If you look up online, there are countless numbers of beauty products claiming to perform miracles on your skin. Some brands promise to clear your acne in two weeks, some can apparently cure serious skin conditions like eczema. Truth be told, most of them don’t work, and I’m speaking from personal experience.
So when I came across Dudu Osun Black Soap about a month ago, I wasn’t super excited. Yes, it does have a bunch of great ingredients and lots of positive reviews. So, what? I’m a skeptical person and I don’t believe in a product unless I try it myself.
I was looking for a soap bar suitable for my eczema-stricken, super sensitive, oily skin. After thoroughly studying the benefits of the ingredients of this soap, I decided to give it a try.
Did it work? Is this African black soap really worth all the hype? Is it value for money? I hope you will get the answers to all these questions by the end of this article.
But before that, allow me to explain what an African black soap actually is.
African Black Soap – An Overview
The smooth and glowing skin of African women can make anyone green with envy. It is a super hot continent, therefore, the risk of sun damage is also higher.
To battle the damaging effects of UV rays, their skincare routine involves the use of rich natural ingredients. It was a brainchild of the tribes of West Africa (Ghana, to be more specific).
African black soap is an age-old beauty product used as a solution for hyperpigmentation, acne, skin discoloration, stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, and various other skin problems.
These soaps are handmade by African families with a recipe passed down from generation to generation. The combination of ingredients depends on which region the soap is made in.
However, all the traditional soap formulas use basic ingredients like cocoa pods, raw African shea butter, honey, coconut oil, and plantain skin. The plant ingredients are sun-dried and roasted in a kettle. That’s how the soap gets its distinct black color.
After roasting, moisturizing agents like essential oils and shea butter are added to the concoction and stirred for straight up 24 hours until it solidifies. Then it is left to cure for 2 weeks.
So What Makes Dudu Osun Soap So Special?
There are many African black soap brands that have gained wide recognition in the mainstream cosmetics industry. However, the Nigerian variant of Dudu Osun beats all of them by a huge margin in terms of popularity.
Dudu Osun soap is made from plant-sourced products of the tropical rain forest of West Africa and Savannah. The soap is manufactured in Nigeria, by the local Yorùbá people. It has recently achieved the status of a “cult beauty product”.
Dudu Osun simply means black soap (Dudu= black, ose= soap). Some might argue that it is named so because of the presence of osun (camwood) in the soap. It doesn’t matter, though. All we need to know is whether the soap works or not.
Key Benefits of Using Dudu Osun Black Soap:
- It cleanses your pores and reduces their size, making your skin oil-free and glowing.
- Clears up acne spots and acne scars.
- Evens out skin tone.
- Works as a gentle exfoliator.
- Works on all skin types, especially beneficial for people with sensitive skin.
- Spot treats dark spots.
- Reduces freckles and skin blemishes.
- The antibacterial properties of some of the ingredients in the soap kill the germs and bacteria associated with dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
- Keeps your skin soft, smooth, toned and free from stretch marks.
- Lightly scented and lathers well.
The list of benefits is quite long. You must be wondering how a simple soap bar can possibly do so much. Let me try and help you understand:
The Working Mechanism of Dudu Osun Black Soap Explained!
African black soaps like this are known for their skin healing properties. The soap formula includes potash derived from cocoa pod ash. Palm kernel oil is mixed with it for better results. I will elaborately discuss the soap ingredients in the next segment.
For now, all you need to know is that the active ingredients in the soap draw out all the impurities from your skin pores. It also doubles as a natural exfoliator. Regular use of the soap removes dead skin cells and replaces them with the fresh skin buried underneath.
Let me make this easier for you to understand, this black soap works in 3 ways to cure all the basic skin-related problems:
1. By Balancing Oil
Oily skin is the root of a hundred skin problems. I know this for a fact because I too have a super oily skin. I have tried many soaps and other products to fight this problem. All of them only had a short-lasting effect.
Excess oil removal is one of the biggest benefits of African black soaps like Dudu Osun. The soap formula reaches your overactive oil glands, unclogs the pores, clears off the impurities from there and finally, reduces the oil production.
By controlling the oil production, it prevents breakouts of acne, blemishes, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.
2. By Cleansing, and Exfoliating
Dudu Osun Black soap enriched with shea butter, aloe vera and lemon juice not only cleanses your skin but also exfoliates it. It is a natural and inexpensive alternative to costly spa treatments. By removing all the dirt, grime, and dead skin cells, it brings out the natural glow of your skin.
3. By Nourishing and Replenishing
Black soaps can be very drying. To counter this, this soap uses shea butter, an essential component of skin lotions and moisturizers. It provides your skin with nourishment, hydrates it and also heals damaged skin.
The aloe vera extract calms skin irritation and makes you get rid of rashes and itching caused by bacterial infections. For the same reason, you can use it to prevent post-shaving razor burns, bumps, rashes and redness.
Apart from the goodness of shea butter and the soothing effect of aloe vera, Osun Black Soap contains several other ingredients to restore the health of your skin.
Here is a list of the key ingredients of this soap and a brief explanation of how they actually benefit your skin:
Take a Look Inside The Formula of Dudu Osun Black Soap – Ingredient List
There are a few basic ingredients of every black soap, irrespective of the region they are made in. Dudu Osun, made in Nigeria, contains a couple of uncommon ingredients too.
It is the combination of these common and uncommon ingredients that makes this soap so effective. I have done in-depth research on the individual benefits of each of the ingredients. I am going to lay them out for you in this section.
1. Camwood or Osun
I’m guessing that the soap gets the name Dudu Osun due to the presence of this ingredient. Camwood powder is derived from the bark of camwood tree, native to central-west Africa. It has immense skin soothing, cleansing and exfoliating properties.
Scrubbing the skin with camwood clears off all the dirt, toxins and other contaminants from your skin pores. That’s the reason why your skin feels buttery-smooth, soft and squeaky clean immediately after using this soap. Africans believe that osun is also loaded with antioxidants which heal skin discoloration caused by sun damage.
For the same reason, it fights the signs of aging by preventing free radicals damage. Some also claim that it is anti-inflammatory in nature. Topical application almost instantly calms down the burning sensation and itchiness of eczema and psoriasis.
2. Shea Butter
Pure, unrefined shea butter works like a charm on our skin, getting us rid of numerous skin problems. Most people think that its benefits are limited to skin moisturizing. That’s not true.
A study by the American Journal of Life Sciences suggests that shea butter keeps our skin taut by boosting collagen production. This is the key to fight the various signs of aging like wrinkles, dark spots, baggy eyes, skin blemishes and so on.
Shea butter is full of Vitamin-A and saturated fatty acids. It gets easily absorbed by the skin. It deeply moisturizes the skin and helps to balance the skin oil. By doing so, it not only treats the existing acne and pimples but also prevents further breakouts.
Apart from excellent hydrating ability, shea butter is also anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal in nature. Topical application can provide relief from sunburn, general skin irritation, and rashes.
If your skin is prone to razor burns and bumps, you could use this soap instead of chemical-loaded shaving creams. It might significantly reduce the breakout of painful post-shaving irritation and rashes.
3. Cocoa Pod Ash
Also referred to as potash, this is the ingredient that gives African black soap its unique color and texture. The ashes of plantain leaves contain Allantoin, a chemical compound. It reverses the signs of aging, moisturizes the skin and heals acne scars.
It is nature’s ideal solution for people with extremely sensitive skin. Due to the presence of cocoa pod ash, washing the face with Dudu Osun keeps the skin young, soft, glowing and spotless.
4. Palm Kernel Oil and Palm Bunch Ash
Palm kernel oil is a powerhouse of Vit-E. It also has stellar anti-aging abilities. Vit-E is basically an antioxidant. It guards your skin against free radicals damage and UV radiation. That way, it slowly lightens dark patches occurring in certain areas of your body. Add to that, it also helps to keep the skin smooth and soft.
Palm bunch ash is a great source of organic potash. This essential nutrient can kill the bacteria linked with Acne vulgaris. It also helps to lock the moisture into the skin, making your skin hydrated and deeply nourished.
Apart from these four active ingredients, Dudu Osun soap also contains, honey, aloe vera, lime, and lemon juice. All of these are enriched with skin moisturizing, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and antibacterial properties. Together, they boost the skin nourishing abilities of the core ingredients of black soap.
Enough with the working principle of the soap. It all sounds great on paper. But does it actually work how it’s supposed to in reality? I tried it for 4 weeks and here’s my observation:
My Experiment With Dudu Osun Black Soap: The Takeaway
The soap bar has a hard texture and it lathers really well. The foam texture is creamy. It has a mild, natural fragrance which is great for someone like me who doesn’t like strong, artificial scents. I wash my face with this soap twice a day. It’s been only a month and here’s my takeaway:
Week 1 :
First of all, this soap cleanses really well. I gently massage my skin for a few seconds and rinse it off with cold water immediately. For the first time, I kept the soap on for like 30 seconds for better results. Don’t do it.
It will dry out the skin. After rinsing, my face felt oil-free and soft for a few hours, at least. My eczema scars were unaffected. That’s okay. I wasn’t expecting the soap to fade eczema scars in just a week.
Week 2 :
I saw one fresh pimple on my cheek. I was not sure if I should entirely blame the soap for it. I eat a lot of junk food and don’t exactly lead a healthy lifestyle.
I am quite aware of the fact that breakouts are obvious if I don’t improve my lifestyle, especially eating habit. So, for the sake of this experiment, I decided to chuck junk food and eat lots of lean meat, fish, fruits and leafy vegetables.
Week 3 :
That brought me to week 3. That new pimple was still there but it’s a lot smaller. The oiliness that bothered for so long was slowly diminishing. Earlier, my face would remain oil-free for just an hour or so after using the soap.
By the end of the third week, the condition further improved. My skin felt smoother and oil-free for a longer period. My eczema-scars shrank by a few inches. I could clearly tell that by looking in the mirror.
Week 4 :
Nothing new, except that red pimple turned into a small, dry and discolored dot. The skin greasiness that always bothered me was almost gone. That’s a definite improvement. No new breakouts as well. So yes, I am looking forward to what happens in the upcoming weeks.
What I Liked :
- It lathers well.
- The soft fragrance.
- It is a powerful pore cleanser.
- It made my skin oil-free, smooth and soft.
- Made my eczema scars slightly smaller.
What I Didn’t Like :
- Felt a mild stinging sensation while slathering the soap on my face.
- Can leave the skin dry if you leave it on for too long.
Possible Side-effects of Dudu Osun Black Soap
Black soap is generally considered to be safe since it only contains natural ingredients. However, the major ingredients in the formula make the soap highly acidic. This can disrupt the pH balance of the skin and cause irritation and breakouts.
To balance acidity level, Dudu Osun soap uses honey, so there isn’t much to worry about. If you have a super sensitive skin, you should do a patch test on your wrist and elbow before dousing the soap on your face.
If you are allergic to plantain and cocoa, this soap might trigger allergic reactions. If that’s the case then you should immediately stop using it.
Another common side-effect is skin overdrying. This could be a bit of a problem for people with already dry skin. To avoid this, immediately rinse your face with cold water after applying the soap. Use a quality moisturizer afterwards.
The Bottom Line
Truth be told, this soap takes a long time to show visible improvements. It won’t fade your acne scars, stop breakouts and lighten dark patches overnight. That’s common with all organic soaps. They take time. But the results are often more impactful and longer lasting.
Also, don’t pin all your hopes on a soap. No soap or any cosmetic product can improve your skin condition if you don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle. Drink lots of water, eat healthy and workout. The combined effort of all these is sure to do wonders on your skin.