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21 Best Body Washes & Soaps for African-American Skin

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 30th December 2020
Best Body Wash & Soap for African-American Skin

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Do you know which is the best body wash and soap for African-American skin?

Is there a difference between soap for black skin and other ethnicities?

Recent studies show that African-American skin might need more moisturizing (1).

Persons of color may also be more prone to acne and dermatitis (2).

Therefore, what they use to wash their skin has an impact on their health.

How to choose the best body wash for black skin

As you shop, look for a moisturizing body wash. You don’t need to strip all the skin’s natural oils to get clean.

Choose ones with humectants like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids (3).

Some of the common names for alpha hydroxy acid include lactic acid and glycolic acid. These all gently exfoliate dead skin without the need for scrubbing.

Meanwhile, skip drying alcohols, harsh sulfates, artificial fragrances, and other potential allergens. Again, none of those are required to cleanse your skin (4).

What’s good for African-American skin also depends on your personal skin type.

Like everyone else, some black people have naturally dry skin, and others have naturally oily skin.

Pick a product based on your skin type.

There are plenty of moisturizing body washes that are non-comedogenic.

21 Top Body Washes & Soaps for African-American Skin (2021 Update)

Let’s start with some bath soaps that are good for the whole family.

1. Dove Body Wash, Sensitive Skin

Dove’s sensitive skin body wash is one of the most popular on the market.

It completely avoids sulfates in favor of gentle coconut-based cleansers. Sulfates, while good for making lather and removing oil, are too drying.

If you’re tired of looking ashy, it’s time to switch to something mild like this.

The formula is pH-balanced to prevent dryness. Plus, it reinforces the skin’s protective barrier with NutriumMoisture technology while you wash.

Moreover, it’s cruelty-free, and the pump-top bottle is 100% recycled plastic.

2. Aveeno Skin Relief Fragrance-Free Body Wash with Oat

Aveeno also makes a sensitive skin body wash. Although it’s not sulfate-free, it is very hydrating.

It contains colloidal oatmeal plus glycerin and myrrh oil to soothe the skin.

They call it a hypoallergenic body wash. You’re probably aware that the term “hypoallergenic” doesn’t mean much. There’s no FDA standard for it. But Aveeno, as a top manufacturer, tests its products against common allergens.

What’s more, they have left out the soap and artificial colors from this product.

Wait a minute – how can they leave soap out of a body wash? It turns out that “soap” applies to alkaline detergents.

Do you know how dish soap dries out your hands? That’s the classic kind of soap I’m talking about.

3. CeraVe Body Wash for Dry Skin

CeraVe’s body wash has the Seal of Approval from the National Eczema Association.

In other words, it’s extremely mild for sensitive skin.

It doesn’t contain parabens or sulfates, yet it makes a pleasant lather.

More importantly, it contains essential ceramides.

Ceramides are naturally part of the skin. But people with eczema or aging skin tend to have less than they need to keep the skin healthy.

Adding ceramides helps restore the normal protective barrier against dehydration and infection.

4. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar

If you hate washing with liquid body wash, try this bar instead.

Like the liquid version, it’s fortified with ceramides to strengthen the skin. It also has hyaluronic acid to draw in moisture.

The formula is free of artificial fragrances, and it won’t clog pores. In fact, it’s gentle enough to use on your face as well as your body.

5. Cetaphil Pro Soothing Wash

If you need extra hydration for your skin, here is a smart choice.

Cetaphil’s body wash lists shea butter as the second ingredient right after water.

That’s interesting as shea butter is an excellent natural moisturizer.

Moreover, the third ingredient is a sulfate, but it’s a very mild one. Right after it comes glycerin and sunflower seed oil.

There’s even colloidal oatmeal.

Finally, you don’t need to worry about parabens or artificial fragrances.

6. Eucerin Advanced Cleansing Body and Face Cleanser

Eucerin is an expert at taking care of sensitive skin. I would be surprised if your dermatologist recommended this brand to you.

This gentle cleanser takes the place of two products as you can wash your face and body with it.

It won’t leave any residue or dry out the skin.

Not only is it pH-balanced, but it’s also free of artificial fragrances and dyes.

7. Vanicream Gentle Body Wash

Vanicream is also known as Free & Clear. They specialize in products for people with allergies.

For example, this body wash is free of more common soap ingredients than it contains. It’s very moisturizing and mild.

Yet it manages to cleanse well with a decent amount of lather even in hard water.

Yes, you can use it to remove makeup.

8. Bioderma Atoderm Moisturizing and Cleansing Oil

Bioderma designed this cleansing oil for extremely dry and sensitive skin.

It features vegetal bio lipids to restore the skin’s natural protective film and elasticity. It promotes lipid synthesis in the skin to repair it.

Here’s another fascinating fact. It actually prevents staph bacteria from binding to the skin.

For up to 24 hours after washing with it, it improves the skin’s moisture level. Using it repeatedly for a month can improve the overall hydration of the skin by a third or more.

Of course, it’s free of parabens, soaps, preservatives, and dyes. Even though it’s “cleansing oil,” it’s non-comedogenic and doesn’t feel greasy.

9. Everyone 3-in-1 Soap – Body Wash, Shampoo, and Bubble Bath

Now that we’ve gone over all the fragrance-free bath products let’s cover the ones that smell good but are still kind to sensitive skin.

Everyone Soap comes in a variety of scents, including coconut and lemon. But the fragrances are not artificial. They come from natural ingredients.

With coconut-based cleansers and organic plant extracts plus vitamins, it’s hard to resist this body wash.

It smells delicious and leaves the skin super soft.

It’s even cruelty-free and verified as safe by the EWG (Environmental Working Group).

10. Puracy Natural Body Wash

The American company Puracy has perfected its body wash until it’s a top-seller.

Each bottle comes with a no-questions-asked satisfaction guarantee.

Choose from a variety of scents, including citrus and sea salt. It smells like you just peeled an orange at the seaside.

Each bath soap is vegan and pH-balanced. It’s free of sulfates, salicylates, parabens, perfumes, dyes, and petroleum-derived ingredients.

11. OGX Extra Creamy + Coconut Miracle Oil Ultra Moisture Body Wash

Now, let’s look at luxury soaps that make every shower feel like a spa experience.

The buttery OGX body wash is rich in emollients like coconut oil that make the skin velvety soft.

It’s scented with vanilla bean and tiare from the tropics.

Plus, it’s sulfate-free.

12. Bliss Lemon & Sage Soapy Suds Body Wash

Bliss’s body wash is a product you’ll find in high-end resorts.

Yes, it’s something you’ll run across at the spot, too.

The sudsy formula has a delightful, eye-opening scent of lemon and sage.

It’s rich in aloe, glycerin, and guar gum to make the skin supple and smooth.

No, it’s not ideal for sensitive skin as it contains dyes and an artificial fragrance. On the other hand, it doesn’t have sulfates, plus it’s certified vegan and cruelty-free by PETA.

13. For Guys: Cremo All-Season Body Wash

Guys tend to love masculine, woodsy scents. But I won’t tell anyone if you buy this for someone who’s not a guy. It’s not specifically for men only.

Cremo makes various premium men’s care products: beard washes, shaving creams, and the like.

This body wash is a big step up from Axe and similar brands.

It’s moisturizing for dry skin to prevent winter itch. Yet, it’s light and refreshing enough for summertime.

The scent is a blend of blue cedar, cypress, and citrus. It’s a fragrance you’ll never forget.

14. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash with Salicylic Acid

Clear up body acne with a salicylic acid wash. This one smells like pink grapefruit.

Salicylic acid exfoliates dead skin and clears away oil to unclog pores. Neutrogena’s MicroClear technology ensures that this acne medication arrives where it’s needed most.

This is a sulfate-free shower gel. It rinses clean and doesn’t dry out the skin.

If you have extra-dry skin or have never used salicylic acid before, start slow. Try washing with it just two or three times a week before you switch to using it every day.

You can balance out the drying effects by applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer right after your shower.

15. CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid

If you’ve heard of keratosis pilaris, you probably have it. It’s that dry and bumpy chicken skin on the back of the arms and other parts of the body.

CeraVe’s body wash uses salicylic acid to treat the problem.

Compared to the Neutrogena salicylic acid wash above, it’s more gentle. It doesn’t have an artificial fragrance, and it’s less drying.

Other key ingredients include ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. The ceramides and hyaluronic acid restore moisture while niacinamide promotes healing.

16. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Body Wash

Have you ever tried African Black soap? Some people swear by it.

It’s touted as a cure for dry skin and acne alike. That might be because it’s antibacterial.

Shea Moisture’s version has a smooth liquid texture without the grit you find in some brands.

It features certified organic ingredients like raw shea butter, aloe, and oats. The blend smells woodsy and clean. Some might consider it a masculine fragrance.

17. Nubian Heritage Body Wash, African Black Soap

Get back to basics with shea butter, palm ash, oats, papaya enzymes, plantain peel, aloe, and salicylic acid. That’s what’s in this liquid black soap.

It’s formulated as a modern update to an ancient medicinal formula.

The expectation is that it will grant you improved skin tone and texture.

18. Alaffia Authentic African Black Soap

If you’d like to try unscented African Black soap, this is a liquid version that’s gentle to the skin.

It’s created by a company that uses non-GMO ingredients from fair trade. Part of the profits from sales goes back to Africa to help local enterprises.

Happily, it’s orangutan-safe as it doesn’t use palm oil from unsustainable sources.

Obviously, there’s no artificial fragrance, sulfates, or parabens in the bottle.

The handcrafted soap detoxifies and moisturizes the face and body. You can also use it as shaving cream.

19. Our Earth’s Secrets Raw African Black Soap

Made in Ghana, this bar soap is fragrance-free.

But it’s raw. If you rub the bar directly on your skin, you’re going to regret it. It contains tiny particles that are likely to exfoliate more skin than you’re ready to lose.

Rub it on your hands or loofah first, and then use the lather to cleanse your body.

The main ingredients include palm kernel oil, coconut oil, cocoa pod husks, unrefined shea butter, and other natural ingredients.

20. Aspen Kay Naturals Organic Turmeric Soap

Black skin is prone to hyperpigmentation. Acne breakouts and other injuries can lead to dark spots that take a long time to fade.

You can hurry along the process with turmeric soap. It’s a natural skin lightener.

What’s more, organic turmeric is naturally anti-inflammatory. It helps clear up acne and calm irritated skin.

The soap contains other organic ingredients like sustainable palm oil and unrefined shea butter. There’s also a little kaolin clay to gently exfoliate the skin.

21. Makari Naturalle Carotonic Extreme Skin Lightening Soap

Makari also makes a soap that fades discoloration. It exfoliates dead skin while it lightens acne scars and melasma.

Part of the magic comes from the mulberry root and the other from Vitamin C and carrot oil.

Keep in mind; the process takes time. It can take weeks to months to see the results you want.

Happily, the soap is packed with antioxidants and vitamins to encourage healthy skin and reverse signs of aging.

For best results, leave the lather on your skin for at least a minute before you rinse.


Take good care of your skin starting with the way that you wash it.

There are many moisturizing, and non-comedogenic body washes available. They are the best choice for most people no matter what color skin they have.

If you found a bath product today that you enjoy using, please tell us more about it in the comments below.


1. https://www.leaf.tv/5259240/how-to-take-care-of-black-skin/ by Jonae Fredericks, accessed April 13, 2020

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22453583 J Drugs Dermatol. published 2012 Apr;11(4):466-73. Top dermatologic conditions in patients of color: an analysis of nationally representative data, by Davis SA1, Narahari S, Feldman SR, Huang W, Pichardo-Geisinger RO, McMichael AJ., Accessed April 13, 2020

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4086530/ J Clin Aesthet Dermatol., published 2014 Jun; 7(6): 25–32. Moisturizing Different Racial Skin Types, by Derrick C. Wan, MD,a Victor W. Wong, MD,a Michael T. Longaker, MD, MBA,a,b George P. Yang, MD, Ph.D., a,c and Fu-Chan Wei, MD

4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325458  by Jayne Leonard, published June 13, 2019, accessed April 13, 2020

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