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BPGP: Shea Terra Rose Black Soap


SheaTerra Rose Hips Black Soap (Amazon, $19.75)

When I buy a beauty product, all I care about is whether that product works.  I don’t care if it’s eco-friendly.  I don’t care if the company saves the whales or the cheetahs or is into rainforest conservation.  If you do, that is your business, but I, for one, care about the efficacy of the product and nothing else.

Last week, Miss M sent me a fascinating Elle article about how sodium lauryl and sodium laureth sulfate can irritate skin and cause acne.  If you’ve ever read a label on a bottle of face wash, then you know that finding a product without sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate is basically impossible. Once I realized that none of the popular brands were SLS free, I decided that I needed to go organic.

I purchased this SheaTerra Black Soap because I’ve heard impressive things about African Black Soap in general.  Was I thrilled with the product?  Not really, and here’s why.

While it cleared the acne on my chest, the change on my face has been negligible.  My skin is softer, but it’s not clearer.  It’s less red, but not less bumpy.  So, I suppose that this product is a bit of a mixed bag.

Also, I hate the smell/taste of star anise and licorice.  Anything with that flavor makes me want to vomit, and this soap smells like I went swimming in a vat of black licorice syrup. 

I finally turned the bottle over to a neighbor for a second opinion, and she loved it.  In fact, she loved it so much that she bought the entire SheaTerra system which includes products for steaming, purifying, toning and the like.

Would I try another SheaTerra product? Sure.  Was I wildly in love with this one?  Not really.  And I still don’t care about how much money they spend conserving African wilderness, but if you do, this company has you covered.


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  1. MM says:

    I've been using CeraVe lotion for a while, but I wasn't crazy about their cleanser. I just saw that they have a foaming face wash earlier this week…assume it might be new?? I've been using it for a few days, and it's been amazing on my sensitive skin. My skin is both sensitive and a little oily/combination. So, I have a hard time with most sensitive skin cleansers.

    November 16, 2011/Reply
  2. Sonu says:

    I've been using organic/natural products for quite some time now and admit they take some adjustment- especially with SLSfree cleaners which wont foam up. I've been using Giovanni's D:tox system purifying facial cleaner and I love it. Yes it doesn't smell great, but I find it to be great on my oily skin….

    November 16, 2011/Reply
  3. Alex says:

    Hi Belle,

    I'm Nigerian and use black soap as well, and it has completely cleared up my acne. I wouldn't recommend this product because it has coconut oil, which is a comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredient, and a bunch of “extra” ingredients. Instead, I would recommend liquid dudu osun soap or ghanian black soap, both of which can be purchased online at Afrikan Republic.

    November 16, 2011/Reply
  4. danielle says:

    Burt's Bees has a line of acne face washes that have no sulfates in them (actually, none of their products do). I've used the Pore Refining Scrub from that line and I found it worked well for me. I've tried other natural products that I wasn't thrilled with, whatever Burt's Bees is doing they do it well (I also love their toothpaste).

    November 16, 2011/Reply
  5. M says:

    Have you tried oatmeal? I keep seeing acclaim for it popping up everywhere. I haven't tried it myself, my skincare routine works for me but it may be a fun little experiment….

    November 17, 2011/Reply
  6. Amy says:


    I find it kind of annoying that you so adamantly DON'T CARE what else a company does besides make their advertised products. Go ahead and care! It can be important.

    November 17, 2011/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    Amy-Unless they're doing something negative, I don't care. The only reason I buy a product is because I like it. If the company does something good on top of that, good for them. But I buy what I like.

    I wouldn't buy TOMS just because they're generous. I don't buy lipstick shades I don't like just because they're for charity. And to be honest, I would rather just give a charity or non-profit money than buy a product that might toss <10% of the proceeds their way.

    November 17, 2011/Reply
  8. DB says:

    In reading the article (which I also found fascinating), I realised that whether or not your face wash has SLS listed in the ingredients might depend on what type of skin you have in the first place. I was certain that my Neutrogena grapefruit acne scrub would be one of your SLS perpetrators, and I was shocked when I couldn't find it listed in the ingredients. (I've checked three times.)

    When you say that none of the popular brands are SLS-free, which brands do you mean? Or which brands have you specifically had problems with (and thus we should avoid)?

    November 17, 2011/Reply