An Interview with Nordea The Handmade Soap Queen Pt 2


Above: CERVEZA CON LIMA soap made with beer instead of water for lots of suds

If you haven’t read Part 1 of my interview with Nordea The Handmade Soap Queen you can check it out HERE. In this part Nordea and I discuss “natural” hair for Black women, unisex soaps and learn more about Nordea’s handmade soap and body products.

Above: Nordea's Soaperie logo, Below: Nordea with soap
There are parallels between Nordea’s Soaperie and the very successful beauty company Carol’s Daughter or even Oyin Handmade. Was Lisa Price (a.k.a. Carol’s daughter) an influence on you at all?

I can’t say that they were a huge influence on me, but I have used their products- especially when I first cut my hair in 2006. I started making my own products because I could…and I am a firm believer in making things instead of buying them.

You have what we Black folks call natural hair. Was your hair never processed? Did you “go natural”? Are your decisions for your hair and your soap related?
Like many black women, I first had my hair permed right around the time I became a teenager. It was just the thing to do, and I never considered leaving my hair alone. I made the decision to stop perming the summer of 2005, after a bad color job, breaking hair, and a horrible weave to cover it all.

Click to enlarge

I was a “hot mess” and decided enough was enough. Right around that time, I started mixing different potions to put in my hair. Soap making is just something that I stumbled upon along the way.

Have you considered making hair products?
I have always made shampoo bars for myself, conditioners, etc. I believe in a lot of testing before rolling out new products, and I am a one woman show. Adding more products to the mix might be more than I can handle right now, but friends & family are always willing to be my guinea pigs.

I do have certain customers who use the whipped body butter on their hair. Some may use my soaps on their hair too. There are no set rules, if my soap works for your hair then stick with what works.

Top: Foaming Hand Soap Bottom: G.I. Jamie Soap: Unisex bar soap amber, cedarwood, & oakmoss, with a camouflage swirl.

The body butter is awesome! What are the pros and cons of your body butter over shea butter or commercial lotions?
I love shea butter, but found it a pain to apply to my body. It’s very stiff and hard to spread. I decided to mix the shea with other oils to soften it up and make it easier to apply. The whipped butter goes on smoothly, and melts on contact with the skin. The rice bran & coconut oil counteract the “heaviness” of the shea butter, so it sinks in quickly.

Commercial lotions are mostly water, so you tend to use a lot. You only need a little of the whipped butter since it is concentrated. I like to apply the whipped butter right after a shower. The body is still warm and hydrated, and the whipped butter is the perfect way to “seal in” the moisture.

Are your soaps unisex?
Sure…if you like it, then buy it. I have had men buy florals and other “girly” scents and I do have a bunch of soaps that I tend to recommend to men.

Oh What A Man! Soap: A sandalwood/patchouli blend, distinctive masculine scent

I always found that when a couple approaches my vendor’s booth, the men tend to stand off to the side looking bored. So I point out my “manly” soaps to them: my Beer Soap, and the sandalwood, which is named “Oh What A Man!” but is also my mom’s favorite.

What’s next for Nordea and Nordea’s Soaperie?
Just working on my solid shampoos and conditioners. I make them for myself, but not sure about the final ingredients & packaging. I may do a test run of these later on in the summer.

Why do they call you the “Soap Pimp”?
The term was more of an inside joke amongst other crafters I know, I prefer to be referred to as the “Soap Queen” since I don’t really beat up my soap if they don’t sell…lol!

Visit nordea-soaperie.com to purchase any of her products or find out where she will be in the country selling soap in person.

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