In West Africa women are still producing an herbal soap using recipes passed down from generation to generation. The women burn local ingredients such as plantain peels, cacao pods and herbs into ashes. They then cook local oils of palm, coconut and sometimes shea butter into the ashes for several hours in large clay containers until the soap is black. This produces black powder. Once water is added to the powder soap is formed. Sometimes the women take the crumbles and cook water into it forming a paste similar to Play-Doh. This is real soap ready to use. Or they sell the soap in the powder/ crumble form. This allows the user to add their own water. Once water is added to the powder one has genuine soap. True African Black Soap is real soap. It does not need to be added to lye to become a soap as is the case with charcoal soap.