Features, Health & Beauty, Life

The unvarnished truth

Nails are buffed, not painted in Cowshed’s new Detox Pedicure. It’s part of a trend for healthy, nurturing winter treatments, says Get the Gloss founder Susannah Taylor

It used to be that you would book a facial or pedicure to look good for a special occasion. But as we focus on detoxing after the holiday season, Cowshed spas are leading a trend for beauty treatments that boost our health from the outside in.

Take the new Detox Pedicure, which is the equivalent of a facial for feet. The aim is to heal nails and deeply condition craggy areas during the winter so that they’ll be ready for their close-up come spring. “The shift towards healthy living means people are a lot more active these days, and that can take a toll on our feet,” says Jess Sproson, Cowshed’s education and training manager.

In response to demand Jess has created a mega foot overhaul that starts with cuticle cutting, filing and lemon juice in oil to brighten the nails. The manicurist then uses an electric file to rid the feet of any hard skin (way better than a pumice stone) and a hardcore exfoliator to buff it even softer. Finally, the toenails are left clean and polished to a high shine.

“Having a break from varnish is very healthy for the feet, while buffing helps the nail bed circulation, removes any stain and helps the nail treatments and strengtheners to absorb better,” explains Jess. Buffing rather than polishing also shows off the skill of Cowshed’s manicurists, and is regarded as the gold standard in beauty circles –- some top professionals, like Bastien Gonzalez (who does Gwyneth Paltrow’s pedis) and Georgyanna Giardini (the top choice in Hollywood), choose to avoid polish altogether, buffing nails into shiny, pink seashells instead.

For those who can spare the time and money, another really good idea is to book in for a monthly, deep-cleansing facial like the Urban Warrior Pollution Proof facial by the aromatherapist Année de Mamiel, available exclusively in the Cowshed spa at The Ned. Designed to combat the effects of air pollution from city living, it involves a deep-cleansing ritual to increase circulation and energise the face, while a jade roller tightens the pores.

The treatment uses Année’s Atmospheriques range, which she has created with powerful natural ingredients to leave a breathable shield on the skin. “We are living in ever more polluted times. Air quality is plummeting and we spend more of life exposed to blue light radiation and this ages our skin in a particular way that needed addressing,” Année tells me. “Using new methods to drain, deeply cleanse and release the tension in facial muscles enables an increased blood supply, feeding the cells and allowing them to eliminate toxins more effectively – the result being a brighter, more dewy complexion.”

That’s the thinking behind the spa treatments – but what can we do at home? For those of us living in cold, wintry locations, taking some time each day to pamper ourselves with a Hygge-style beauty regime can feel very nurturing.

As a beauty editor who has tried most products on the market, I’d advise taking your skincare routine back to basics. Beauty products have become so complicated of late that people are experiencing more skin problems than ever before, so the real skincare experts are focusing on simple regimes and cleansing in particular.

If you are still using cleansing wipes, ditch them (they hold a large amount of bacteria) in favour of a gentle cleanser. An effective cleanser doesn’t need to be aggressive, as this in turn causes breakouts and skin problems. Since I have ditched the electric face brush and harsh exfoliator in favour of a gentle cream cleanser and a simple moisturiser or oil, my skin looks and feels far healthier. Now all I need is another Detox Pedicure.

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