"Behind every ingredient there's a person." With this simple philosophy, Isangs Hair & Body is on a mission to make products that respect your skin and human rights. 

Ana Fernández Regal. 11/06/2015
Jabones Isang
Jabones Isang
Body Soaps Isangs Hair&Body. Click to buy

Suprisingly, making soaps can be a dirty business. It can contribute to river contamination and be a part of exploiting workers, just like many other business. Sundra Essien, founder of Isangs Hair & Body, wants to change this. She stopped her career as a human rights attorney to make her dream come true: starting an organic hair and body company with a more sustainable approach. And she’s never forgotten what she learned from her years as a lawyer.

The Luxonomist: How did all start?
Sundra Essien: I studied business and entrepreneurship for my bachelors degree and had a longstanding dream to start a small business. This dream was put on hold when I went to law school and began working in human rights, but resurfaced again after I had worked as an attorney for a number of years. At that point, I had been making hair and body care products (primarily as a chemistry hobby) for about 7 years and had gotten lots of positive feedback from friends and family that received products as gifts. From there the idea of Isangs as a business began to take shape. Isangs is essentially a merger of a number of different personal passions: human rights, hair and body products, and entrepreneurship. We have refined our concept a lot over the years, but the basic philosophy has remained the same: to create effective, genuinely sustainable hair and body care products at affordable prices.

Sundra Essien y su socio
Sundra Essien and his partner Lasse Munvad are the alma mater of Isangs Hair & Body. Click for more

TL: Sundra, you can see the influence of your experience as a human rights lawyer on your Brand.
SE: Thank you. My work in sustainable agriculture and as a human rights attorney has definitely been a defining influence in the direction of our brand. I’ve worked alongside small-scale farmers in a number of countries and I have a keen understanding of the fact that behind every ingredient we purchase is a person. I’ve also visited communities living off waters poisoned by agrochemicals and witnessed the devastating environmental impact of mountains of plastic waste that grow exponentially but never degrade.

When Lasse Mulvad, who’s the other half of the brand, and I started Isangs, our vision was to create a business that would be part of reducing these negative “externalities” traditionally associated with doing business. Whether we intend it or not, our consumption habits help to shape the world we live in. This goes as much for any business as it does for an individual. Our vision with Isangs is that every business decision we make reflect the world we want to live in.

TL: Where do you get the ingredients to make your soaps?
SE: We source ingredients from all over the world. This includes fair trade certified projects in Palestine, Ghana, Brazil, Madagascar, Morocco, and Kenya to organized farmer cooperatives in France to small scale farmers and craftsmen in Denmark and Germany. It is truly a global sourcing project and the time and energy we’ve put into our sourcing is a big part of what makes our products unique.

TL: What is about Denmark in your soaps?
SE: We source a number of herbs such as chamomile that we use to make extracts from small scale Danish farms. We are also in the process of developing some more accessories to compliment our products in collaboration with some amazing Danish craftsmen.

Champú Isangs Hair&Body
Shampoo Isangs Hair&Body. Click to buy

TL: In Isangs it seems really important offering a whole experience, involving people in the products. You even have an open space where people can witness the production process.
SE: Yes, this is extremely important for us. We’ve been really inspired by movements such as the ”slow food movement” and we want to bring similar ideas of connectedness to hair and body care. We want our customers to have a greater relationship to the entire life-cycle of their products from farm to production to the effects of the packaging when the products are finished. And that’s the experience we try to create.

TL: What is your source of inspiration?
SE: I draw inspiration for our products from everywhere. From old traditional processes to new research and chemistry studies to my own experiences. Sometimes, there’s a cooperative or a small farm we think is fascinating and we design a product around the raw materials they produce. We also have great relationship with our customers who let us know which new products they’d like to see in our line. So our customers also have a lot of influence on our creative process.

Jabones Isangs Hair&Body
Soaps for the face Isangs Hair & Body. Click to buy

TL: What do you think is the secret of your soaps success?
SE: We make great products and we provide great service. That’s the real reason people purchase our products. Our philosophy and our commitment to sustainability is a positive factor, but the reality is that our customers keep returning because we make products that work and that people want to use. That’s the real key to the word-of-mouth success of our brand.

TL: Is it possible to find your soaps in Spain?
SE: Yes, our products are available for sale on It’s a webshop based in Madrid with a similar commitment to sustainability. There you can find descriptions in Spanish and they ship all over Spain.

Laboratorio de Isangs Hair&Body
Isangs Hair & Body Laboratory. Click to discover the web

TL: You stand for good products at affordable prices. How can it be possible to offer this for a small company?
SE: We’re able to keep our prices reasonable by keeping our supply chains short, not working with distributors, and just choosing not to add unnecessary markups. It’s an important part of our philosophy to make great products for “everyday people” not just an exclusive few.

TL: Which product are you more proud of?
SE: That would be like asking me to pick a favourite kid. I love all our products. I use them all. If there’s a product that I’m not proud of, I stop selling it.

Jabones Isangs Hair&Body
Jabones Isangs Hair&Body

TL: Could you talk a little bit about design for Isangs.
SE: Lasse handles all our packaging and design. He puts an incredible amount of thought and energy into every little detail of the packaging so we don’t just create a product that feels nice, but also something that our customers like to have sitting in their bedrooms.

TL: What would they be your top tips for a healthy skin?
SE: Keep a simple and consistent skin care routine. Get plenty of sleep, eat well and exercise.

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