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About Tvål & Our Philosophy

 A Brief History:

Tvål was started in 2003 by Dr. Anna Hellqvist and her partner, Dr. Jason Bailey. Both Hellqvist and Bailey had recently achieved PhD's in biology. Anna also had earned a Chemistry degree and an Esthetician's licence, plus she had 'many years of obsessive soap making', and cosmetic product development under her belt. 

Long before Tvål was ever created, Anna actually started on her path when she was just a child, making products with her Grandmother in Sweden, so the birth of Tvål was inevitable. Anna (a native Swede) met Jason (a native Newfoundlander, from Trinity Bay) in Sweden while they were both working on their respective degrees. When they were finished with their studies, the pair moved to St. John's, Newfoundland. Anna's lifetime dream came true when she opened up her little shop downtown, on Duckworth Street, with Jason, who was also working as a professor at the University, and as a Marine Biologist conducting research.

When the customers came into Anna's shop, and they tried out her beautiful formulations, the response was...amazement! It was more than Anna could have even dreamed of. She spent the first year constantly blushing (she is so humble:). But everything in her little shop was seriously SO very good! Back then, handmade products were not as widely available as they are now, and customers could hardly believe that such quality and beauty could be achieved, all by hand! It was 'gourmet' quality, by any standards. Tvål's growth in the first 6 years was astounding, with business doubling and tripling each year. Even now, with so many other brands on the market, Tvål's products still stand out. Why? They work. They are simple and affordable and they actually work.

So many of our original customers (thank you all, we love you!!) who started buying Tvål back in 2003 are still very loyal to us, and we don't take that for granted for one second! It is the best reward we could ever hope for. They love us, and they love our products, and we truly love them back! We are a 'humble' company, in a way, but we do love to be loved...and, who doesn't?

Joining Forces:

In 2005 Jason and Anna partnered with Jason's brother, Robert Bailey, who's background included a 14 year stint as a makeup artist and business manager for a very popular and successful makeup company. Robert has advanced business and marketing experience and training, and wonderful, enlightened creativity in everything that he does! When he first visited the shop, he was so beyond impressed and amazed by what Anna had created, he instantly decided he just had to be a part of it. He had moved from Newfoundland to Toronto when he was just 18 years old, but he left his 14 year career in Toronto shortly after that first visit to Tvål, and he moved back to St. John's, in his native home, Newfoundland and Labrador, to be a part of Anna and Jason's wonderful Tvål.


Now Tvål is almost 15 years old! We have raised a teenager! Our talented and happy team still love what we do, and we do it with an ever-growing passion! We especially love and adore our customers, and we have tons of fun every day at Tvål!! 

Drop into our shop, or call us or email us for anything you want to know. Join in on all the fun!

The Cosmetics/Skincare Industry:
The cosmetics/skincare industry have become, like almost everything else, extremely over saturated and this makes it 'overwhelming' for many people. The choices are almost endless  and everyone claims to have the 'miracle' products you've been searching for. Besides the thousands of different brands, the choices within each brand is often confusing and overwhelming too! For some, it is a 'turn off', and we suspect many people end up walking away in frustration. What are we supposed to even believe about skincare? There are so many 'amazing' ingredients used in creams and lotions and potions, and different reps and companies will educate you on'facts' about their product/ingredients that often contradict 'facts' from other reps and companies...and if you spend any time researching anything online, you will find even more conflicting information!! The cosmetics industry, in general, is notorious for making false claims, promising the 'miracle' in a bottle, and also misleading consumers into thinking that good skin care requires a lot of work, usually a lot of money, and often, a lot of different steps and products in a 'regime'. Bottom line: they want more of your money. Corporations are driven by increases, so they are always trying to 'beat last year'. They are never happy with 'good enough' or even 'incredible'. They still are mandated to beat 'incredible'. The cosmetics industry is also notorious for outrageous markups (amongst the very highest in any commercial industry), inventing pricing that reflects a false value they want you to perceive, but the cold truth is that the price tag usually doesn't reflect any reality about the actual product or it's respective ingredient quality. We know this first hand, as we use some of the best, and most expensive ingredients available - and we are a small company. Big companies, especially the 'giants' have huge buying power, and therefore can reduce there costs by buying everything they use in bulk. So, compared to a small company, the biggest cosmetics companies have, exponentially, the highest margins in their pricing. But they 'sell' the concept that the price is justified, when it is not, usually. They want you to believe that the $80+ cream is actually worth $80+. It's most likely not. It may cost as little as $4, or even less. If you look at the ingredients listings on the labels, you will discover that the 'expensive' or the 'key' ingredients (usually the ingredients that are marketed the hardest) are often far down on the list, meaning that only small quantities are used. They will use those good ingredients with (often) many other ingredients, which are used as 'fillers' or ingredients that serve as 'extenders' or preservatives. Remember, mass produced products need to stay fresh on shelves, in all kinds of conditions, for them to be sell-able for years.
Our Philosophy:
We believe that people want truth, honesty, simplicity, and good value when it comes to skin care. That may sound cliche, but we mean it.
For example, some skins do well with only a cleanser and a good cream that can be used day and night. Other skins may need more attention if there is acne, or irritations, or sensitivities involved  Some skins will benefit form extra products, if specific results are desired, such as Vitamin C to increase collagen production or lighten dark spots (pure Vitamin C is the only ingredient scientifically proven to do this), or Raspberry Toner for acne and for the various benefits of exfoliation. But, keep it simple. Being gentle to your skin, and not exposing it to too much 'trauma' can sometimes be the best answer. Also, remember that cosmetics can only address skin issues on the surface. Diet, exercise, good habits, adequate sleep, and especially drinking adequate water can all have very positive effects on the overall health and appearance of your skin. Remember, cosmetics are 'cosmetic', and not medicine. Otherwise, the regulations would be intense, and currently, the regulations for cosmetics is almost nil. Companies pretty much have free reign to say whatever they want, as there is very little to zero regulation in this area. Terms like 'hypoallergenic', 'anti-aging', and even the words 'natural' and 'organic' are used mostly as marketing buzz words, and should not be taken literally.
At Tvål, our products are made with love, and with extreme care, in small batches. We develop and make every product ourselves, using science paired with honesty and common sense. We make truly high quality skincare products that work! We use 90-100% natural ingredients (depending on the specific product) along with some safe man-made ingredients. If it is harmful, we don't use it. For example, we don't use Talc, Phlalates, SLS, harsh Sulfates, etc. We also don't try to 'sell' you on a complicated skin care regime, and we don't make outrageous claims about the ever-elusive 'fountain of youth' that society has convinced us we must pursue.
Our products practically sell themselves. Once you use them, you will see why. Remember...Life is too short to use bad soap! 
About Smink Mineral Makeup: 
It has taken us a long time to develop our 'Smink' (Swedish word for 'makeup') Mineral Makeup brand, and many formulas had been developed, tested and discarded! (Don't worry,  it was all completely natural, non-toxic and biodegradable.) Those formulas were all very good, but very good was not good enough. Smink Mineral makeup has so many advantages: we don't and will never use cheap 'fillers', synthetics, or preservatives, It can safely be used on even the most sensitive skins (it is actually even beneficial for your skin, as it protects, and provides minerals to the epidermis). Many other 'mineral' brands lack when it comes to application and wear ability, and that aspect is what we felt must be perfected. As a makeup artist, Bobby felt that the application and blend ability had to be smooth and the 'pay off' (intensity) of the colors had to be excellent. The perfect formulations were achieved when Anna and Bobby 'joined heads', as they say! Anna's advanced scientific knowledge, and her years of experience with handmade cosmetics (not to mention her avid makeup consumer 'savvy'-she's an addict) and Bobby's artistic and creative vision, and attention to detail has led to an amazing, quality brand that we are very proud of! We are just thrilled with Smink, and we hope that you will be too!