You may have seen them in upscale salons or boutiques; lotions, crèmes, scrubs, and body butters claiming to be "All Natural." I want to let you in on a little secret though...
There's no such thing as a commercially produced "All Natural" skin care product.
What makes me say these horrible, horrible things, you ask as you look at the $70 jar of 'natural' face crème you just purchased?
Let me explain...
Lotions are made by blending oils and water to make a creamy substance. In order to stabilize the mixture, and keep it from separating, an emulsifier must be added in. Otherwise your lotion will just go back to being oils and water. There's only one natural emulsifier out there, and that's Beeswax. However, Beeswax creates a very oily cream that most people would hesitate to apply to their bodies.
Additionally, if you've ever made your own salad dressing, you know that there is a very short shelf life on an oil and water blend. Natural oils like olive, coconut, almond, and many others, create a perfect environment for bacterial growth when combined with water. Therefore, it doesn't take long at all for mold growth to begin in an all natural lotion. They need preservatives, or they would need to be refrigerated, and, even then, would only last a few months before spoiling.
Not very appetizing to imagine spreading mold spores on your face along with that $70 crème, now is it?
So, with that being said, lotions, scrubs, crèmes, and butters must all have waxes, emulsifiers, and preservatives that are chemicals. That's ok though! Our world is made up of chemicals, our bodies are made up of chemicals, and not all chemicals are bad for us, whether they're naturally occurring or created in a lab.
So how do you know if what you're putting on your skin is good or bad for you? A good place to start is by looking at the label...
I like my lotions to have more ingredients I can pronounce on the label than ingredients I can't. Look for natural oils, like almond, avocado, and sunflower; look for rich butters that are good for your skin, like cocoa, shea, and mango.
Additionally, lotions, crèmes, and body butters should be white or off white. If they're pink, yellow, green, or any other color in the spectrum, they've had dyes added in to make them that way. Most dyes aren't necessarily harmful, but why rub them into your skin when all they do is improve the visual aspect of a lotion?
At Nailed It, I only use products on my clients that I'm willing to use on myself, my mother, and my daughters. I look for products with amazing quality, and reasonable prices, for everything I use and sell.
So, knowing what I know, I decided to pack up the products we had on hand with the indecipherable ingredients list, and add new, handcrafted, lines of products from Majestic Mountain Sage to our inventory. Along with an amazing sugar scrub that we make right here in the salon!
These products start out unscented, and you can leave them that way, or you can create your own scent by choosing one or more of the concentrated scent oils we have have available.
Now, if you love these products as much as we do, we know you'll want to take some home with you. We have 8oz. lotions available for just $14, and 2oz. body butters for $8! The best part is that you can also create your own scent blends for the products you purchase to take home!
We have samples of all of our products for you to try before you buy, and while they're not "All Natural," they are made with the finest, skin nourishing, ingredients available.
So stop in soon and try them out. I know you'll be amazed by them!
Sometimes I forget that not everyone follows me all over the web. I have a few blogs, a personal facebook page, as well as a page for Nailed It!, a twitter account, and heaven knows how many other accounts on websites I've long forgotten. Remembering what I've posted where, and who might have seen it, is just a little too much for me. So when people come into the salon and ask what it looked like before we renovated, I scramble trying to remember where I've posted pictures that they might have access to.
It would all be so much simpler if I could send them to a blog, one made just for the salon, don't ya think?
So a little background to begin with, our building is located in historic West Racine and as such, is an old building with a lot of history and character; and a lot of challenges. When I first visited it, I could see the potential in the space, but it was so far from the vision I had for my salon that I wasn't sure if it would ever morph into that picture in my head. I liked the space, I just wasn't sure if I loved it. Then, as the weeks of construction turned into months, I realized that not only did I not love the place, some days I despised every square foot of it. It was a long, grueling process fraught with respiratory infections from the construction dust, aching limbs, and the occasional bleeding appendage.
Now that it's finished though, I love my salon! More so because I put so much of myself into it. Literally. The subfloor is stained with my tears, and I think small bits of my flesh are still clinging to a few of the drywall screws. Yet knowing that I am now a part of the history of West Racine is just an amazing thing, and I'm so proud to be where I am, and to have accomplished what we have.
So having said that, on with the pictures...
Here you can see the front of the building as it was when we moved in. In the past, the shop was a hair braiding studio, a florists, and a nail salon on at least one other occasion (possibly more).
Here is the building as it looks today. The white paint gives it a fresher feel, and the black and white is more reminiscent of a traditional Tudor facade.
The building sat empty for a couple of years before we moved in, and as a result had some water damage that needed to be dealt with. The area of the salon that is now the sink and dispense counter was one of the worst areas in our suite. Below is how it looked when we moved in.
The entire wall needed to be taken down, which worked in our favor because the plumbing also needed to be addressed, and we needed to add GFCI outlets.
After the work was done inside of the wall, new drywall was put up, and cabinets were built into the area.
Here is how it looks today. Clean, beautiful, and bright!
If you ever stopped into the building when it was still a hair braiding studio, you know that what is now one big room, used to be two small rooms. The front portion of the space, with large south facing windows, let in all kinds of beautiful sunlight from outside. The back room, however, was dark and dismal. Barely any light managed to penetrate back there, and I knew from the start that we needed to fix that.
The wall had to go...
Now the space is open and bright, and the sun lights up the entire room during the day.
The front end of the salon was in good shape, and was a cheery space, but the décor needed a serious update.
The country cottage look had to go, so the wainscoting came down, the walls were painted a fresh white, and the window trim was updated with black paint.
Today this is my favorite place in the salon. Even on a dreary day it's bright and cheerful. I love to sit at my manicure table to do nails and create art samples. It's impossible to feel melancholy in such a vibrant space!
One of the most comfortable places in the salon is the pedicure area, but you wouldn't have known it a year ago. You see, the place where people now sit back and relax to get their feet cared for used to be a closet.
In the interest of having more useable space on the salon floor, we tore it out. It wasn't difficult, there wasn't very much holding it in there to begin with.
Now the crawl-space above, along with a single support pillar, create an intimate space for a luxurious pedicure.
It's not all about the space though. In building the salon, and trying to give it a retro ambiance, we scoured antique shops and garage sales for items we could use to decorate the space. One of the most difficult, but also one of the best, projects were the chairs my sister found...
I was looking for chairs that would feel at home in a 50's diner, but despite many weeks of searching, I couldn't find anything appropriate that I could also afford. Until my sister found these at a rummage sale.
I was dubious, to say the least. After all, this was a semi upscale salon I was trying to build, and that chair up there, that's not upscale.
She convinced me to try recovering them though, and after two days of heating and stretching vinyl, and stapling so many staples that my hand was so badly bruised I couldn't move my thumb for a week, this is what we came up with.
They're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they're mine, and I love them.
So that's the story of how Nailed It! came to be, and how we turned a dreary little space into a vibrant little salon. I love it, and I hope you stop in sometime so you can see it and love it too! Until then...
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.