African black soap (free style)

Last year my friend Núria made a travel to Senegal. She brought raw Shea butter (maybe from Gambia) and asked me what we could make with it. Hum…. She gave me some time to think about and some nights after I decided that the best would be to make a very nourishing kind of black african soap, because our poor Spanish hands need extra care during the very cold and long German winters. I made my research and I decided that with the ingredients that I have available the best deal would be to adapt the proposal of Soaping101.



Sunflower oil 170.1 gr

Cocoa butter 85 gr

Shea butter 85 gr

Coconut oil 30 gr

Water 133 gr

Lye 51.9 gr

Ground cacao pods 20.3 gr

Ground plantain peels 14.2 gr

Shea butter (superfating) 42.5 gr

I replaced the palm oil with sunflower oil and since the main reason to do this soap was to use the Shea butter, I used it for the superfatting. We leaved it unscented and it seems that the strong smell of the unrefined Shea butter is coming out, but I don’t care and Núria said that it reminds her to Africa. I got the plantains at the Markthalle in Stuttgart Mitte, and after drying the peels in the oven, I ground them. I got also the whole cacao pods and proceed in the same way. Afterwards it goes as follows:


Make the lye solution.


Melt the solid oils and add the liquid ones. Mix with the lye solution and stir (I usually begin with my spatula or a wooden spoon, and afterwards use my stick blender).


I was a bit concerned since last time that I used Shea butter the soap reached trace very very quickly. However, this time it didn’t come so suddenly. Once at trace we added the plantain peels hand in hand, the cacao and the superfatting Shea butter, and stirred once more.


Then into the molds, and here you have a pic from the day before. The Ph was 9.

And so looks the soap today, 3 weeks after. A bit darker, but nor really black.



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