Every morning, Cynthia Henzler puts on a long sleeve shirt, apron and goggles, and heads downstairs to her workshop in Eagle, Colorado. She prepares her curing chamber and exhaust system for the day’s work ahead. Some may call Henzler a mad chemist, others may call her a soap maker.
“I always thought I was this crazy soap lady trying to make these high-quality products,” Henzler confesses. “But when my soaps leave my workshop, I know I’ve done my best.” Henzler opened Solandra LLC in December 2017 to offer Colorado-crafted, all-natural products that heal dry mountain skin. Solandra soaps and skincare products are not only environmentally friendly, but socially conscious.
Her method is self-taught. When Henzler presented her very first handcrafted soap at a family function, her brother said the soap block was too big; her sister-in-law added that the formula needed tweaking. Through sheer perseverance, batch after batch, Henzler’s products improved. In fact, her renowned lip butters started because a month into business, a friend popped into her shop to request a lavender lip product. It took a year to master the formula, but once she did, Henzler had created a chemical-free, organic lip butter that soothes the toughest of dry skin — and now it’s one of her bestsellers.
“Solandra personifies who I am,” Henzler shares, explaining the name comes from “Viking queen,” a nickname her partner had given her.
Her Aloha Soap contains ginger from a friend’s farm in Kauai, Hawaii (where she lived herself for 16 years). She dries and grinds the ginger and adds it to the soap to complement the coconut and cocoa butter properties. Mountain Forrest Soap is named after her nephew, Forrest. She sprinkles the top with harvested pine needles and the sparkly green mineral, mica. The Solandra lotion bars are infused with honey from Colorado Mountain Honey.
Not only do her products uphold integrity towards the environment, but also the community. Giving back is at the heart of her work with 15% of Solandra’s profits being used to donate soaps to those in need.
“I think it’s really important to give back when you can. Even if just a smile, or whatever it may be,” Henzler says. “Sometimes it just becomes without realizing it, but when you bless others, you get so blessed in return.”
Henzler donates her soaps to Bright Future Foundation, a nonprofit in Vail Valley dedicated to changing lives affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse, and The Salvation Army, through which she gets her products in the hands of Denver’s homeless youth. She also works with a women’s shelter in Fort Collins and another organization in California that aided firefighters this past summer.
“I’m proud that you can take my products wherever you go,” she says, adding it’s due to the eco-friendly nature of her products. “Use products that are authentic, not ones that try to cover anything up.”
Available online at SolandraLLC.com and local retail shops: Fill & Refill in Edwards, The Gilded Spruce in Vail, Vail Valley Pharmacy in Edwards and Knapp Harvest in Eagle.
Photos courtesy of Solandra.
Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2021 issue.