Moroccan Black Soap Vs African Black Soap: Benefits and Uses

If you’ve heard of natural black soap, you might be wondering what the difference is between Moroccan black soap and African black soap. Both are known for their natural ingredients and traditional production methods and both are celebrated for their benefits. So what sets them apart? Let’s take a closer look at Moroccan black soap vs African black soap to help you choose which one might be the best fit for your skincare routine

Moroccan black soap, African black soap and other natural soaps standing in a row

Origins and ingredients

Moroccan black soap

Let’s start with the roots. Unsurprisingly Moroccan black soap originated in Morocco. It’s also known as Beldi black soap and has been a part of traditional hammam spa rituals for centuries.

Moroccan style spa with hanging lights and planters around a tiled pool

It’s made from virgin olive oil and black olives which gives it a rich consistency and a very high content of vitamin E.

What does vitamin E do for the skin? Its main function is to act as an antioxidant, which protects against damage caused by free radicals that speed up ageing. 

Olive oil is a good old natural remedy for cleansing and purifying skin (ask your grandmother- there be wisdom there).

These olives are ripened, crushed, and macerated into an olive paste with salt and potash (potassium hydroxide) which gives it its characteristic gooey texture and deep colour. This is usually infused with Eucalyptus essential oil and then left to mature in giant vats for up to a month.

It’s a bit like a fine wine, improving with age. The result? A velvety black soap revered for its natural moisture and exfoliating abilities.  

African black soap

Originating in West Africa, African black soap, also known as Ose Dudu or Alata Samina, is also a natural plant product. It’s crafted from locally sourced ingredients like plantain skins, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves, and shea tree bark combined with local ingredients like honey or herbs. It’s also enriched with natural oils like shea butter and coconut oil.

bunches of yellow and green plantains

The shea butter moisturises and soothes, while the cocoa pod ash and plantain peel provide gentle exfoliation, leaving your skin smooth. The palm kernel oil brings everything together, sealing in moisture and ensuring your skin feels supple and nourished. 

This soap is handcrafted through a meticulous curing process. The result is a rich, earthy soap that has been used for generations for its skincare benefits. Its natural ingredients are also packed with vitamins A and E, providing nourishing and cleansing properties.

African black soap is extremely versatile, there’s even science on it. 

Studies have shown that African black soap has natural antibacterial properties and may also have antifungal properties. This makes it a useful natural remedy against bacteria and yeast overgrowth like candida albicans.  A survey also found that black soap may help combat acne, dark spots, razor burn, eczema, and fine lines.

Both soaps boast centuries-old traditions, and their ingredients celebrate the richness of nature too.

Skincare benefits

Moroccan black soap

Moroccan black soap is a great exfoliant.

If you want the Moroccan hammam spa experience, Beldi soap is the one to go for. Traditionally it’s applied liberally to damp skin as a softener. Then comes a vigorous scrubbing with an exfoliating glove known as a Kessa mitt. This stimulates blood flow.

Moroccan soap is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids and its exfoliating properties help remove dead skin cells, promoting a radiant complexion.

Because it’s a natural product, you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals either. Moroccan black soap is suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive and dry skin.  If you want to feel freshly scrubbed and rejuvenated, give it a try.

white bathtub with tray holding scrubbing brush and liquid soap

African black soap

African black soap can pretty much do everything.

It serves as a facial cleanser, body wash, shampoo, or even a shaving cream substitute. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties soothe various skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Or you can even just use it as a makeup remover. 

This one’s a gentle exfoliator, but it’ll help to unclog pores and improve overall skin texture. It’s also super moisturising, leaving the skin supple and hydrated.

How to use each soap for best results

It’s best to apply Moroccan black soap to damp skin and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing off. This allows the soap to penetrate and soften the skin. For African black soap, lather it in your hands and apply the foam to your face or body. Massage gently and rinse off with water.

Follow both soaps with a good moisturiser to lock in the benefits and keep your skin hydrated. If you like oils and essential oils, a small amount of Argan oil with a drop or two of amber or frankincense essential oil is fantastically moisturising and luxurious.

Precautions: sun sensitivity

A close up of the sun

Both Moroccan and African black soaps can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. If you’ve got a fair complexion like me or you’re prone to sunburn you’ll need a high SPF before going outside to protect your skin.

Personal preferences

While both share the “black soap” label, they each offer unique benefits so it really depends on what you’re looking for. Do you enjoy the earthy, soothing scent of Moroccan black soap, or are you more drawn to the nutty fragrance of African black soap?

Also, texture.

Moroccan black soap has a gel-like texture. It has a dark brown colour like molasses, that transforms into a creamy lather when mixed with warm water. Meanwhile, African black soap has a grainier texture, sometimes with visible specks of plantain skins and tends to crumble easily.

Moroccan black soap vs African black soap: final verdict

Moroccan black soap is a super exfoliator with hydrating properties that make it perfect for a spa-like experience at home and radiant skin. At the same time, African black soap is a good all-rounder, gentle, versatile and great at managing lots of different skin conditions.  It also makes an especially good option for those with sensitive skin.

Whichever one you go for (have I tempted you to try both?), either make a great choice for a natural and nourishing skincare routine.

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