Black soap is traditionally made in West Africa, typically Ghana, from secret recipes. Different tribes and communities have adopted their own specific (secret) blend of oils and cooking techniques, which can be seen in the different color variations among black soap. The common ingredients in all the authentic black soaps are plantain skins, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves and palm kernel oil. Varieties of black soap actually made in Africa tend to be pure, while soaps made in Europe or the US tend to have added artificial ingredients.
The plantain skins give the soap Vitamin A & E, and iron. Some people with caffeine sensitivities may need to test out soap that contains cocoa pods as there is some evidence that the caffeine can be transmitted through contact with the skin.