Homemade Black Soap Made with Activated Charcoal

What Is Black Soap?

Black Soap, made with activated charcoal, is another fine item to
add to your soaping repertoire. Many home soapers enjoy making
Black Soap for their families, to help various kinds of skin problems,
and to detoxify and gently exfoliate healthy skin.

True African Black Soap, the genuine article—in which the lye for use
in soap-making is prepared from the ashes of plantain peels, cocoa pods,
and/or coconut husks—is likely to require more time, trouble, and skill
than most home soapers are willing to invest.

Further, the ingredients in true African Black Soap—and the materials used
to produce the charcoal and ash that gives it its black color—are highly
variable, and depend on local traditions and available materials.

Occasionally, African Black Soaps list “tar” as an ingredient. In the US,
Pine Tar Soap is an old traditional treatment for healing skin problems.

Black Soap Recipe

8 oz. Palm Oil

8 oz. Coconut Oil

8 oz. Sunflower Oil

4 oz. Cocoa Butter

3.5 oz. Shea Butter

2 oz. Almond Oil

4.561 oz. lye

12.73 oz water

2 1/2 Tablespoons activated charcoal, mixed with about 6 tablespoons
of any of the above oils, or a mixture of these.

1 oz. fragrance oil or essential oil, if desired

This recipe allows for 8% superfatting.

Yields 51.8 ounces soap, or 3.24 pounds

For this recipe, put all the oils in a large saucepan and warm until they
are melted and blended together. Heat the oils no more than necessary to
melt them. Transfer to your usual soap-making container.

Remove about 6 tablespoons of the oil from the pot and add to 2 ½ tablespoons
of activated charcoal. Mix this thoroughly until free of lumps. You can add
more oil, if needed. Set aside.

Add the water to the lye, and stir now and then to dissolve. There is no harm
in leaving it alone for a bit, to escape the fumes. Allow the lye water to cool
to about lukewarm.

Add the lye water to the combined oils and blend with a stick blender to a light
trace. Add the activated charcoal mixture and fragrance and blend till well mixed.
If the soap starts to thicken too much, turn off the blender and hand mix.

Pour into molds. I like to keep mold warm, to ensure complete gel. They can be
wrapped in towels. If you like to be sure they’re warm enough, you can preheat
your oven to 170°, turn off the oven, and put in the soap (wrapped in an old
towel), and leave it alone for 8-12 hours. Peek all you want.

Fancy molds that can’t be wrapped in towels can be stacked on a heating pad and
covered with a cardboard box, which can then be covered with towels or blankets.
If you are stacking molds, it’s nice if you can separate them by putting
cake-cooling racks between them.

Keeping the heating pad going under these molds for 2-4 hours seems to work well.
Once soap is hard—probably about 12 hours in the case of this soap—it can be
unmolded. Unmold soap from individual soap molds by first putting it in the freezer
for about 30 minutes. The soaps will pop right out after that.

Homemade Black Soap Made with Activated Charcoal