If your hands could talk, do you think they will thank or detest you ? We use our hands how many times in the course of one day? Yet can we honestly say we give them the TLC they deserve? We might put some cream on them occasionally but often when they have already become dry. We have manicures but do we actually nurture the nails? That’s actually the question I asked myself when Nicola Dickinson, founder of Fresh Therapies, has sent me a surprise parcel which contained her new product, the Nail Elixir, a beautiful, bright, happy yellow in colour, the bottle delicately wrapped in tissue paper. As I held the bottle in my hand I asked myself why do we forget to nurture something on which, in part, depends an impression people form of us, as well as manifest the state of our health. A few years ago I used to go and have pedicures and manicures with a lovely Eastern European lady. She was efficient but very talkative, so I switched off and just nodded my head in agreement for part of the treatment. However there was one particular thing she said to me during one of the appointments that popped up to the surface of my memory when Nail Elixir landed on my ‘beauty’ counter. The therapist was lamenting how we all apply nail polishes yet don’t pay attention to how our nails look when we take the nail polish off. Her own rule was to stop using any nail polish in the winter months, applying nail oil daily and letting her nails ‘breath’ as she put it. Doing that made her feel like a woman she said and if you think for a moment it might make sense -a true woman is in small details, she might not be the most fashionable but she will always look immaculate, like Mary Poppins, from the top of the head to the toes.
But back to Nail Elixir, which Nicola developed based on her customers feedback. You can use it as often as you like during the day, but Nicola says it’s best to use it before you go to bed, as that way you can be sure you won’t wash it off. Put a small drop from a pipette on your nail plate and massage it in, including the cuticle and under the nail free edge – that advice was a first for me. If you pay close attention to your manicure you can distinguish a good manicurist from the average one based on whether they apply the nail polish on the nail free edge or not-when they do, a manicure looks complete and lasts longer. The same thing applies to the application of the Nail Elixir. When I was testing the product one drop was ample enough for five nails, as it has a wonderfully rich consistency that feels like a liquid indulgence!
When I asked Nicola what inspired her to create this nurturing nail marvel her reply was: ” I was being told by many ladies that their nails were getting dry and brittle over the winter period. Although they were taking fairly good care of their hands, they couldn’t find a solution. Ladies who have false nail coatings, like Shellac, were complaining of the same issue, so this made me decided to make a suitable nail and cuticle oil. I was constantly telling them to buy a suitable oil and then thought to myself ‘this is silly, I’ll make my own and prove to them the difference it will make’.
Can this Elixir be used on the toes? Of course, says Nicola! ‘Toe nails go through just as much as finger nails do. We keep them wrapped up in socks and boots for most of the year here in the UK and really do expect them to look fine and dandy when the sun shines. Toe nails are really neglected! Cutting them is not the only care and attention they need. Cuticles tend to be a little more over-grown and thicker for some people, which can lead to splitting and rougher areas, so the oil is great to help soften and nourish them’.
In addition to Rosemary Leaf Extract, Limonene, Geraniol, Farnesol and Citral, the ingredients listed below are certified organic:
Jojoba – benefits many skin types, including problematic, like psoriasis and eczema. It is non-greasy and permeates skin very quickly, acts as moisturiser and softener and it’s beautiful golden colour reminds me of Pharrell’s hit song that was hard to get out of the head last year .)
Apricot – is known for its protective properties due to being a great emollient. It is quite nourishing and benefits sensitive and ageing skin.
Neroli – helps to stimulate the growth of healthy new cells and has antiseptic properties.
Frankincense – effective in helping to heal wounds and sores, including the cuticle area.
Before I started using this product I asked Nicola if the elixir can be used on top of the nail polish and she told me that her usual reply to customers is to use it around the cuticles and under the free edge of the nail ( the part that hangs over the finger edge ). ‘Just by massaging the elixir into the finger will promote blood flow to the area, which in return will bring nutrients to the nail matrix. The oils will penetrate into the surrounding skin, keeping it looking healthy and as the nails grow, the ‘back’ part of the nail which will be new growth, will benefit immediately’.
I know that I am not alone in applying the hand cream to the nails as well sometimes, so I did put the question of hand cream vs nail elixir in terms of their benefit for the nails to Nicola who told me that ‘nails have 10-30% water content which helps them be flexible. Many hand creams are likely to have water content in them, which can penetrate the nail easier than the oil, however the oil content of the Nail Elixir will also help prevent the loss of water content from the nail, as water evaporates quicker than oil. So if you are applying a hand cream in a warmer weather or to a warm skin the evaporation of water will be quicker, while oil won’t evaporate quickly at all’.
As I was testing this product I wondered if it was developed with weak nails in mind, of which many women complain irrespective of the age, or was it created in order to fortify & improve the general condition of the nails? According to Nicola, it was a combination of many things. Her clients kept mentioning their weak, dry and brittle nails, especially that nurses she sees in her practise on a regular basis ( this can be blamed on constant hand washing in highly alcohol concentrated hand sanitisers that are used in hospitals & GP surgeries ). Women who use Shellac complain of the same thing, as their nails are damaged during the removal, when nails are soaked in acetone. Nicola, for her part, noticed an unfavourable change in her own nails from handling all the packing associated with packing of the orders.
While developing Nail Elixir Nicola assembled a focus group, which included women with varying nail types, including good, normal and bad and their feedback was quite impressive. I started to notice a difference in my own nails after about three weeks and applying the nail elixir practically every night. My nails started looking ‘pinker’ and even though I continued washing the dishes without the gloves, my nails seemed to be stronger and weren’t breaking as often. The fact that the product is a natural one and really does nurture my nails reinforces a good habit of using it regularly and it is one of these little habits that over time does make a difference to the look and feel of your nails. A fragrant & nurturing night-time companion that should be a keeper – what do YOU think?
For more information about Fresh Therapies & the products, please click here
Fresh Therapies nourishing Nail Elixir £11.95 for 10 mls