I feel like I have stumbled upon a closely-guarded secret. I mean, who would have thought my body has been waiting all its life for “African Black Soap.” I rarely even thought about the skin on my body – I’m not very particular and don’t pay much attention. Sometimes my skin is dry, at other times, it’s soft. Some times, it’s smooth and other times it’s bumpy and spotty. Sometimes it’s beige-ish, other times it’s darker. I do beaches without sunscreen and winters without moisturizers. Let’s face it – I’m careless (carefree?).
All of that changed when one summer while traveling in Puerto Rico with my African American (well, half African, half Punjabi) girlfriend, I discovered in her traveling paraphernalia a bottle of “African Black Soap Body Wash.”
The packaging was simple, elegant yet alternative. Right up my alley and it sounded so nutritious: Oats, aloe vera, and vitamin E, shea butter, jojoba, sandalwood, honeysuckle, the list went on. Even more reassuring is the list of what’s not in there: No sulfates, no parabens, paraffin, Dioxin, synthetic color; seemed there was absolutely no crap whatsoever. It smelled positively yummy, like a honey oatmeal cookie. I was so intrigued, I stuck my head out of the shower and yelled, ‘Hey gonna try your body wash, OK?’ and did not wait for an answer.
It was a transparent black liquid with tiny opaque black particles, to exfoliate, I presume. It felt light between my fingers, and I felt absolutely no harshness from the scrub particles. I was bathed in a completely wholesome scent and generous lather as I scrubbed, and it felt just right. I wondered about how gentle it was. Could a scrub this gentle really make any difference whatsoever? Would it:
- Soften my skin. CHECK
- Even out my skin tone. CHECK
- Reduce pigmentation. CHECK
- Completely get rid of the light acne (that would occasionally sprinkle my shoulders). CHECK!
On all counts, within a few days of using, it really helped! Needless to say, I stole my friend’s bottle and ran off to India with it. My sister-in-law used it as well – and she has very different and much more needy, sensitive skin than mine with perpetual acne on her back, which more or less disappeared with the tender loving care of good old African Black Soap.
I have now started to notice my skin, and the fact that while I’m using this body wash/soap, it seems to be in better condition than otherwise. I tend to use organic/alternative products anyway, because it makes me feel more bohemian. I am a hippie wannabe and this product fits right in with that part of my personality as well.
In addition, the “shea moisture” I also use the same product by the ‘Nubian Heritage’ brand (absolutely love the name) with similar experience, and happy-making feelings.
Pros of Shea Moisture African Black Soap Body Wash:
- My skin is softer when I was with this – never dry or scratchy, no sign of acne.
- Using this prevents body acne (I have heard its good for face as well, but I am wary of using a body wash on my face).
- Stuffed chockfull of healthy stuff, and doesn’t have the usual bad stuff.
- It looks nice enough, and smells and feels wonderful, making bath time pleasant.
- Is alternative/organic/natural.
- Evens out my skin tone, but doesn’t lighten – which makes it great for brown skin.
- Affordable, a 350 ml bottle of the body wash is USD 10, but if you want to go over a bar of the soap (equally effective but less yummy) is only USD 5.
Cons of Shea Moisture African Black Soap Body Wash:
- Not available in India – I have to entreat journeying friends to bring it back from the States – where it’s popular and easy to find.
The Body Shop Shea Body Butter
Jergens Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Moisturizer
Jovees Shea Butter Moisturizer with Fruit Extracts
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
Biotique Bio Color Moisture Glow Makeup with SPF 50
MAC Studio Moisture Cream
Bath and Body Works Sensual Amber Triple Moisture Body Cream
The Body Shop Moisture White Foaming Facial Wash
Venus and Mars African Black Soap
Lush Snowcake Soap
Lush Bohemian Soap
Crabtree & Evelyn Nantucket Briar Scented Bath Soap
Dove Beauty Body Wash
Olay Body Wash – Spa Exfoliating Ribbons
Dove Cream Oil Rosewood and Cocoa Body Wash
FabIndia Avocado Body Wash
Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash With Shea Butter
Lux Body Wash in Soft Luxury and Uplifting Firm
Body Wash : St. Ives Mineral Therapy
Dove Go Fresh Body Wash
Lux Magical Spell Fine Fragrance Elixirs Body Wash
Fabindia Citrus Lemon Body Wash
Khadi Herbal Face & Body Wash Sandalwood & Honey
Victoria’s Secret Romantic Wish Exhilarating Body Wash
Victoria’s Secret Spa : Body Wash, Scrub, Lotion