Dr. Woods: Pure Black Soap With Organic Shea Butter Review

My first Dr. Woods product and my first ever black soap!

The full name of this product is Dr. Woods Shea Vision - Pure Black Soap with Organic Shea Butter and from what I've gleaned, Dr. Woods' forte seems to be in making castile soaps as well as black soaps. In addition to that, the US-based Dr. Woods also has a small range of lipbalms and facial cleansers.

Black Soap
If you're new to black soaps, this is how Dr. Woods explains it (excerpts from packaging and website):

"Black Soap is made from a drying and roasting process using the skin of the plaintain, and is a natural source of anti-oxidant vitamins A and E.

The roasted plantain skin is mixed with palm oil, palm kernel oil to form the soap. The roasting of the plantains determines the brownish-black color of the soap. The longer the plantains are roasted, the darker the soap."

In general, black soaps, which originate from West Africa, can also be made from the ash of other harvested plants like the leaves of palm trees and the bark of shea trees.

While Dr. Woods has a plain version of Pure Black Soap in its range, I decided to give the combi-version of black soap plus shea butter a shot first. Dr. Woods refers to this range as Shea Vision.

Purified water, saponified coconut, hemp & olive oils (with retained glycerin), black soap concentrate, organic shea butter*, natural fragrance oil blend, Vitamin E, sea salt, citric acid, Pro Vitamin B5, rosemary extract, natural caramel.
* certified organic by Lacon GmbH

I've enjoyed using up this bottle of black soap. Housed in a basic HDPE plastic bottle, this liquid black soap with organic shea butter is translucent and dark brown in colour. The liquid is on the runny side and it lathers okay (not a great deal of suds, yet it's not terribly disappointing either). If you're used to using run-of-the-mill SLS-containing body washes, you will find yourself reaching for the bottle more often to get more lather.

What really catches one's attention is the smell of this thing. You either love it or hate it, I think. To me, it smells earthy medicinal, like a camphor-eucalyptus mix that has been left to mellow. Frankly, the smell of this liquid soap reminds me of my late grandmother. It smells.....matronly and comforting in a strange way.

The Pure Black Soap with Organic Shea Butter is gentle, cleanses well and I found it neither drying nor moisturising on the skin. It was all right. I used it mainly in the shower but as black soaps are multipurpose, this one can also be used as a facial cleanser, for in the bath and for washing the hair. I liked it as a facial cleanser - the face feels very clean and not dried out. However, I hated it as a shampoo - my hair felt dry and was tangly after a wash.

For all-natural cleaning, Dr. Woods also recommends using "4 parts water to 1 part Dr. Woods" for dishes and floors and I am aware that many ladies do use Dr. Woods for cleaning many things at home, including washing clothes. I haven't used it for household cleaning myself but this should be interesting for those thinking of going natural all the way.

It also says on the bottle that this black soap "helps clear skin blemishes and prevent premature facial lines". In the reviews I've read, it seems to have helped people with problem skin. As a former acne-sufferer who thought she had tried everything under the sun for her acne, sigh, I just wish I had heard of black soap years ago!

Oh, I've also used it several times to clean my makeup brushes. It works fine.

Overall, I would rate this an above-average multi-purpose personal cleanser (and you know I love multi-purpose products!). It's pretty good but do bear in mind that there are still many other all-natural soaps and cleansers out there on the market.

It's worth noting that this Dr. Woods product:

• contains no animal ingredients
• contains no artificial ingredients
• contains no petroleum derivatives
• is paraben and phthalate free
• is lauryl/laureth sulfate free

Price/Where To Buy
Dr. Woods products aren't that easy to get hold of here in the Netherlands. You'll probably find it in certain ethnic shops.

These Dr. Woods liquid soaps are available in various bottle sizes. For a 16 fl oz / 473ml bottle like mine, the recommended retail price is US$8.19 but there are many online stores that offer it for less.

I bought mine from iHerb for US$5.89 (use coupon code QOJ683 for a US$10 discount on orders of US$40 or more, or a US$5 discount on orders less than US$40).

On Amazon, I see it going for US$5.97.

Dr. Woods website


Jenni said...

I've been avoiding SLS. Not easy it is in almost everything!! I've been using Savon du Marsielle. This looks nice too, natural. The only problem I have is palm kernel oil, is not sustainable. Going natural and eco friendly is so complex, something often ends up getting compromised. Well, better to try than not at all. BTW, I read more on mineral oil since I last left a comment with you, now I avoid that too... and I'm stuck with that Champney's scrub.. oh well.. Ignorance was bliss, kind of. Thanks for the review on Mr. Woods!

The Student's Guide To Nail Polish said...

I've got a bar of black soap at home (not this brand) which I like. I hadn't realised you could get it in a liquid version...or that you could clean your house with it, haha!

Great post!

Witoxicity said...

My pleasure, Jenni! Ah, I do remember what you said back then about not minding mineral oil. Hmmm, it looks like we're in the same boat now - not into petrolatum and each stuck with that Champney's scrub. Too true, ignorance is indeed bliss! SLS is the other thing that I'm moving away from but I must say that I haven't found it that difficult to find products without SLS. You could try Yes To Carrots, Burt's Bees and Dr. Bronner's, just to name a few. And you're absolutely right about the palm kernel oil. It's another conscience thing, isn't it? They could have used coconut oil instead. Have a great weekend! :)

@The Student's Guide To Nail Polish
Thanks! It's totally multi-purpose! Gotta like that aspect. :D

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I've never heard of black soap, but from now I'll be on the lookout in the shops. Take care, Nicole x

Witoxicity said...

Thanks, Nicole. Yeah, see if you can get hold of black soaps in a store near you. :)

Anonymous said...

A multi-purpose soap, that's cool. If it really helps preventing facial lines then I'm interested in purchasing!

This product is totally new to me, I've never heard of this brand and black soaps. "KTee"xx

Witoxicity said...

It's good to learn something new everyday. Well, it would be a very good deal if it delivers on this anti-aging promise. Gotta use it for the long term though. :)