I was sent this a few weeks ago and I thought someone was playing a cruel joke by sending me what looked like a mouldy fruit cake.
On closer inspection and reading the enclosed leaflet I derived that it is in fact a block of Ghanaian Black Soap from the lovely Coastal Scents. Here's the blurb:
"Black Soap contains no scents, preservatives or chemicals. It is processed in a small village in Ghana. The active ingredients include virgin palm oil and potash from the ashes of plantain leaves. Plantain is a rich source of vitamins A & E and iron.
This soap is said to relieve acne, psoriasis, eczema, oily skin and clear blemishes. Hmm... I was still not convinced by the cakey looking thing. "
I left it in it's bag for a week, thinking "Nah, mate I am not putting something that looks like a mouldy old Christmas pudding on my face"
Eventually, curiosity got the better of me. On opening the soap, there was no odour and it felt dry to the touch not sticky as I expected. I gingerly broke off a bit that was about the size of a penny and worked it in to a lather with some warm water. I applied the foam to my face and worked it around for a bit.
On rinsing and patting dry, I sensed no hideous reactions, dry patches or tight feeling skin like I get even with soap free soaps - just smooth and soft skin. I am pretty happy about that. I use a multitude of different facial cleansing products and this is pretty darn good at removing make up.
I am pleased to say that I also used it for bathing and washing my hair too, I would advise though to only use it if your hair is on the greasy side as it will leave it "squeaky" clean! I used it as an alternative to shower gel and it didn't dry out my skin either. However my fiance came out in hives but he doesn't like soap.
The only down side is the storage and that it isn't exactly visually appealing. The cake that arrives is literally as big as a Christmas Pudding so I cut mine up in to handy bar sized pieces and put the rest in a tupperware container. But it goes a bit soft after a few uses and looks rather unpleasant on the soap dish as it leaves a brown goo underneath...
If you can get past it's weird looking appearance and storage issues, you will be pleasantly surprised as how good it is as a cleanser.