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Natural Beauty Product Pick: Benefits of African Black Soap

You've seen it in health food stores and speciality markets, but what exactly is African Black Soap?  And what are its benefits?  

Traditionally made by hand in Africa, most black soaps are formulated with various essential oils -- like coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, shea butter and cocoa butter.  They also contain ashes from different plants, like shea tree bark, banana trees, cocoa pods and plantain leaves.

Everything She Wants loves natural skin care products and swears by Alaffia's Authentic African Black Soap with Peppermint ($13.99, 32 oz.), available at Whole Body by Whole Foods Market.  The peppermint oil is invigorating, and the soothing liquid soap exfoliates and keeps our skin feeling fresh and smooth.  You can even use the all-in-one cleanser to shave, shampoo and wash your face. African Black Soap is also known to reduce acne outbreaks by reducing oiliness and killing bacteria that causes acne. It can also reduce the appearance of acne scars.

What's great about Alaffia products specifically, however, is they were created to help West African communities become sustainable through the fair trade of indigenous resources.  Through Alaffia's cooperative, West African women -- who are traditionally undereducated -- are compensated at a fair value for their unique skills, traditions and knowledge. The company also donates bicycles, school supplies and provides pre-and-post natal care to disadvantaged communities in the West African country, Togo.

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