Uasau Soap: Inspired By Inuit Traditions and Wisdom

Small Business Canada

An Inuit Tradition

For the Inuit, the bowhead whale has always held immense importance. It has been integral to their survival. It provided food and fuel for them across the North and even transportation as it fed their huskies, the primary mode of traditional Inuit transportation. 

A single whale could feed an entire village for an entire year. The whale was a bountiful source of income in a place where resources were scarce. The nutrients provided by the whale allowed for a healthy diet in the face of food scarcity.

Inuit demonstrated their deep reverence for the bowhead by using every last part of the animal and hunting them in a sustainable and humane manner. The Inuit and the Bowhead have a long history that predates written history and continues to this day. Hunters still recognize some whales across decades by the whales’ scars.

Bowhead Whale oil has a sacred tradition in Inuit culture. Qulliqs, lamps carved out of stone and fueled by whale oil, were originally used for survival and heat. Today, they are an important symbol of Inuit perseverance and culture. 

Elders told stories over the warm glow of qulliqs, and today lighting ceremonies continue to honor the value these whales brought to the Inuit. 

Handcrafted Sustainable Brand

The Inuit still uses bowhead whale oil in many of their products, bringing the healing properties that served the Inuit so well in the past into today’s modern world with sustainability and great respect.

In 2012, Uasau Soap was founded by Bernice Clarke as a handcrafted and sustainably sourced brand that creates Indigenous soaps with traditional Inuit practices. She started using rich, luxurious, exotic butter to combat dry skin caused by Nunavut’s dry desert climate.  

Uasau Soap (pronounced ooh-ah-sow) is a Nunavut-based company that draws inspiration from prehistoric Inuit tradition and the Nuna. Nuna in Inuktitut refers to everything found on land and at sea, including water, ice, animals, plants, rocks, and even the spirits and memories of their ancestors. Each of their handcrafted small-batch products refreshes and nourishes your skin by capturing the Nuna’s charm and wisdom.

Uasau Soap uses natural, sustainably-sourced local ingredients to craft each product, which includes essential oils, butter, and colorants, through sustainable and traditional practices.

Organic Indigenous Ingredients  

Uasau Soap uses essential oils that are 100 percent pure, certified organic, and certified fair trade. The oils, also used in aromatherapy, come from various flowers, fruits, leaves, bark, roots, herbs, and spices. 

Carrier oils also referred to as vegetable and base oils, are extensively used in aromatherapy as they ‘carry’ essential oils in dilution for therapeutic applications.

They use various kinds of butter that offer a range of benefits for the skin. Shea butter is non-comedogenic and penetrates deeply into the skin, leaving a smooth, satiny finish. Macadamia butter, high in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, has a creamy texture, making it perfect for dry skin. In addition, it leaves the skin hydrated and smooth. Aloe Butter is a rich blend of aloe and non-GMO soy butter, resulting in an odorless, soft white butter with a richness that melts quickly on contact with the skin.

While sweet almond butter blends sweet almond oil and non-GMO soy butter for a rich butter with dense viscosity, lemon oil butter combines lemon’s bright, zesty aroma with non-GMO soy butter to keep skin hydrated and smelling clean. Olive butter is very high in vitamins and a wide variety of nourishing fatty acids. In addition, its rich and smooth texture deeply hydrates the dermal layers.

Mango butter is rich in antioxidants, emollients, and Vitamins A and E, which soften and moisturize rough and dry skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines. In addition, cocoa butter is an excellent moisturizer, as it readily melts on the skin and locks in moisture to keep the skin hydrated.

Each of the Uasau Soap colorants contains a half-ounce of non-bleeding pigment in a vegetable glycerin base that is water-soluble, safe, and non-toxic.

Rooted in Indigeneity

Uasau Soap is active and responsible in its local and global communities. Their logo depicts an Inuk mother with a baby in her amauti lighting her qulliq, a traditional stone lamp that burns whale blubber to provide light and warmth in the igloo.

Their work is guided by Inuit Qaujimajatuqangi (IQ), the traditional knowledge of the Inuit passed on through generations. Their soaps use materials harvested using traditional methods, ensuring that no part of the animal is wasted when they gather for their soaps. They use the animals in Nunavut for food, fuel, and life and follow traditional beliefs. Each of their products reflects this IQ.

Uasau Soap is made to pamper yourself with their luxurious products and rich, varied fragrances. In addition, it is also a strive to learn about and gain an appreciation for Inuit culture. 

As Inuit and an entrepreneur, Bernice Clarke is on a mission. She acknowledges that the Inuits are emerging from a dark chapter in their history, washing off the shadows and pain of the colonial legacy, reclaiming their traditional wisdom and strength, and reconnecting with their ancestors in the modern world. 

Healing themselves includes sharing their story and ways of life with the world. Uasau Soap is one way she hopes you will let yourself be transported to the Nuna by feeling whale blubber, seal oil, or arctic seaweed on your skin.

Uasau Soap has stories that precede Canada. To learn more about their products, visit their website at

Indigenous businesses are deeply rooted in the Indigenous culture and draw their inspiration from their roots and wisdom. To read more about these businesses, subscribe to Indigenous SME Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check our Twitter page @IndigenousSme.

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