African black soap

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by beautifulbay, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Sep 27, 2009 #1

    beautifulbay

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    I'm looking into how to make african black soap. I've read the directions a few times. It seems a little on the complicated side, but not too much.

    I just feel a little anxious about doing it.

    Anyone make it before? Did you have much luck your first time? How do you go about burning the plantains and coconut hulls??

    Anyway, its a nice soap, I've used it before and would really like to make some.
     
  2. Sep 27, 2009 #2

    pink-north

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    I've never made it myself. If your successful, do share. Good luck!
     
  3. Sep 28, 2009 #3

    artisan soaps

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  4. Sep 28, 2009 #4

    Maria

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    I had requests for African Black Soap at the Green Market. I decided against trying it. The expense, the trouble of making it, the name, just too much for me.
     
  5. Sep 28, 2009 #5

    carebear

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    I, too, would like to see the instructions.

    From what I understand it's made by boiling the shea with plantain ashes.
     
  6. Sep 28, 2009 #6

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  7. Sep 28, 2009 #7

    MagiaDellaLuna

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    Ditto :)

    I like my ingredients in a slightly more refined state.
     
  8. Sep 28, 2009 #8

    fireweed

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    Ummm, I think I would need far more detailed instructions!
     
  9. Sep 28, 2009 #9

    MagiaDellaLuna

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    It does sound a bit "hit and miss" doesn't it ?

    I get very nervous when formulas are not calculated precisely. I have visions of the resulting soap cleaning right down to the bone :shock: :shock:
     
  10. Sep 28, 2009 #10

    beautifulbay

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    yeah the directions are not that descriptive....thats why I'm not sure if I want to tackle it or not.

    This is the one I had...
    http://www.soapmakingsuccess.com/articl ... ecipe.aspx

    I think I will get my nerve up and give it a shot...you just never know until you do it. ....I'm just not sure when! lol
     
  11. Sep 28, 2009 #11

    Maria

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    If I remember correctly the recipe I looked at also contained close to 50% shea butter. That would make for pricey soap.
     
  12. Sep 28, 2009 #12

    beautifulbay

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    yeah, I thought it was supposed to have a lot in it too.

    and typically, it is pretty pricey whenever I see it....another reason to not be sure if I should make it.
     
  13. Sep 28, 2009 #13

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    african black soap analized

    This apparently is a recipe from http://www.soapmakingsuccess.com/articl ... ecipe.aspx :

    It seems the soap is made with a very low concentration lye solution... it would probably contain a high concentration superfat... unsaponified oil.... included in the floating scum... soap scooped of the top... that would be why this soap is described as super mild to skin...

    It seems one can control all of these qualities much better with a well worked out and balanced soap calculator recipe...

    What is interesting is the actual very old and interesting historic technique... And it is important that knowledge of this technique remains... but as to if soap made in this method is necessarily better I do not believe so.

    a well made well superfatted and balanced soap recipe made with exactly the required amount of storebought lye leaving no extra lye washed down the drain seems less wasteful than this recipe requires.


    Step 1
    Strip the coconuts of their husk. Pack the husks into a hand press and replace the top.
    Step 2
    Press down and force the palm oil from the husk fiber. This may require considerable strength.

    Buy Palm or Coconut Oil already processed......

    Step 3
    Remove the cocoa beans from the cocoa pods and burn them until they are ash.
    Step 4
    Burn the shea bark and plantain skins until only ash remains.
    Step 5
    Add water to the ashes and filter through a fine strainer. Make certain no large pieces of bark remain after the water solution is filtered.

    This is a traditional method for preparing Lye... http://www.lifeunplugged.net/everything ... d-ash.aspx
    make a weak lye solution yourself.... guess the concentration... basically what it comes down to....


    Step 6
    Place the palm oil in a double boiler and leave until hot. Add in the ash water from the cocoa pods, shea bark and plantain skins. Cook over low heat.
    Step 7
    Stir the mixture frequently until completely melted and smooth. The soap should begin to foam and rise to the surface of the boiler.

    Whatever soap forms in saponification with whatever lye amount is present in the mixture floats to the top... the soap is the scum floating on top...

    Step 8
    Add to the mixture any additional ingredients of your choosing, such as essential oils.
    Step 9
    Scoop off the hot soap mixture as it rises to the surface of the double boiler. Place the hot soap onto a cooling table.
    Step 10
    Pour the cooled, but not yet formed, soap mixture into a mold and allow it to continue cooling. Once the soap has cooled completely, it will harden into the shape of your mold.
    Step 11
    Allow the hardened soap to cure for at least two weeks before use.

    Normal curing of soap... scooped from soap pot surface...

    African Black soap is not that exotic at all... very old technique to do exactly what we modern soap makers are doing in a much more controlled and formulated way...

     
  14. Sep 28, 2009 #14

    beautifulbay

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    wow...thank you for taking your time with all of that. :)

    I really appreciate that.

    Makes me say ... "er...NO, I have better things to do." lol!!
     
  15. Sep 28, 2009 #15

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    I just had an african american person come in and asked for african black soap. He said if I made it, he knows tons of black people who would buy it. I guess I better get googling.
     
  16. Sep 28, 2009 #16

    MikeInPdx

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    I think I'll hold off on making that one for the next few decades or so.... :lol:
     
  17. Sep 28, 2009 #17

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    Frankly, I think African black soap belongs from Africa... If you are interested in this soap from a cultural point of view why not make the original people who made this soap for centuries and who are often economically exploited benefit from what they have done best for ages?
    We have fair trade coffee how about fair trade soap? As far as traditional methods are concerned and especially one as complicated and intricate and so very much cultural as this one, why not support the people who should know best how to make the original product?
    If there is an interest in America or Europe or in any other continent and you own a shop import and sell the original product then... that way you offer a true product and support an ethnic traditional industry... especially as you said the interest is cultural.
    My argument earlier was that we can make a soap similar or just as good or even better with modern methods. Where everything is precise and measured and we know exactly how we formulated the product. But that does not detract from the lure or value of the true traditional product. I appreciate that true African black soap is unique and special when made true. But if you are going to fake it why not just make it in a modern way and call it American black soap? I am from Africa. Just an idea...
     
  18. Sep 28, 2009 #18

    artisan soaps

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  19. Sep 29, 2009 #19

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    WOW, I did NOT intend to offend anyone. I was just asked for this soap that is all. I actually googled it and did order black african soap from a fair trade site today. I did this way before reading your post too. I had NO intention on FAKING it and would not dream of doing that to anyones heritage. I will be selling this soap as fair trade black african soap and the consumer will know where it has come from. They will know that I did NOT make it or fake it as you say.
    I am sorry you were offended by my post. No harm was intended.
     
  20. Sep 29, 2009 #20

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