By Bethanie Hestermann
Sandra Lilia Velasquez of Nopalera supports luxurious self-care rituals with her line of Mexican botanicals for bath + body. Sandra’s signature cactus soaps are handmade with all-natural plant butters and oils, particularly from nopales (Mexican cactus).
Nopalera celebrates Latina culture and Sandra’s own Mexican heritage. We love it all—her products, her branding, and her no-nonsense approach to natural beauty. (Hint: You won’t find anti-aging products in this shop!)
Tell us about Nopalera!
Nopalera is Mexican botanicals for bath and body. On a mission to celebrate and elevate Latin@ culture. We take our inspiration from the nopal (Mexican cactus) for its resilience, cultural symbolism, sustainability, and versatility.
What is the meaning of the name?
Nopalera is the name of the cactus bush when it is in the ground.
What inspired you to create Mexican botanical bath + body products?
I noticed a severe lack of high-end bath and body products that spoke to Latinas. I found this odd since we are the largest minority group in the country. So I created one.
What ingredients do you use in your products?
I use a lot of plant butters that are great for your skin, but my star ingredients are the nopal pad, nopal oil (from the seeds of the fruit), and tepezcohuite, a Mexican tree that has been traditionally used to promote skin regeneration.
What’s the best part about creating your botanical products?
Knowing that it is totally natural and free from unnecessary ingredients.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Mexican culture and Mexican-American culture. The nopal is so Mexican it is on the national flag! It carries so much historical meaning. It is the most sustainable crop in the world. It can be eaten, made into textiles (vegan leather), used for skin and hair care, and it regenerates quickly. What other plant can do that?
What are your favorite scents?
I have a sensitive nose, so none of my products are strongly scented. I love citrus scents. Our cactus flower exfoliant makes me feel like I’m bathing in an orchard.
What’s your beauty routine?
Drink lots of water. Get lots of sleep. Make lots of love. Cleanse with minimal products. I love oil cleansing. I’m trying to get in the habit of wearing sunscreen.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate Latina culture?
Being proud of who I am and where I come from. Our legacy is the way we live our lives.
What is your favorite thing about the community you’ve created on your platforms?
People are really resonating with the mission of the brand, and that reinforces how much it was needed. Building community is one of the main goals for my company.
What is your favorite song(s) for boosting creativity?
Too many to name! But when I need motivation, I usually put on Earth Wind & Fire.
Is it difficult to promote natural beauty in a society that promotes and encourages unnatural beauty standards?
I think brands that promote natural beauty still participate in the wider culture of trying to “fix” people. I made the conscious decision to build a bath and body line instead of a skincare line, because I genuinely don’t believe in anti-aging or any of the products that go along with it. Washing your body is a very practical and necessary thing that I can get behind! I love making it a luxurious ritual. I love rituals.
What advice do you have for small business owners who are trying to create a thriving business?
A few key things: Make sure your product solves a problem; know who your customer is and what they care about; invest in branding; and understand margins and know your numbers.