The cactus has been firmly planted on the roster of chic interior design elements for quite a number of years now. As a set-it-and-forget-it dash of greenery, succulents adorn bookshelves, balcony planters, and all the nooks in between. We live in Texas where the succulent is supreme. We grow it and we eat it (sometimes right out of the planter much to Mom’s dismay), but did you know you can bathe with it too?
Sandra Velasquez does. As the owner of the first LatinX body care brand to be carried in Nordstrom stores, Nopalera, Sandra left a music career in New York and returned home to San Diego for a much needed break. She adopted soap making as a hobby, and started experimenting with a beloved childhood ingredient: nopales.
Nopales (also known as cactus paddies) are a meaningful and significant part of Mexican culture. The nopal cactus is la planta de vida – a life giving plant – and an ancient symbol of the Aztecs. Sustainable, abundant, and versatile, nopales nourish the body inside and out.
Nopalera’s soaps and scrubs are light on scent and heavy on moisture as well as cruelty free, palm oil free, and vegan. We made the Planta Futura Cactus Soap and Mandarina Cactus Flower Exfoliant into a stocking stuffer for Dad, and gifted the duo to my Aunt Shaina for her birthday. The soap’s subtle scent of lemongrass combined with a touch of tangerine from the scrub leaves your skin smelling like a supple citrus grove. The soap’s unique shape is a whimsical nod to that noble nopal, and the products’ vibrant colors pay homage to the richness of Mexican culture.
Nopalera is not just a celebration of the beauty of Mexico, but of the strength and passion of its women. This company joins an emerging force of female, LatinX owned beauty brands (see: Ceremonia blog post) that are rapidly diversifying today’s market. Much like the nopal itself, Sandra Valesquez is resourceful and resilient, endowing the next generation of LatinX entrepreneurs with hope and opportunity. From botanic to bar and shrub to scrub, luxuriate in the pure pleasure that is Nopalera, and soak up the warmth of Mexico.