It was my first ever trip to New York City and we were staying with a college friend who lived in Harlem. He lived in a cool little walk-up above a neighborhood bar, on Manhattan Avenue. It was a sunny afternoon, my husband and I explored as much of Harlem as possible. Strolling along the world famous 125th Street, I felt right at home. The street vendor scene reminded me so much of Port of Spain, Trinidad. The heady experience of shopping in the People’s Mall, along Frederick Street, Henry Street. The places I grew up loving. I felt that same energy. The scent of incense and throbbing bass of reggae and hip hop; perfumed oils and independent hair and body care products for sale. Everywhere I looked, the vendors were selling these boxes of soap that called to me – brightly colored and featuring ingredients that seemed nurturing and delicious. I bought as many as I could.
That began my love affair with Nubian Heritage, and my first discovery of the Sundial family of brands. It’s been so remarkable to watch their growth!
Sundial Brands and Nubian Heritage has quite the “only in America” success story, in case you didn’t already know.
I first became familiar with Nubian Heritage soaps in 2008, but the brand has been popular for much longer than that. Their story dates back to 1991. CEO Richelieu Dennis was born in Liberia, came to the US for business school, and when he graduated in 1991, he couldn’t go back home because of civil war. He was fresh out of college, without a job and unable to go home. He partnered with his best friend and college roommate, Nyema Tubman, and co-founded Sundial with Nyema and his mother, Mary Dennis.
Nubian Heritage started it all, offering an underserved market African Black Soap and shea butter-based products that were of high quality and ethically made, with a Fair for Life social and fair trade certification. And the rest — as they say — is history. Sundial has become one of the fastest growing hair and bodycare brands in America, but to this day you can still find Nubian Heritage soaps for sale on 125th Street, where it all began. Nubian Heritage has become one of the fastest growing body and haircare brands in America, but to this day you can still find Nubian Heritage soaps for sale on 125th Street, where it all began. Now the brand is also available at Ulta and other retail partners nationwide.
The first Nubian Heritage products I tried were bar soaps, but the brand offers so much more! They make amazingly effective, creamy and moisturizing natural deodorants. They make rich and nurturing body lotions, soufflés and hand lotions. Their body washes are awesome. And their new body smoothies are a low-lather all-over cleanser that’s great for travel. I’m dying to try their bath bombs! Their products are sulfate and paraben-free, and all of the shea butter used in Nubian Heritage products is ethically sourced from 13 women’s cooperatives in Northern Ghana, as part of parent company Sundial Brands’ purpose-driven Community Commerce business model. And like their sister brand SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage comes in many varieties. Allow me to break the collections that I’ve tried all the way down for you, so you’ll know which to try first!
Delicious fragrance, made for exfoliation and moisture. The products in this collection use coconut oil for its skincare benefits, and the gentle exfoliation of papaya for fresh, youthful skin.
Abyssinian oil was made famous by the Queen of Sheba, and it’s acclaimed for moisturizing, reparative, anti-aging properties. Add the rich Omega-3 acids of chia seeds for nourishment and revitalization. It’s got a clean, woodsy, really pleasant fragrance.