African Black Soap

I read this article the other day that quoted pregnant Victoria’s Secret model Marisa Miller as saying she’s been reliant on African Black Soap to keep her skin clear while pregnant. I don’t know about you, but when a gorgeous woman who makes a living off of her looks says she uses something, I tend to take that recommendation and write it down. Here’s what the luminous lady had to say in her Allure interview:

“When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing that had to go was the acne medicine and chemical-filled face washes and lotions. I made sure everything was natural and organic, and I started reading blogs by other pregnant women. Everyone was talking about African Black soap. It’s made out of plantain ash, vitamin E, and shea butter, and it worked really, really well. I felt so weird using soap because you think, Don’t use soap on your face. Use a cleanser, something fancy. But I haven’t had a breakout since my first trimester.”

After working for years in the spa industry, I’m drawn to organic and good-for-you products but at the same time I usually resort to products with chemicals to get results faster (tsk tsk, I know).  So, upon learning this model’s skin care stance (and happy she addressed the whole “bar soap? really? on your face?” issue), I immediately dug around online and found out that Dr. Oz even touted African Black Soap in his “Erase 5 Years From Your Face” segment, during which he recommends using the rich lather from the bar soap every few days and advises you can get it at vitamin and health stores for around $4 (yay!).  Side note: did you know that Dr. Oz has a site of beauty and wellness products called I discovered it when they started promoting one of my favorite brands, One Love Organics, and was happy when they began selling my favorite lip balm, the Lip Slip by Sara Happ — also featured in my stocking stuffer roundup.  Here are a few sources if you’d like to give this wunderbar (couldn’t help myself, sorry) African Black Soap a try:

African Black Soap Skin Care products

1. Cleopatra’s Choice African Black Soap – Unscented via Cleopatra’s Choice ($4.99 for 4oz.)
2. Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap via Target (prices vary for 3.5 oz.)
3. Shea Terra Authentic African Black Soap via Beauty Sage ($8 for 5oz.)
4. Dudu-Osun Black Soap via Amazon ($14.88 for 6 bars)

Have you tried African Black Soap or do you have any simple skin care secrets to share?


P.S. I also found the Dudu-Osun Black Soap on (um, lifechanging site, right?) and there are lots of promo codes for discounts if you’re a first time shopper…check it out! (and try not to go crazy on dog food, toilet cleaners, and pretty much anything else you could ever need delivered right to your door. Because I did.)


A dose of spa delivered to your door

Isn’t it funny how sometimes just what you need — even if you don’t know exactly what it is that you need — sometimes finds its way straight to your doorstep? In this case, for me, it literally did arrive on my doorstep.

A few days after Mumbles and I got back home from Virginia, I was feeling a bit out of sorts having quit my job to temporarily head to the east coast with him and Baxter. For the past four years, I’ve been completely absorbed in the spa/wellness/hospitality industry and when we came back home I was suddenly missing being around it all, talking about it, strategizing, writing, and working with industry leaders. From fresh, organic food, gardens and sustainability, fitness, spa treatments, and oh, the beauty products! I missed it all. Gah! The beauty products! (believe me, I wasn’t the only one this sad about losing my connection to awesome spa products. BFOTB was bummed as well, along with just about everyone on my Christmas list!). So, it’s funny that just when I was missing the best of all the perks from my career life for the past few years, a package appeared on my doorstep delivering just the happy dose of spa I needed!

my first yuzen box!

Yuzen (you-zen) is a monthly subscription service similar to Birchbox, if you’re familiar, that packages up a variety of wellness-related products and delivers them to your door. What might make Yuzen a better service is that the products are full-size lifestyle products including beauty, household, snacks, and some samples whereas Birchbox delivers just beauty samples–purposefully–so you can try new things on the cheap ($10/month) and discover products you like.  I was lucky enough to receive a 3-month subscription to Yuzen as a farewell gift from some of my favorite coworkers at the spa and each month I dive into the box excited for what I’ll discover. The first month, I was beyond delighted to receive a full-size face moisturizer with spf from my favorite go-to daily organic sun care line, Coola, which is based in sunny San Diego.

one of the great products
I received in my second yuzen box

Some of my other favorite products I’ve received in my two Yuzen boxes so far are:

  • Pangea Organics — I love putting on face masks at home, especially the ones that are dark and very clearly show up on your face, practically begging you to slice up some cucumbers, wrap your hair in a towel, pull on a plushy robe and kick back for a while listening to Enya. This Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask is that mask.  Even if you don’t zone out to the Enya, you’re sure to ease up a bit and maybe even laugh once you have the greenish/black mask staring back at you in the mirror.
  • Cowgirl ranch hand cream — I’m a sucker for cuticle products and hand creams so this hand salve was an interesting one for me.  It’s a solid and smells great.  You take the product in your hand to warm it up, then spread on hands, cuticles, and I even slathered it on my elbows, heels and knees.  A great gift idea for gardeners and crafters who perhaps burn their hands with hot glue guns on a weekly basis.  I also received what looked like a great cleanser, which I happily gave to BFOTB so she could enjoy the pleasures of spa products once again! You can find Cowgirl Skincare products on their website or at
  • Calendula Comfrey Remedy Balm Stick — I learned about the wonderful benefits of calendula at a spa conference a few years ago but I haven’t really found any products that I’ve liked as much as I love this stick. I keep it in my purse and use it on everything – lips, cuticles, dry patches of skin, bug bites, scratches…everything. It goes on smooth and adds some shine to the lips without any stickiness, smells familiarly like the spa (maybe that’s just me), and is full of good-for-you stuff.

It’s super easy to gift 1 month ($26, cancel any time) or 3 months ($78) of the Yuzen box to friends, family, yourself, or anyone you’d like to surprise with a thoughtful, fun package that’s a delight to receive. The box is packaged gorgeously with fine paper, ribbon and filling that you can keep in the box or transfer into a basket or another cute container.  For more information, visit the Yuzen website.

Do you receive a monthly product subscription that brings you joy?