African black soap shower gel (also popularly called alata samina or anago samina) is very simple to make. As African black soap typically has a soft gooey thick honey like texture, it melts pretty easily with water.
The liquid soap version of alata samina is more beneficial for people with sensitive skin. Often you will hear some people complain about finding African black soap too harsh. This is because traditionally when the soap is made, the quantities of the ingredients are not measured. This sometimes results in the potash being too high resulting in a
In this case you may find slight variations in how your skin reacts to African black soap from batch to batch.
In Ghana most commercial African black soap shower gel has a thick texture, it is thickened by making an Sodium Laureth Sulfate(SLES) liquid soap and combining the two together. Most people do not have an issue with using SLS or SLES in Ghana.
You only find a very thick shower gel version. Out of curiosity I always read the ingredients on bottles of liquid #ABS to see what exactly had been used to thicken it. Over a long period of time I made it a mission to find out what or how exactly they made it with no luck. This is partly due to the secretive nature of manufacturers of cosmetics and toiletries in Ghana not declaring on labels the content of a product.
After all no one enforces legislations with regards to labeling or declaring ingredients so it is a free market. From what I read, the listed ingredients never suggested which ingredient gave the thick luxurious texture so I grew ever more curious. The process for liquifying is an easy one where you just add hot or lukewarm water to the African black soap and leave it over a few hours or days to liquify.
As a cosmetics manufacturer, I know there are so many thickeners that can be used (synthetic or natural ) to achieve thickness in any liquid soap but I know also know that soap makers in Ghana would not opt for using an expensive natural thickener so I desperately wanted to know which easy to come by ingredient everyone was using.
So cue in the end of a teaching day at Ghana Soap School, just when any of my classes ends and we decide to indulge in a bit of socializing before going home. I always meet real interesting characters when I’m teaching. On a particular day, one of my most memorable students who was really excited after learning how to make various cosmetics said to me ‘do you want me to teach you how to make the liquid African black soap (#liquid alata samina or liquid black soap). Usually my students always want to give something back by teaching me something new too and this always results in my learning more about Ghana, our history and traditions. When he described the process to me, it all made sense! The thick African black soap shower gel is made by adding SLS! Simples.
# liquify your African black soap(osun dudu, alata samina) by leaving it in water, mash or knead to soften
# once liquid, add sls (which is the main soap base used widely by most people to make liquid hand wash soaps and shampoo in Ghana and all across Africa). SLS is cheap as nuts in makola.
And there, you have your thick luxurious style liquid African black soap
PS : Most people who like using natural products shy away from using SLS (which in itself starts out its life from natural sources) but can be harsh for some skin types leaving skin and hair dry. Also most liquid soaps are made with SLS rather than the more milder surfactants (or green surfactants) in Ghana even when they proclaim to be natural. However you can make natural liquid soap, shower gels and liquid African black soap using just botanical oils. I teach this at Ghana Soap School.