Looking for a long-lasting, effective and gentle acne-fighting soap? The Erborian Black Soap is the way to go. Read on to see what we thought of it!
As much as I love walking into Lush and smelling every colorful soap on display, I never buy a soap to use in my facial skin care routine. Even if it’s free of harmful chemicals you’ve probably heard of like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), it’s likely that a soap will disrupt your skin’s acid mantle and dry out your skin, which is something you always want to avoid, regardless of your skin type.
But when I saw this video on how to treat hormonal acne, something about the Erborian Black Soap stood out to me. While I rarely get major breakouts, I have combination skin, so the fact that there was a soap made specifically for your face that removes excess oil without stripping your skin of its natural oils made me curious. I’m also a personal fan of Erborian’s products (my favorites include The Ginseng Infusion Total Eye and Blanc D’Essence (which has yet to make it to the stateside). Once I convinced myself I could even share the Black Soap with my sister, I decided to purchase it and see what it does for my skin.
Since I’m usually skeptical about using a soap on my face, I made sure to check the ingredients list for the common ingredients that cause breakouts. The only thing that is fine for my skin but could concern very sensitive skin types was fragrance. I don’t mind a bit of fragrance in cosmetics, as long as it comes in small doses, but that is strictly personal preference. If fragrance tends to irritate you, then use this soap with caution.
Positive ingredients worth noting are charcoal, which draws out excess oil and impurities that can clog your pores, and shea butter and and licorice root extract, which hydrate the skin. Also on the list is Centella, my current favorite ingredient that evens out skin tone. All in all, the ingredient list seems promising and together, they gently and thoroughly cleanse your skin without drying it out like most soaps do.
A little bit goes a long way. When I use this soap at home, I keep it on a soap dish, and I wet only the top and rub it a couple times. This way, I pick up enough product to cleanse both my face and neck without having to spend a lot of time washing off the product.
On my skin, it feels very gentle, almost like a gel cleanser. The scent is not overwhelming, and it reminds me of a forest with a hint of something musky. Once you rinse it off, your skin does not feel squeaky clean, which is what makes all the difference because you never want to make your skin squeaky clean. Doing so may give you the impression that you’re doing a good job thoroughly cleansing your skin, but what’s actually happening is that you’re making your skin dehydrated by stripping off moisture.
In case you’re curious as to how much it foams up, here’s what it looks when I thoroughly rub it, though as I said, you don’t need to create so much foam to get the full cleansing effect:
As for the cleansing power, as I demonstrate on my hand, just one wash removes foundation, lipstick, and water-resistant (but not waterproof) eyeliner:
For a water-based cleanser, I can say that the cleansing power is impressive. But that doesn’t mean that you should double cleanse with this soap alone. I’ve tried that a few times just to experiment, and I’ve found that doing so does remove most of my makeup but also leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean, aka dehydrated. It’s much more convenient to do the traditional double cleanse and start off with an oil cleanser.
What I noticed long-term:
I started using this soap at the end of summer, when I had larger pores and more noticeable blackheads—the common casualties of a summer in New York City. While the Black Soap didn’t pluck out all my blackheads in one go, it did help keep them under control. Because it does a such good job cleaning my pores, my pores appeared less visible. I can confidently say that using this soap consistently makes your pores and blackheads less noticeable, though it would be unrealistic to say that your pores and blackheads will disappear completely.
Since this soap is not drying on the skin, I’m still incorporating the Black Soap into my skin care routine well into autumn. But when winter comes, I’ll probably lean more towards a gel cleanser or an even lighter foam to moisturize the dry parts of my face.
I wouldn’t recommend this product if you have very dry skin, not because it’s drying but because there are other water-based cleansers out there that are geared towards nourishing dry skin. But if you have normal skin, this soap would be a great choice for the warmer months. Of course, if you have combo or oily skin, and you frequently deal with blackheads and enlarged pores, this soap would be great to use every day.
Another unexpected perk of this soap is that it lasts a long time. I double cleanse morning and night, and I still have half the product left over, after having shared it with my sister for two months. If you’ve ever been frustrated that your cleanser runs out too fast, you won’t have that problem with this soap.