Monday, October 14, 2013

Major Hair Setback - My Dudu Osun Mishap :(

Hey guys,
Not too happy right now. All ramblings cut short, I'm going straight to the point. African Black Soap (ABS) really isn't a miracle product afterall. DO NOT believe the hype. I used it and I have lost lots of hair!

It was after I had this mishap that I realised I had previously had some misfortune with black soap/Dudu Osun. Ok, I shall do a bit of story-story. What's my blog without some story though?
Remember I told you a little while back about my battle with eczema? Several years back when I was in the university, I was battling the skin allergy all over again. Because my body always built (builds) a resistance to any product that worked against the allergy after some successes, that period, I tried using Dudu Osun, a black soap made in Nigeria. Don't get me wrong. ABS is naturally good. It is made from purely natural ingredients and is indigenous to many tribes that run along West Africa. It has always been known traditionally to cure skin ailments. When I was a kid, I used locally made black soap while bathing severally until it stopped working to stop the eczema and my mum moved to other alternatives.
Back to uni days. I used Dudu Osun (a packaged brand of black soap) in the hope of helping my skin allergy. It worked. Then stopped. After about 4 weeks of continuous use, the eczema was back with even more force than I had before I used the soap. I was confused. I went to the school pharmacy and saw the pharmacist and asked her to recommend me something else I could use. I told her about my experience with the Dudu Osun. That was when she warned me against using black soap. She told me in layman terms that the contents were too strong for many skin types and that it can be so drying that it robs your skin of moisture and kills the healthy bacteria on your skin's surface. As a result, your skin is not protected against allergies. She further warned me off antiseptic/medicated and strong smelling soaps.
Fast forward to 7 weeks ago. I had ran out of my Hawaiian Silk Shampoo. After an unsuccessful search about town for a non-sulphate shampoo, I looked to Youtube and the Worldwide web. I saw lots of roving reports on the wonders of Dudu Osun or African Black soap on natural hair. I had totally forgotten the warning I had been given about the soap and if I had remembered, I'm pretty sure I'd probably have excused it as skin being different from hair.
I used Dudu Osun to wash my hair. I even planned to do a review on it but I got lazy. I noticed that the soap washed out my hair a lot. Perhaps too much. I noticed a squeakiness to my hair after the wash. What I mean is, it was so squeaky clean that I felt my hair had lost all of its natural oils. It left my hair feeling stripped but I didn't want to think too much of it. I moisturised and afterwards, got weaves in for protective styling.

The weave was in for the next 3 weeks. I noticed my scalp itched from day one of installing the weave but I was too stubborn and the thought of the money I spent on it kept the hair in for 3 and a half weeks. I removed the weave. In the process of loosening the cornrows, I noticed a good number of hairs coming out. I put it down to shed hair. Although I wasn't sure if shed hair was hair from the roots/scalp or if it was broken midway as I noticed these hair strands seemed to be coming off the roots. When I got into the bathroom to washed the hair, I used the Dudu Osun again. Mistake number 2. During the wash, my hair started coming off with alarming volume. I mean my hair was falling off. Every time I put my fingers into the hair, it came away with hairs from my roots. Full complete strands! I was really concerned. I couldn't take any photos because I was immediately dropping the hairs into the WC as they were coming off.
I did the LOC method after the wash and braided (read calabarised) the hair in sections. The next morning, when I combed out the hair, it had become really obvious that I had lost a lot of hair. I found that none of the product I had put in the hair had penetrated. The hair was remarkably dry. So dry that when I separated the hair apart, my scalp hurt a lot. I found that although I had lost hair all over my head, a lot of the lost hair was concentrated at the top left part of my head. I could see my scalp through my hair. My hair had grown in length but I had lost a lot of volume.

After I put the hair in twists. Look how scanty it is

I freaked out actually. I was scared that it was something deeper that was only showing itself through my falling/uprooting hair. I consulted my doctor immediately. First question he asked after my freaking out was "Did you change your soap/shampoo recently?" I told him I did but I further told him I was sure that wasn't the issue. He insisted it was very likely the soap and told me to stop using the black soap and watch for the next 3weeks and then return to him. Honestly, I thought my doctor was just trying to get rid of me because he believes I'm a hypochondriac (rolling my eyes). I told my sister and she told me too that it had to be the soap and she reminded me that black soap is very drying and that was what probably happened. This was when I remembered my previous experience with Black soap.
I immediately went in search of some not so positive review on Black soap or Dudu Osun. That was when I came across this video: (I tried to copy the video here but it refused).
Thanks to DuchessGabrielle, I have been able to discover that black soap has a high alkaline content with a pH10! This is incredibly high and drying as the human hair and skin are about a pH4.5 - pH5! I was really stomped.
At this stage, I have decided to mostly leave the hair alone. (Maybe?) I am just generally weak and tired. This hair journey is filled with so many thrills and plummets. It's sad, really. But then, what can I do? I just know this is it for me and black soap of any kind.
Major lesson learned from all of these? Where it works for the majority, watch out. You may be the minority. Black soap obviously works for most people. Next time, I'd reduce my adventures to other areas of my life, leaving my hair.
We trudge on.
Stay beautiful and be cautious when trying out new products.

PS: 3 weeks have passed since this incidence and the hair loss has stopped and my hair is back to absorbing products. Needless to say I am back to battling Seborrhoeic dermatitis. My doctor and sister were right. It was the Black soap that caused it.

PSS: In my talk of leaving my hair alone, I have planned for about 2 months to do a henna conditioning highlight to my hair. I have planned it for this long. I will still do this. Just a little more cautiously. What can I say? I love to do stuff with my hair.


  1. so so sorry ma dear!! i feel your pain. after all the handwork you put into it and to loss hair just like that. it well just like a you tube guru always says that hair always grow back with the right treatment.
    try using the oil cleansing method for your face and try using tea tree oil.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Tea tree oil has always been a part of my regimen. My hair has bounced back now, thanks to lots of deep conditioning.

  2. So sorry dear, Try castor oil it helps a lot for hair loss. and follow me back please

  3. Hi there, glad to hear your hair has bounced back. Still, i would like to know how you used the black soap. Im presently using a black soap(not dudu osun, i use the purely natural one) shampoo and i dint experience any bad side effects. I was wondering if you used the soap alone. Without mixing any oils? That might have been what caused the hair loss. And apparently dudu osun isnt pure and has been mixed with some other non natural ingredients.

    1. Hello Ginika, thanks for stopping by.
      I used the soap the way I saw others use it on YouTube. Just like plain old shampoo. No oils. What you say about Dudu Osun may be true. But frankly, because I have had not so positive experiences with black soap in the past, I'm not too keen on it anymore. I do feel that if I use a product to do something which majority say it is supposed to do and then have to help it along with some other product (in this case, oils), that means there is something wrong with that product in the first place. This is just my opinion, of course.

  4. Hi i have nominated you for the liebster award
    check it out on my blog

  5. I'm so sorry about what happened to you, but I'm really happy you posted this! After my own experience with ABS where I thought I had scabies or something. I just noticed that my skin will have this tight feeling, not unlike after a mud session, my normally oily skin became flaky and I start itching all over with a sensation akin to a million mosquitoes biting me at once. One day, my mom found me almost reduced to the point of tears in my room, scratching like a mad person and she asked me what was wrong. After explaining to her that this was a fairly new experience which occurred post showers, she asked if I changed my soap. When I told her which soap I switched to, she ordered me to go put some oil on my body, down a tablet of piriton and to never use such again. Apparently, the lemon extract in most of these Black Soap is the cause of the side effects and lemon is very harsh!

    1. Thank you for this piece of information, Yos. I didn't even realise black soap contained lemon. I do know it is very drying and I am quite familiar with the dry, flaky, tight feeling on the skin. Glad you got yours figured out. Stay beautiful.

  6. I came across this post by accident and could not help but read your horrifying story. As women, we seem to always be on the lookout for a good (and in my case, a natural & gentle) cleansing product. I was doing some research on the Dudu Osum brand and noticed quite a lot of their hair products and cleansing products contain some unnatural ingredients. It takes quite a lot of researching when one is looking for a more natural approach to hair & skincare. I'd already added Dudu Osum to my "Do Not Purchase this Product" list. I noticed that a lot of these so called "natural" companies claim to have natural products, frankly, are liars. When in fact, their "all natural" products are full of chemicals or a mixture of natural ingredients and chemicals, (like Dudu Osum). It is indeed frightening and horrifying when our hair and body rejects a product that supposed to be natural. However, I was wondering if the weave you had installed after you used the black soap had anything too do with your reaction also. Maybe the weave reacted with the Dudu Osum black soap. A friend experienced a similar breakout after installing a weave. She had such a bad reaction that she had removed the weave 3 days later and went to a doctor who told her that he'd seen quite a few cases like hers and that he tells women who experienced a bad reaction to weave to be careful because some weaves are treated with chemicals and these chemicals often seeps into ones scalp and can cause anything from a rash to severe breakout to hair loss. So I thoughtperhaps you might have had a reaction to both the weave and the black soap. Maybe the black soap you used on your hair, caused a chemical reaction to your weave. Just a thought. I truly hope you are able to find treatment that works for your scalp and skin condition.

    1. You may very well be on to something, Azura. I never once considered it from that angle. Actually, that was the last weave I wore till date. The most I have done is wear wigs as I have discovered that my scalp is quick to react to many things nowadays.

  7. Thank God I saw this, I have been struggling with contact dermatitis for 6 years now, it comes and goes. I finally decided to go traditional after so many fails with medicines. I got one agbo like that and I was given dudu osun, I don't know how but the dermatitis started spreading and became worse, I still continued the dudu osun with hope that it willl dry it off, but now I know that it is not good

  8. Immediately after I rinsed Dudu Osun Black Soap suds from face, I was left with several raw pink areas on my nose and cheeks where the soap had removed patchy of otherwise healthy skin from my face! Nowadays, twelve years later, I still have slight areas of discoloration on the bridge of my nose from the chemical burns caused by that soap.

    After doing a bit of research I found that the problem with Dudu Osun is not that it contains "unnatural ingredients" but rather that it is "lye-heavy," meaning that the finished product still contains lye, and that this is likely due to an insufficient amount of fat being used during the saponification process. If a correct amount of fat had been used or if an acidifier had been added to balance the pH, the soap would not cause any more damage to the skin and hair than if you were using Ivory bar soap instead. Moreover, if an abundance of fat had been used, then the soap would "fat heavy," resulting in a rich and emollient bar rather than the drying and harsh soap that Dudu Osun has turned out to be.

    The fact that not enough fat has been used is either due to skimping on the amount of fat, inaccurate calculations for the amount of lye / plant ash used to saponify the fat, or a combination of both.

    Finally, I feel that need to impress upon anyone who reads this: "natural" does not equate to harmless. Poison ivy is 100 percent natural, and so is snake venom.

  9. I What cream or soap do you make use of now in battling your type of dermatitis? I am currently battling this infamous skin condition.

  10. Aveeno baby lotion is very good for dermatitis esp if you are atopic. Stop drying your skin with towels after bathing and apply the lotion while skin is still wet. Also stop using bathing sponge on your skin. You made some baby oil to the lotion

  11. Aveeno baby lotion is very good for dermatitis esp if you are atopic. Stop drying your skin with towels after bathing and apply the lotion while skin is still wet. Also stop using bathing sponge on your skin. You may add some baby oil to the lotion. Apply hydrocortisone cream before using Aveeno baby lotion for about 5 days if your case is really bad. Stick to the aveeno and baby oil.

  12. I was at a crossroad when I decided to checkup reviews about ABS and I got in here. I'm sorry to hear about your horrible experience with this products. I have been using ABS as hair shampoo for awhile now but recently noticed a change of colour and shedding. Could these be part of the adverse effects?


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