When we knew that this month’s Birchbag was all about celebrating the daytripping around the UK, there was one brand that we had to include – Cowshed. Starting life in an old cowshed in Somerset’s Babington House, this brand packs mood-boosting organic and wild botanicals into all of their skin-friendly treats. Some of you might have discovered their cheekily-named Cowshed Cow Pat Hand Cream in your Birchbags this month and I was lucky enough to head to their Carnaby Street Spa to find out exactly how to use it as part of a luxury manicure. Here’s how to recreate the pampering experience at home…
STEP 1 – SET THE SCENE
The first thing I noticed when I stepped inside the Cowshed Spa was how tranquil it was. There were fresh flowers and jugs of cucumber and mint-infused water on the table – and the place smelt amazing! If you’re anything like me then your at-home mani is often squeezed into a spare mid-week 10 minutes while you’re slumped in front of the telly. Instead, take the time to set the scene! Pour yourself a drink. (Of course, water is the most refreshing but sometimes only gin will do – I won’t judge!) Light a candle. And put on a chill-out album or your favourite re-run of Friends – whatever helps you to relax.
STEP 2 – PREP YOUR HANDS
I was amazed at how long my lovely therapist actually spent prepping my hands for the treatment – something that I never take the time to do from the sofa! Start by getting them squeaky clean with a little of the Cowshed Cow Pat Natural Antibacterial Hand Gel to remove any dirt and grime from the day. This one is completely free of alcohol so it won’t dry your hands out, either! Then soak your hands in some warm water for a few minutes to soften your cuticles. Top tip! You could even pop a little Cowshed Bath & Shower Gel in for some gentle scented bubbles. The Lazy Cow one is my fave thanks to its soothing blend of chamomile, relaxing jasmine, and sandalwood – but Cowshed have loads of amazing scents for every mood. Pat your hands dry then gently push your cuticles back, using a cuticle stick. for perfectly tidy nail beds. Honestly, this is a step that I never bother with at home – but it makes a huge difference to how professional your finished mani looks!
STEP 3 – MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE
Once your cuticles are prepped-and-ready, it’s time to show the rest of your hands some love. Making sure that any dead skin cells are removed will help your hand cream sink in even more effectively, so firmly massage the Cowshed Knackered Cow Relaxing Scrub into dry skin. This one contains acai fruit particles to naturally smooth skin and burst circulation – but salt scrubs work amazingly too! Pat your hands dry and then apply a TON of Cowshed Cow Pat Hand Cream to your hands. And I mean a ton! The therapist coated my whole hands in the stuff and then wrapped my hands in hot towels to help it sink in. A great at-home tip is to wrap your hands in cling film! This will help all of the nourishing shea and cocoa butters sink deeply into your skin for silky-smooth mitts.
STEP 4 – RELAX…
The Cowshed Luxury Manicure takes a whopping 60 minutes in total – it’s a real pampering experience and it made me realise how much I usually rush over my own manicures at home. When my hands were wrapped up and hydrating I was treated to a lovely head massage – which was SO relaxing that I nearly drifted off! While I’m not suggesting that you give yourself a head massage (it might be a little tricky!) it’s a great idea to pop a hair or face mask on to make the most of your mini pamper session. Or treat yourself to a cheeky lie down on the sofa for 10 minutes and listen to a podcast while the hand cream works its magic. Whatever it is, just allow yourself to switch off for a little while and unwind.
STEP 5 – THE MANI
Once the cling film or hot towels have been removed from your hands, spend a couple of minutes massaging in the remaining lotion. The Cowshed therapist told me that a lot of people hold tension in their hands, especially now that we’re always on our phones and laptops. Use your thumbs to massage your palms and down your fingers, you’ll be amazed at how tender your hands might feel! Once that’s done, it’s time to go onto the colour. I chose a classic postbox red shade. It’s my favourite kind of colour for when I’m after a pick-me-up. Then, apply two very thin coats of the polish to your hands. The trick for a professional finish is to leave the slightest of gaps between your cuticle and where the colour starts, and the same at the sides of your nails. Finish by applying a glossy top coat. Top tip: be a little more generous with the top coat at the tip of your nail as this is where most people find their colour chips.
Discover more pampering delights from Cowshed at The Birchbox Shop. Or, discover more about their spas here – if you’d like to treat yourself to the real experience!