Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don't judge a soap by it's poo-like exterior.

Good morning! Summer's here, and it's blown in full force. We'll be sitting in 100 degree temps for the next few days in good ol' Utah. I'm not sad about it.

I've done a couple guest posts over the past couple weeks and have mentioned my miracle soap in each one and yesterday got a request to elaborate further, so here we go!

A few months ago I was reading the birchbox blog (one of my favorites) and this article caught my eye. This article introduced African black soap at the perfect time, while I was on the lookout for a new facial soap. Read it, I guarantee you'll be intrigued. After reading that article, I stated digging up anything and everything that I could find, because sometime I tend to become obsessed with things. Please keep in mind that this soap works for me, but not everything works for everyone, and that's okay!

After my very exhaustive and very scientific research, which wasn't very scientific and only kind of exhaustive, I came out with 5 reasons why I love this stuff:

#1 - It's made of all natural ingredients - if you get the right kind - There is something about "all natural" that always draws me in. And why shouldn't we use things that already come from the ground? The less chemicals the better, at least in my opinion. The soap is made from dried plantain skins, palm leaves, cocoa pod powder, and kernel oil. The plantain skins used in the soap provide a natural source of vitamins A & E and iron and the dried cocoa fruit provide other healing properties.

#2 The soap provides antibacterial properties that aid in the prevention and treatment of acne blemishes. Yes, I am 23 {almost} and am still struggling with those pesky little red bumps - and sometimes monster mountains when my skin is feeling extra rebellious.

#3 It is also rich in antioxidant and polyphenols (mostly from the cocoa fruit) which have been said to put those nasty free radicals in check. p.s. free radicals cause pre-mature aging, meaning it's a wrinkle terminator!

#4 The soap can be used as a shampoo (I love multi-tasking products), which I think could be a good thing if you have really oily hair, because honestly, the soap can be quite drying. I don't have especially oily hair, so I don't think I'm brave enough to give this a go. If you ever give it a try though, let me know.

#5 There are A LOT of different options out there on the internet. My biggest recommendation, which ever brand you may go with, please make sure that it's fair trade, meaning the women who make this soap are paid fair wages for their product. I use this one, which you can get for about $3 a bar, yes you read right, $3. You do have to buy it in a three-pack, but you can buy a single bar for $4.50 if you're feeling a little skeptical (in which I wouldn't blame you, I was). My last face wash was running me about $33/bottle, so I did a little happy dance when I found this brand (fair trade and all). The top photo in this post is the brand that I use.

As I've said, there are a lot of different options depending on your preference. I've seen bars and liquid, so if you're not down with bar soap, give the liquid a try. I wasn't to peachy keen on using a bar when I first started looking into it, but I was worried that extra things were added to put it at a liquid consistency. I honestly have no idea if that's true, but I just wanted to start simple. Just make sure to read the ingredients closely if you're looking for it's more pure form. Oh and please don't ever pay this much for a bar of black soap.

This one and this one caught my eye and Etsy seems to have a really good selection as well. So if you try any of them, let me know.

Okay, just before I wrap up a few tips and heads up. I use this soap morning and night with my Clarisonic. If you use a face brush of any kind, put it on the lightest setting at first. When I first started using the soap it stung my face when the brush was on the higher settings. After a week or so it stopped stinging and I was able to up the brush power, but like any facial soap, your skin does have to get used to it. 

At the beginning, I got a few pimples, but I think it was because it was pulling out extra impurities. After a few days though it started clearing up my blemishes like a boss and getting rid of those pesky red marks really fast! I also think it's evened out my color, I'm not as red around my nose and in between my eyes anymore, which I'll take any day. After using it for a couple months, I know that if I get a zit it's because I didn't wash my face that morning or evening. If used every morning and night, I'm pretty good to go. My biggest recommendation: when you start a new skincare regime please stick with it for at least 3 months and stick with it religiously. You'll never know if specific products are working for your skin if you skip a day or so every week. You will keep breaking out. Trust me, I've learned that the hard way.

Also, have a really good moisturizer on hand and slather it on right after you wash your face while it's still moist. One of the biggest complaints that I read about the soap on various websites is that it can be drying, which I have found to be true as well. As long as you have lotion though, it shouldn't bother you. Again, after a few weeks, my skin didn't get as dry and tight after washing. I like this one and this one if you're in the market for a new moisturizer as well.

Lastly, the only negative benefit I've come across while using a bar is that you have to keep it dry. I've left it in it's soap dish in the shower once or twice and it does liquify and soften at the bottom if it sits in the water too long. Sad day when that happens, but guess what? When you run out, it's only $3 to replace.

So, if you're looking for a new soap, I highly recommend and maybe it will work wonders for your skin like it has mine. But then again, what do I know? 

I'm planning on trying to apple cider vinegar toner this weekend. I'll let you know how that one goes in the next few weeks!

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