That’s the motto at Tvål Skincare, a specialty skincare shop located in downtown St. John’s. Inspired by the ingredients bestowed upon us by Mother Nature herself, and relying on natural fragrances and essential oils for those delectable, seemingly edible scents, Tvål has been catering to a loyal fanbase of customers who live for natural beauty products.
The art of beauty is a big business and for Tvål, and business is good. Set up in their new space at 151 Water Street, Swedish creator Anna Hellqvist and co-owner/director Bobby Bailey said the move came after the building’s owner decided to use the shop’s previous home for his own projects.
“It was a blessing in disguise, because we always felt like we needed more space,” Bailey says. “The new location is fantastic,” he added quickly. “Our customers are finding us and the response has been very positive. We plan on using the space for an even more expansive lineup of products.”
The shelves are already boasting a full line of fruity and floral skincare products, from hydrating lotions to bubble baths, exfoliating scrubs, bath treats … the list goes on. Tvål, which is Swedish for soap, also has an extensive line of mineral make-up products and facial skincare products, with cleansers, face masks, moisturizers, scrubs, and more, all scientifically engineered to cater to every kind of skin.
There’s also a seemingly endless selection of soaps, with both staple scents and limited-time-only creations begging to join you in the shower.
With the St. John’s shop supplying the North American fan base, Hellqvist takes care of business on the other side of the pond, satisfying the shop’s European customers from her home in Sweden. “It started out when I was a teenager,” Hellqvist shared, recalling Tvål’s beginnings. Her grandmother bought a how-to book about creating natural face masks, cleansers and toners and Hellqvist was immediately in love.
“I picked calendula, wild mint, chamomile and dried them and then I spent the rest of the year making products. This made me even more interested in biology and chemistry so that is why I chose that path in school,” she explained. Hellqvist earned a PhD in Biology (Functional Morphology at the Zoology Department) at Stockholm University in 2003.
So how did a Swedish “soaper” end up with a storefront in the heart of downtown St. John’s? On top of her good taste in skincare products, Hellqvist also has good taste in men – she is married to native Newfoundlander Jason Bailey. This marriage eventually led to Tvål recruitment of Jason’s brother Bobby Bailey, a former MAC make-up artist in Toronto, to run the business on the island.
With Hellqvist’s education and Bailey’s years in the beauty biz, the shop has built a fiercely loyal clientele, adding new customers all the time.
“The recipes are carefully crafted, and it takes a long time to develop a product. I think my background in science helps me be methodical, and it also helps me to combine ingredients that work well together because I understand their chemistry. We have a strong belief that “less is more,” and we want to avoid long ingredient lists since that will only increase the risk of a reaction by the user. Using high quality ingredients is also a must for us,” Hellqvist shared excitedly. “You can really tell when you use our products.”
Check out Tvål Skincare’s new storefront at 151 Water Street or visit them online at tvalskincare.com.