Black soap originated in West Africa and has been used throughout history by different tribes and communities for cleansing, purifying and healing the skin. It is traditionally handmade by women through the blending the bark of different plants like shea and plantain trees with water and the most beneficial oils, such as coconut oil. These all natural ingredients stockpile the soap with Vitamins A, E and iron, while the shea provides the soap a natural sunscreen.
In my search for the perfect natural soap, I almost settled on black soap as the winner. It was an excellent cleanser and moisturizer for my skin. Yet, after a few weeks of use, I realized that what was lacking was the exfoliation that is detrimental to helping my skin look and feel smooth. Through even a light exfoliation, you can break down the dead skin cells thus opening your pores and preventing acne. Exfoliation is used in many anti-aging remedies because of its ability to reduce fine lines. Alas, my search for the perfect all natural soap continued.
I found my champion in Thailand, where another type of handmade black soap has made its way into mainstream markets. This time it is all natural black rice grain soap. Like black soap, black rice grain soap is stockpiled with antioxidants, botanicals and natural oils to help soothe, protect and purify the skin. It too contains an all natural sunscreen in the form of rice bran oil. What pushed it over the top however were its detoxifying and exfoliating abilities.
One of the primary all natural ingredients in black rice grain soap is charcoal, which creates a layer on the skin to protect it from free radicals, including pesticides, cigarette smoke, pollution and sun exposure. Way back in 1956, Dr. Denham Harman proved that these free radicals are indeed the primary cause of aging. This is because collagen, the protein molecule that keeps our skin looking and feeling supple, is most susceptible to free radicals. Black rice grain soap is instrumental in reversing the effects of free radicals by introducing antioxidants into the skin and giving free radicals the electrons they require for stabilization, stimulation of blood circulation and overall skin nourishment.
Since black rice grain soap is based in rice grain extract, it provides a gentle exfoliation to the skin, releasing dead cells and revealing fresh, new skin. The rice grains provide a natural scrub that is subtle enough that the soap can be used anywhere on the body without causing irritation.
The battle is over. I finally found a natural soap that can exfoliate, detoxify, soothe and cleanse my skin all at once. Black soap was unquestionably the runner up, but the best all-around natural soap product I could find on the market was the natural black rice grain soap.