Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lulu's Favorite Things: Emerald & Ash Cuticle Oils

*Press Sample*

Hi everyone! Lulu over at Elevation Polish has brought back "Lulu's Favorite Things" to Elevation Polish's website. This is an assortment of nail and hand care related products from different makers that she uses and loves and wants to share with Elevation Polish fans. I was able to choose one to review and I decided that I would go with a product that I have personally used a good bit and can give you a thorough review of: Emerald & Ash's Cuticle Oils.

Emerald & Ash has a wonderful cuticle oil blend that is nourishing and absorbs quickly so that you aren't left with a greasy film on your skin. During my many adventures with cuticle oils over the past year and a half, I have found one common thread in really great cuticle oils: Jojoba. I've used several from several different makers during my journey with oiling and the oil blends with jojoba as a star ingredient really do a great job of absorbing into the nail and cuticle which aids in strength, flexibility, and moisture. I've used Emerald & Ash oils a good bit during this time (I've purchased 3 of different scents from them in the past so this is my 4th bottle) and they do a fantastic job. Here is a complete list of the oil blend that E&A uses.

Ingredients include: Organic jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, cold pressed meadowfoam seed oil, fractionated coconut oil, tea tree oil, vitamin A oil, and vitamin E oil as well as fragrance oils.

Another thing that I love about Emerald & Ash cuticle oils is their packaging. I really enjoy their sturdy square bottles which make them very resistant to tipping over and I adore their rollerball applicator. I actually was completely against rollerball applicators until I tried theirs, but the ball part is on the smaller side and it fits loosely so it allows the perfect amount of oil to come out when you roll it on. I've used others in the past where the ball fits really tightly and it doesn't allow enough oil to come out without really pressing down hard, so I've dubbed these my favorite cuticle oil packaging (that I've tried so far), although I also love the tall thin tubes with the brush applicators to toss in my purse as well.

I mentioned that I've tried 3 different scents in the past and they all smelled divine so I would highly recommend them if you love fruity scents like me (I've tried Fresh Peach, Coconut Lime Verbena, and Mojito). I'm one that likes to constantly try new scents and Emerald & Ash has a HUGE list of scents that you can choose from, so there is surely a scent that you can find to suit your tastes. They even offer several sizes to choose from on their website, so if you want to try several scents you can opt to get several smaller ones in a variety of scents. For Lulu's Favorite Things, there are two scents available to purchase on Elevation Polish's website including Teakwood & Cardamom and Yeti Relaxes in Lakshadweep, which is a special blend of creamy coconut and bergamot that is available exclusively from Elevation Polish. Being a lover of fruity things, I had to try the Yeti!

Yeti Relaxes in Lakshadweep starts of with a blast of sweet creamy coconut and then dries down to a softer coconut scent with the florally citrus tang of the bergamot coming through. I'm a coconut lover, so I never have a problem with MORE COCONUT, but I know that some people think coconut can be a bit overwhelming. In this oil, I find that the bergamot really serves to mellow out the coconut scent and keeps it light and fresh without giving you that suntan oil coconut smell. Overall, it's such a lovely scent and I give it two thumbs up!

As a bit of an aside but still extremely related to this review, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my personal journey with cuticle oils with you, which Emerald & Ash oils were a big part of. There is a good chance that if you are having problems with brittle nails that are constantly peeling, cracking, splitting, and/or breaking, it might just be that your nails need some moisture! Constant polishing and polish removal can wreak havoc on your nails and oils really helped to reverse that damage for me.

Just a little funny for all of my fellow Whovians out there!

Over the last year and a half I've really incorporated oils into my routine in a major way and they have made such a huge difference in my nail health. Before, I only used a nail strengthener and balms (sometimes...if I remembered). I also always swiped my nails with acetone before applying polish, because I was told you had to dehydrate your nail or polish would peel off. After doing some reading online I found out that some people had started oiling before polishing with great results. As an experiment, I changed my routine and now I do the following:

  1. After removing my old mani, I apply oil to my nails and massage it in, allowing a few minutes to let it soak in. 
  2. If there is any excess oil on my nails after massaging it in, I use a soft cloth to wipe down my nails but I DO NOT use alcohol or acetone to dehydrate my nail plate.
  3. I apply my strengthener (I used Duri Rejuvacote, which I also swear by) and polish as usual.
  4. I also use oil/balm throughout the day to keep my nails and cuticles hydrated (I really love Indigo Bananas balms!)

Here are a few before and after pictures for you. Before I was oiling, it was very common for my nails to be this length (circa fall 2013). They might have gotten a little bit longer than this, but then they would all break off again. The slightest bump would cause the edges to crack or the tips to snap off. They didn't look bad (with polish on), but they were extremely dry and brittle and I really wanted to have some more length.

CrowsToes Hellhound

After changing my routine for several months, my nails that used to constantly crack and break were extremely flexible and rarely broke except for occasional accidents (I am a klutz, after all). I still don't let my nails get very long because of my job, but I now have to file them constantly to keep them at my preferred length. I have also noticed no difference in the wear time of my polishes since switching to this method. I've used different oils in my journey (I even make my own blend for my personal use now) and the biggest thing is finding an oil that has jojoba as a major player, that one really absorbs well and is beneficial to the nail plate. Also consistency and patience are key! Your nails aren't going to change overnight, but just keep on keeping on! Also, everyone has different body chemistry so the method of oiling before polishing may not work for you like it has for me, but don't knock it until you've tried it! Of the oils that I've tried from different makers, I've used Emerald & Ash's the most and it's an excellent product and you will have no trouble finding the perfect scent to suit your tastes.

Elevation Polish Iceberg Lake

I even had them a bit longer for awhile, but they were driving me crazy so I filed them down a bit. I was definitely not meant to be a long-nailed gal.

Elevation Polish Bromeliad

So that was a LENGTHY review but I'm glad I had to opportunity to share all of this with you guys. I've been meaning to make a post like this for awhile now because I feel really passionately about how beneficial great cuticle oils are for nail health, and Emerald & Ash makes a great product. You can purchase Yeti Relaxes in Lakshadweep and the Teakwood and Cardamom cuticle oils now on Elevation Polish's website in 10 ml bottles for $4.25 each. If you are interested in other scents, you can head over to Emerald & Ash's shop to see their extensive list of scents to choose from.

So how do you feel about cuticle oils? What have been your game-changing products in terms of nail care? Thanks for looking everyone!

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