Not all soaps are created equal, neither are all nail brushes or all manicure tools! Yet all of them are necessary for proper hand and nail hygiene – especially in the control of Covid. Sally, with her background in archaeology and anthropology and founder of Natural Spa Supplies Ltd, explains what she has developed for her popular naturally antimicrobial hand washing and nail cleaning kit.
Since the very moment my business began, I had been asking myself this question, ‘What did people used to use to keep themselves clean?’ I began to unlock the answers by reading British historical books and became intrigued by the many uses ‘soft soap’ made from Hemp Oil. Even Samuel Pepys, the 17th century diarist bought a barrel of this soap every year. Full of curiosity, I had to find out if the oil based soap really was as essential and versatile as our ancestors had suggested and how we could benefit from it in our times.
After perfecting the recipe and re-creating the green concentrated gel soap, I sent a sample to a laboratory to see if this Hemp Oil soap has the germ killing qualities which would have been consistent with its earlier uses. The laboratory owner called the next day, ‘ I don’t normally call clients when I have only just started the testing … but this soap has killed every microbe I have tested it on – all within the first test point. Often a soap can kill rod-shaped bacteria, releasing even smaller organisms, giving even more ‘germs’ at the end of the test than at the start. The hemp oil soap gave a score of zero microbes on the initial and all subsequent test points. A first for this laboratory, a victory for this soap and validation of our rich written history!
As mean as the hemp oil soap is to germs and grime, it is remarkably kind to the skin. It can be used by frequent hand washers and by people with sensitive skin. What is more, this oil-based soap has hundreds of other uses from giving rash-free shaving and making light work of dreaded cleaning tasks such as the hob, roasting pans, even burnt pans and pet mess.
Many of the germs on the hands reside under the nails. So it is best to keep the nails short and where possible to have natural nails, rather than false and painted nails. A combination of scrubbing with a well designed nail brush and judicious use of a manicure tool, is the only way to assure nail cleanliness. It is a shame that plastic nail brushes are so ubiquitous – the bristles are too thick to clean every millimeter under the nails and trying too hard causes the bristles to display.
I solved this by sourcing traditional nail brushes made form sustainable beech wood and agave fibre bristles. The agave bristles are finer than nylon, more closely spaced and seemingly stronger. The ‘agave’ bristles reach very well under the nails and these natural nail brushes are more durable.
Taking nail cleaning to the next level, Sally then engaged a very talented father and son workshop in India to make some intriguing horn manicure / pedicure tools. These tools have an astonishing Surrealistic design. At one end of the tool, a pointed, talon-like end draws dirt from under the finger nails. The other end of the tool, shaped like a well trimmed finger nail, is used as a cuticle pusher. The design remarkably functional, poetic and punning!
With just these three traditional products, sold as a kit, the hands and nails can be kept scrupulously clean and beautiful and it only takes minutes each day. Start by cleaning under the nails with the manicure tool, then scrub the nails and wash the hands with the Hemp Oil Soap with the natural Nail Brush. Finish by pushing back the cuticles while the cuticles are damp and flexible. Only then are your hands hygienically clean.