Beyond being just a beauty, hygiene and home goods brand, Quebec-based TANIT is giving us all a way to rethink and replace the products we use daily, without compromise. Natural, vegan and promoting a zero-waste lifestyle, TANIT offers a variety of goods—from a toothpaste in tablet form to solid shampoos—to help us consume better, one step at a time. We chatted with founders Zohra and Mehdi—and we’re giving you a chance to win! —Vita Daily
Hi Zohra and Mehdi! Please tell us a bit about yourselves to start.
Mehdi: Hi! I am Mehdi, I came to Canada 12 years ago from Tunisia to study chemical engineering at Polytechnique Montreal. I have always been fascinated by chemical interactions and by mixing materials to create new ones. During my studies, I got passionate about the green chemistry approach, consisting in finding solutions that help industry to reduce waste. I’ve been sailing and camping since my childhood and, as an outdoor-lover, I fell in love with Canada’s big green spaces. Also, I produce electronic music that helps me to hold space both for myself and for others.
Zohra: Hi! I am Zohra, I also hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Polytechnique Montréal. I chose industrial engineering because I am a versatile, curious person always looking for new challenges. I also love science, probably as much as I love nature! Actually, I come from a family of doctors and medical researchers who have always believed in the power of natural remedies. I myself want to use only natural and eco-friendly products since I created my first organic beauty cream at the age of 16, with the tiny flowers and plants that I used to grow in my garden.
When and why did you launch TANIT?
In 2016, after working for big industry and quite sickened by the pursuit of “profit at any price,” we decided to travel. While we were in Bizert, known for its heavenly white sandy beaches on the shores of the Mediterranean, we were shocked by the huge amount of plastic waste that soiled these magical wild places. We took the initiative to organize daily trips in order to clean-up the beaches and coastlines. However, despite our best efforts, we soon realized that the problem must be tackled as its root. It was not enough to collect waste, we had to find a way to avoid it at the outset. We therefore decided to launch TANIT in May 2018, with the motivation to create high-quality natural daily products, manufactured with a maniac concern for reducing packaging and minimizing the environmental impact at every product stage.
What products do you offer, and what makes them unique/different from other sustainably minded personal hygiene, beauty and home cleaning products out there?
We mainly offer daily products crafted in a solid form, like shampoo bars, toothpaste in tablets or effervescent/soluble home-cleaning products. We also have minimalist beauty products such as precious oils that are 100 per cent pure, organic and cold pressed.We dev elop and formulate TANIT products in our own lab, following self-set strict standards. We could say that it is a great advantage because we have better control on the supply chain and on the products quality in the end. We also care about every pound of natural resources that we take from our mother earth and we ensure to make our process green from the production to the shipping of the goods to our warehouse. Our mission is to offer a complete sustainable solution to each problem, without compromising on:
- Effectiveness: We are constantly looking to nature to find substitutes for synthetic ingredients derived from petrochemicals without compromising on effectiveness. We work with our suppliers directly on the harvest and on the extraction processes to make the most of each active ingredient and try to bring out the maximum of the minimum. What we all need to know about natural extracts is that they are very similar to wine: they can change a lot with the seasons and with many other environmental factors, so it is very important to get involved in the early life cycle to ensure maximum effectiveness of the final products. Also, each of our products undergoes a series of tests which consist in comparing its effectiveness with its conventional equivalents. To be approved, it has to be at least as efficient. Finally, we cultivate micro-algae in our lab, such as spirulina or tetraselmis chui. These micro-algae showed countless benefits on the hair, skin and health. We use them for example in our shampoo bars.
- Sensoriality: it is very important for us to make people love and feel attracted by the products they use every day, that’s why we also focus on the products’ sensoriality: they must smell good, have a pleasant texture and be nice and fun to use.
- Convenience: TANIT products have to be easy to use, even for children. They are small and nomads, so they can be our best friends everywhere we go!
How does the concept of “removing the water” from products work/help?
The concept comes from a simple observation that we made: most of our everyday products are crafted with up to 95 per cent of water. There are three main problems with adding water. First, the best environment for bacteria’s growth is water. When you say water, you say preservatives, that’s why the industry is using chemical preservatives that can be very harsh. Second, adding water makes the product heavier and more voluminous (it needs more space in transport), which significantly increases the ecological bill. Water-less products are weightless, generating much less greenhouse from transportation. Finally, when we use products in liquid form, we need to bottle them, and it is often plastic that is used as packaging. And all of this, we definitely don’t need it. We thought: what a nonsense! We all have water at home. We don’t need to buy it and be a party to this waste. So, we simply tackled the problem as its root and removed water.
Tell us about your refill system; how does it work?
Our concept is to buy only one time the product in a bottle or a jar. Then, you can buy the same product packaged with biodegradable material to refill your container. For example: the packaging of our toothpaste tabs refills is made from corn starch, which makes it is 100 per cent compostable. And the good thing is, these refills fit perfectly in a standard mailing envelope. That means when we ship them, we can use regular postal routes, reducing our carbon footprint. The point is: the more you choose special options, the more you create new routes, the higher your carbon footprint will be. We also offer the opportunity to subscribe to our products and receive the refills in a standard mailing envelope, on a regular basis.
Do you have plans to add more products to your line? What will those be?
We have SO many products to add! We are trying to make the projects happen with suppliers because natural resources are not always available. For example, we are working on a whole range of new products for TANIT Home to offer a complete home-care products line, solid conditioners (each one suited for a specific type of hair), a mineral hydrating sunscreen enriched with our prickly pear seed oil that is reef-friendly and that does not leave any white residue, and many other traceless rituals!
Of all of your products, which is your personal favourite, and why?!
If we have to choose one product, it would be TANITABS, the toothpaste in tablets, simply because this product is a double win for us! First win: the formulation. It took us two years to find this perfect texture, which is non-granular and pleasant in the mouth, but also this foamy and tasty formulation that definitely makes it a real alternative for classic toothpaste! And what makes us particularly proud is that we replaced fluoride by nano-hydroxyapatite, which is a natural component that makes up 97 per cent of our teeth, showed to be even more effective than fluoride. It can re-mineralize teeth and help them become whiter and brighter. TANITABS are also formulated with Xylitol (a natural sweetener sourced from birch bark, proven to reduce tooth decay fighting the bad germs in our mouth), aloe vera for strong healthy pink gums, and grapefruit seed extract and natural spearmint flavour, to keep breath balanced and fresh at all times. We are also proud of the major positive ecological impact of this product. Because every year, near 5 billion of toothpaste plastic tubes end up in our oceans and landfills since most of them are impossible to recycle!
Win! 1 of 2 TANIT Zero-Waste Kits!
Congrats Tara J. of Mount Pleasant, ON, and Sar G. of Kingston, ON, who will each receive a $50 TANIT zero-waste kit! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.