As per her business cards, ‘Tova’ means good. She’s good at what she does….. that’s a definite.
Tova Langhans has been in Uxbridge for the past 11 years and lives with her musically inclined husband, daughter and the family dog. She was drawn to the area to manage an equestrian centre but soon decided that she wanted to try being an entrepreneur again. A few years back she was a potter but unfortunately carpel tunnel in her hands ended that dream. She started making soap as gifts for her friends and that demand soon grew enough that she thought it was time to take the leap of faith. And so Tova Naturals was born.
To keep it simple, saponification (the art of soap making) is the name for the chemical reaction between an oil (or fat) and a base (lye) to form a salt (your soap!). Have I lost you? I know, I’ve lost myself. I am probably the furthest thing from a chemistry buff there is…..
All you need to know is that lye + Sarafino olive oil +water + essential oils = the best soap you have ever tried.
Lye was originally leeched from the ashes of hardwood trees but is now manufactured commercially. It is extremely corrosive so one must wear gloves, a mask and goggles when working with the substance. There are many different types of fats that will react with the lye and saponify. Tova chooses to use….you guessed it – Sarafino olive oil. Because each acid has a unique combination of triglycerides which combine with the base differently, it may take some trial and error. Tova originally started her soap making with palm oil but was finding it too dry on the skin. As she likes to put it “the sign posts in her life have put her on the right path” and she was introduced to Angelo.
As I enter her house I am instantly taking deeper breaths to inhale more of the spa like scent that is relaxing me as I take off my coat. She leads me downstairs to her soap making studio. Besides the fact that it is in her basement, I feel like I am entering some sort of bakery – shelves lining the wall are full to the brim with what look like large pieces of delicious fudge. The spa bars are split up into the different varieties and look chunky and homemade…not to mention the tranquil smell has doubled in intensity.
Soap is thought to go as far back as the prehistoric times. While cooking meat over an open fire it was quite common for ashes to make their way into the pot. After a rainstorm, a strange foam might have been noticed around the remains of the fire pit. Not only would the pot come out cleaner but whomever was on dish duty would have cleaner hands then usual as well!
Tova takes the process very seriously and after a few years under her belt she has it down to a science! Her experimentation’s have paid off and she has quite a few tantalizing varieties available – dead sea salt (good exfoliate that opens the skin to the olive oil), goats milk, frankincense and myr, oatmeal, vanilla, bergamot, lavender and grapefruit.
I was sent home with a small care package and tried it out right away. It’s not soapy in the bubble bath type of way. It’s more of a slippery feeling….which makes it ideal for shaving. It left my skin feeling hydrated and super soft.
From her ingredients to her packaging (her neighbour, Joe Coughlin co – created the matchbox like containers), Tova sees the importance in loca-vesting and knowing who you are dealing with in order to make a top of the line product.
Tova Naturals will soon be available through Sarafino!! For more information on purchasing please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about the soap making itself please contact Tova directly at email@example.com or 905-862-2111 or connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tovanaturals.