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Chandrika Soap

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I'm not big on the "natural products" thing that's gathering steam nowadays, I'll say that up front. But I have to admit that over the past year I've discovered some interesting options when it comes to bath soaps. And Chandrika Ayurvedic Soap is one such product. This unassuming little green bar has it all: it's cheap, smells great, lathers like a champ, and makes me feel fresher and cleaner after a shower than any soap I've tried in recent memory, and it's fast becoming my favorite. So much so that I plan to order a case when I run out.

The website claims that the formula has remained unchanged since it was originally developed in 1940 in south India by an Ayurvedic physician, and if this is true then I hope it never does. The box says it contains 7 essential oils; the website lists 6; but I know after a little research that it actually contains 9 main ingredients:

Coconut Oil (which accounts for 49%)
Orange Oil
Lime peel Oil
Patchouli Oil
Palmarosa Oil
Cinnamon Leaf Oil
Ginger Oil
Sandalwood Oil
Hynocarpus Oil

And all of these combine to provide a wonderful fragrance and clean-skin feeling. It's also known to help clear up a variety of skin problems. I first tried it because it was recommended for psoriasis-prone skin, but it also helped with the pimples on my back and shoulders. The ONLY downside is that sometimes it dries the skin a little. I say sometimes because at other times, it acts as a wonderful moisturizer (the Coconut Oil might have something to do with this). Anyway, the breakdown:

Price: It varies. Available for $.99 if you look, but I haven't seen it for more than $1.49 online. I found a 2-pack at a local Indian market for $1. It's also widely available.

Quality: Very basic, no frills. In India according to what I've read it's "Grade 2" soap, which gives it a bad rap because the Total Fatty Matter level is 65%, whatever that means. But you know what? It isn't any worse than other vegetable-based soaps I've used. It's just as good and in some ways better.

Latherability: Explodes with lather. Not as creamy as tallow soaps, but that's not a negative to me. You get plenty of suds which is what matters.

Moisturizing: Like I said, it's odd....sometimes this does dry my skin a little, but other times it doesn't. But with 49% coconut oil, it SHOULD do a good job.

Scent: Wow. Amazing. Absolutely unique. Clean. Fresh. Herbal. All these words apply and then some. I've never encountered any soap that smells so fresh and CLEAN as this. The scent is one-of-a-kind and lingers all day. NOT an incense-smell, just fresh and clean, with all the oils working in harmony -- there's a reason people rave about the scent. It's strong and fragrant though, so if that's not your thing, be warned (it does mellow out after a bit).

Efficacy: Cleans, refreshes, lingers...I don't know what it is, but a shower with Chandrika just makes me feel good. Almost like it surrounds me in an aura of CLEAN. I love it.

Latest reviews

You can find it at i-Herb. I also buy it from them (I live in Holland).
When I was in California (SF bay area) I used this soap a lot. It is very good and the smell is very pleasant. I'm now in my home state of Illinois and I miss all the Indian soaps that cannot be had here.

I gave it a 6 for moisturizing because it does tend to dry my skin about half the time. Weird. But even with that I still love this soap and would purchase it regularly if I could.
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Would this be found at a health food type store?

-- update: found and purchased at whole foods tonight ;)

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