by African Americans

Various Types and Features of Soap Used by African Americans

Quite a few black people use soap for washing and cleaning up. They have been using soap for a relatively longer time than other races and are accustomed to using soap for many different purposes. They wash hair with soap and cleanse their face with soap. They also exfoliate with soap and care for the scalp.
BNB researched what types of soap there are, how to recommend soap to our customers, and what kind of soaps are sold well in retail stores.

Can’t Ignore the Ripple effect in Soap Sales

Gabrielle Jackson is one of the soap enthusiasts. For her, soap is body wash, shampoo, and cleansing foam. She uses soap from the moment she wakes up in the morning and washes her face, to when she washes her hands, or even wind her hair. There are five types of solid soap in her house.
Jackson, who uses soap for all her bubbly duties, goes directly to the leftmost aisle whenever she enters her regular beauty supply store. In the beauty supply store that she often goes to, both shelves are filled with soap in the left aisle. From authentic soaps such as Shea Moisture, to beauty bars such as Dove, solid soaps on both sides attract guests with a variety of scents.

The Beauty Supply store owner of which Jackson often visits says there are many so-called “soap enthusiasts” like Jackson. He said that about 10 to 15 percent of chemical sales come from soap, and that soap will be a steady-seller if you take at least a little care of attracting customers to it.

Shelves full of soap

How does soap erase grime? Mediator between water and oil!

Simply put, soap melts oil on the skin and makes it wash away in running water. Mostly, the grime on our skin and clothes is oily grime, and soap make oil mix with water. Soaps that contain both water and oil components (see Figure 1) use oil components to remove grime from skin or clothing, and then mix it with water to make it wash (see Figure 2).

Figure 1 structure of soap molecules

Figure 2 how grime is washed with soap

According to the strict standards of the United States, a combination of oil and water components(sodium hydroxide)is called soap. The word ‘soap’ cannot be used if there are other cleansing ingredients in it.


Why soap for black people?

First of all, black people in North America have spent quite a long time with soap, both culturally and historically. As black people entered the United States, white people actively distributed and advertised soap as part of their slave policy. At this time, black people were strongly infused with awareness and preference for soap. In the process, black people’s cleaning methods in the past were drawn as non-civilizations that lacked history and civilization, and using soap became considered a kind of duty.
Second, unexpectedly, soap and black skin are a perfect match. It is a culture formed by a horrid history, but in fact, soap and black skin fit well. Often, the biggest drawback of soap is its very strong cleaning power and drying the skin, but black people are relatively free from these drawbacks.

*This is only the average. Individual characteristics may vary from person to person.

As shown in the table, black skin is strong and resilient to external intrusion across all races. Meanwhile, soap has the advantage of being very washable compared to other beauty bars and cleansing foam, but it also has the disadvantage of washing out essential elements on the skin. These two, in fact, have a complementary nature. Black skin, which can withstand a strong cleaning force, is a good complement to the soap’s shortcomings.


What are the Skin Types?

Although, in average, black skin is considered relatively strong and resilient, it should be remembered that people also have different skin traits. In general, skin types are distinguished by the amount of oil and moisture in the skin. The skin type is divided into dry, oily, and complex types. If you want to recommend soap properly, one should first identify whether the customer’s skin is dry, oily, or complex.

People with dry skin maintain normal skin in childhood, but wrinkles form as they get older and their skin dries off quickly. They often suffer from skin pulling, the cause of which is still unclear. Some say it is due to excessive evaporation of moisture, while others claim that it is because the skin itself is not hydrated. Depending on the person, it is divided into dry epidermis, dry dermis, and general dryness. Neglected skin care and excessive irritation can be the main causes. Or, with age, hormonal function is slowed, so sebum cannot be properly secreted, or a lack of estrogen, an essential element of the skin, is often cited as the cause.

People with oily skin are people who consistently have excessive sebum secretion from childhood to adulthood. It is characterized by too much oil on the face, which is easily glossy and have large pores. Due to the excessive oil content, dirt and contaminants easily adhere to the skin, making it easier to contaminate the skin. The color of the skin is not that clear, so it gives a dull impression and the pores are wide that it can be checked with the naked eye. It is not easy to get wrinkles because it is oily, but it has the characteristics of getting thick wrinkles due to its wide pores.

Complex skin has both of these features. It is difficult to recommend the right product because it is not biased. Usually, people with complex skin know soap that is effective for themselves, so it is better to ask the customer first. This type of skin usually releases excess sebum in the T-zone of the face that leads to the forehead, nose, and chin, and most of the time, the cheeks are dry.


What kind of soap?

To understand the type of soap, you must first understand pH. Acidity is generally the strength of the acid that the product contains, typically representing pH concentrations in numbers from 0 to 14. It can be understood that the closer the acidity is to 0, the more acidic it is, and the closer it is to 14, the more alkaline it is.

@ Lotte Fine Chemical

As shown in the table, the stronger alkaline the skin is, the more dry the skin is, and the more acidic the skin is, the more oily the skin is. Human skin usually has an acidity of 4.5 to 6.5. In addition, according to that standard, soap is divided into alkaline soap or mildly acidic soap.

Usually, acne skin’s pH is 7.5, and if the pH of soap is higher, it is considered alkaline soap. (It is a general standard, but there is no official data) Alkaline soap with a high pH and strong cleaning power is suitable for oily skin.

If the most ideal pH of skin is 6.5. If it is the same or lower that this, it is classified as a mildly acidic soap. On the other hand, slightly acidic soaps are suitable for guests with dry skin. Due to its low cleaning power, it is unsuitable for oily skin customers who need to remove oil.


Part 2

The African black soap that’s drawing attention these days

It’s the hottest kind of soap nowadays. Known to originate from West Africa, it is a soap made of harvested plant ash and dried bark. African black soap is perfect for oily skin, so it has a very high preference among black people. It is very effective to soothe acne and various skin problems, and it is also made by adding a variety of ingredients.

Although its an alkaline soap that contains a high pH, its ingredients and manufacturing process are clean and nature friendly, so it is known to have excellent moisture retention. To buy a cleanser that cleanses so well, you have to buy it at a relatively high price in the market, but African black soap is relatively cheaper than them.

Black soap is said to have superior cleaning effect, the essence of soap. In particular, it is most specialized in removing women’s makeup. When you wash your face with regular soap, cosmetics are always left on your face, but with African black soap, it is thoroughly wiped off. This is because Ash and vegetable oil ingredients have a special effect in cleaning chemical components, experts explain.

African black soaps on display at important points in retail stores

African black soap is gaining popularity from consumers as it is a hit, but products released in solid form have a fatal disadvantage that they can easily break down when they touch water. Based on consumer responses, chemical companies are producing soap in various forms such as cream and liquid types.


Hot African Black Soap Products

Something to be careful about when you recommend it!

  • It’s an alkaline soap, so it’s not suitable for guests who have dry skin
  • Since vegetable oil is the main raw material, always consider allergic reactions
  • Use 3-4 times a week rather than daily use
  • Always keep dry and remove broken parts after use
  • African black soap is easily soluble in water, so minimize water contact

Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap Bar
Consumers’ trust in Alaffia is high, which prides itself on making the most traditional African black soaps. It has been hand-crafted for centuries, and it follows only traditional recipes made from unrefined shea butter and palm oil. It is well-known for its ability to clear and soften the skin.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap
Made from palm trees and vegetable oils, it is considered a natural soap based on recipes used in Africa for many years, and has an excellent effect on soothing skin trouble, like acne.

Nubian Heritage African Black Soap
It is another product that is drawing attention from African Black Soap Line. It combines the characteristics of oat, aloe and cocoa pod ash to create an ideal form of soap. It is effective in exfoliating and helps maintain radiant skin.

The Purity African Black Soap
It is one of the best-selling black soaps. It is called the Top 3 along with Nubian and Share Moisture, and is popular with consumers because it is known for being the most natural soap.

Okay African Black Soap
Okay also introduces black soap with various scents such as coconut and peppermint lavender. The traditional Ghanaian method was chosen for the origin of natural raw materials and the method of making soap, and it is known for its softness and effectiveness unique to black soap.

Dudu-osun African Black Soap
It is evaluated that it maintains the originality by using the traditional Nigerian method. Consumer reactions say that it is effective in antibacterial effects, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis, and it is made of shear butter, making it easy for moisturizing and skin control.


Popular Soaps and Recommendations by Function

For oily skin

Something to be careful about when you recommend it!

  • The skin may become dry or sensitive due to its strong alkalinity
  • It contains enzymes that cause wrinkles and sagging, which are vulnerable for dry skin, but effective against acne.
  • Recommend products for light oily skin, such as mild oils or skin toners
  • It is important to wash your face as quickly as possible because it has strong ingredients

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap
Dr. Bronner is proud to produce a soap that can clean not only the body, but also the mind and spirit. Soaps made from a variety of organic oils are popular in the beauty market and are often used for the face, body, and hair.

Nadinola Deluxe Soap
Nadinola’s Deluxe Soap, which is made of coconut oil and provides proper nutrition for people with oily skin, is also a steady seller in the market. It lathers well, and is very effective in removing grease and cosmetics.

Olay Outlast Ultra Moisture Shea Butter Beauty Bar
This product is specialized for oily skin and shows smoother and cleaner cleaning power than regular soap. It paid more attention to moisturizing effects than other alkaline soaps, and has been receiving positive reviews from consumers for its creamy use and cozy feeling.

Palmer’s Skin Success Eventone Medicated Anti-Acne Complexion Soap Bar
It is soap that is closer to acne treatment drugs. It has the ability to almost completely remove wastes blocking pores and has excellent antibacterial effects to prevent invasion of bacteria or harmful germs. It promotes skin regeneration and is even better when used with coconut oil or olive oil that is compatible with it.

For dry skin

Something to be careful about when you recommend it!

  • It’s not as refreshing as it’s still slippery, but remember it’s very moisturizing
  • Less effective in removing makeup or oily, but gives sufficient nutrition for the skin
  • Recommend products to be used together after cleansing, such as moisturizing creams and oils
  • It is important to wash your face slowly with warm water for 5 to 10 minutes

Ambi Cocoa Butter Cleansing Bar
Ambi’s cleansing bar, which has become the epitome of mild soap, has an excellent effect on providing moisturizing beyond cleansing and rearranging skin tone. Rich in cocoa butter, it provides smooth and soft skin. The creamy texture has received high ratings from buyers.

Black and White Genuine Skin Soap
It is a product that is very loved in the market due to its good cost-effectiveness. It is usually known to have an excellent effect on removing pimples or blackheads, and is suitable for washing not only the face but also the body and hands. It is also effective in soothing skin diseases such as itchiness and eczema.

Sunaroma Goat’s Milk Nourishing body Bar
It is an ambitious work of Sunroma, which is oriented towards natural soap. It is literally made from goat’s milk and is rated as having soft texture and quickly absorbed by the skin. It has shea butter and honey which are effective in exfoliating and regenerating skin.

Shea Moisture Olive & Green Tea Shea Butter Soap
Organic shea butter and vitamin-rich olives and green tea are used to hydrate people with dry skin. Antioxidant-rich green tea extract helps skin to breathe and protect the skin, while preventing it from aging.


For whitening

Whitening soaps have an attractive selling point of the skin whitening while using soaps. However, special attention is needed when recommending or ordering whitening products. This is because about 12% of whitening products in the United States contain mercury. The FDA recommends that whitening products should contain less than 1 ppm of mercury, as excess mercury can result in serious side effects such as nerve palsy and headaches. The seller must know this and pay attention to warn the customer when purchasing.

Something to be careful about when you recommend it!

  • Recall that it is better to separate whitening soaps for face and body
  • Should be used steadily for 8 to 12 weeks to have a whitening effect
  • Make sure if ‘Mercury’ or the mercury chemical symbol ‘Hg’ is written, and if so, check if less than 1 ppm is specified.

Carrot Glow Purifying Soap With Carrot
Carrots are known to have a special effect on anti-aging effects. Known for its anti-aging and excellent cleansing, Carrot Glow’s carrot soap is a popular product among whitening soaps. Ingredients are closer to alkaline.

Civic Lightening Soap
With natural ingredients, civic lightening soap has great control over skin troubles. It is very popular with consumers by properly supplying nutrients, brightening the skin. Rich in vitamins A and E, it also works to remove acne, eczema, and freckles.

Koji White Kojic Acid & Vitamin C Skin Brightening Soap
Known for its formula containing vitamin C, it is well-known to consumers for its excellent moisturizing and maintaining radiant skin. It not only brightens the complexion by gently improving the glow, but it is also effective for acne and skin regeneration.


Cover Story BY Ingyun Jeong