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What is African Black Soap?

Here is a reader question on African black soap,

'I have been transitioning for the last year and recently came across a number of YouTubers who use and rave about AfricanBlack Soap. I really like that it makes my hair so soft and manageable when washing (and squeaky clean although I'm sure this means the natural oils are stripped). 

That leads me to my question.
1. What exactly is in Africanblack soap? 2. What in the soap makes my hair so soft? 3. Since it's so squeaky clean, should I be worried about damage/dryness?'

1. What exactly is in African black soap
The process of making a soap (known as saponification) involves two simple ingredients - oil and lye (sodium hydroxide typically). 
African black soap is also made from oil and lye. The big difference is the lye is  not sodium hydroxide but is instead derived from plant ashes (potash).  This plant ash is rich in potassium carbonate which is a fairly gentle lye compared to sodium hydroxide (Bioresource Technology, pp …

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