In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, beauty writer Simedar Jackson is testing the Soft Services Theraplush.
Despite my love and respect for all things beauty, there are still some product categories I struggle to get behind. They’re the kind of products that I typically find unnecessary despite the marketing hype (I’m looking at you, eye creams) or wind up falling short and taking up space on my dresser. Hand creams, by and large, have fallen into the latter bucket — until recently.
Although they’re technically a body care product, I usually group hand creams in with fragrance. Most are created with the purpose of extending a scent experience with few promises made for their ability to cure cracked skin or revive run-down nails. Despite trying numerous, lovely scented hand creams, I’m always left wanting more. As someone who is recovering from getting regular acrylic nails and lives in Chicago where the wind chill makes casual threats to your skin barrier, my hands’ saving grace is typically a heavy-duty body lotion from the drugstore.
That being said, I was intrigued when body care brand Soft Services launched their overnight hand repair treatment dubbed Theraplush. Because I’m a sucker for aesthetics, I was already sold on the packaging that serves as a covetable piece of decor on its own. More importantly, I figured if any brand could upend my hand cream dilemma, it would be the one with a penchant for bringing high-performance skin care below the neck in meaningful ways.
While most body products leave things at shea butter and silicones, Soft Services calls on the likes of lactic acid, zinc PCA, and sulfur at concentrations usually reserved for the face to solve body skin woes. Theraplush boasts an encouraging ingredient deck of resurfacing and healing agents with benefits that, according to the brand, can be seen in just a few days. Naturally, it completely sold out within two weeks of launching this fall.
Luckily, I got my hands on some to see how it stands up against years of UV gel-curing lights, ceaseless handwashing, and the Midwest’s bitter cold.
- Price: $58
- Size: 1.7 fl oz
- Clean/Cruelty Free: Yes
- Best For: Evening skin tone, plumping thin skin, and cuticle maintenance
- Ingredient highlights: 0.05% retinol, 1% colloidal oatmeal
- What we like: Lightweight, doesn’t leave hands greasy
- What we don’t like: If you don’t press down slowly on pump, it will squirt everywhere
- Your rating: 4.5/5
Theraplush’s key ingredients of .05% retinol and 1% colloidal oatmeal set the stage for a soothing yet powerful product. Retinol is skin care’s golden child for its power to smooth texture, fade dark spots, battle blemishes, and soften wrinkles. However, deciphering the strength of a retinoid can be tricky. “Many times in facial and in body products, brands will list the percentage of ‘encapsulated retinol,’ which is a mixture of oil and retinol — so the real percentage of pure retinol is only a fraction of the listed amount,” explains Soft Services Co-Founder Annie Kreighbaum. “We find this misleading, so we included a significant amount of pure retinol so users can actually enjoy the benefits of the ingredient.”
To help contextualize what you can expect from Theraplush, 0.5% to 1% retinol is considered high strength and typically requires preconditioning skin with lower percentages beforehand. Theraplush’s percentage can be thought of as an intermediate concentration that’s strong enough to achieve noticeable results over time without triggering irritation.
Colloidal oatmeal is another tried and true, unfussy skin soother that is natural and clinically significant. At 1%, it’s categorized as an effective treatment for atopic dermatitis, making it an attractive ingredient for products meant to moisturize and repair. With the help of plenty of other moisturizers, skin soothers, and gentle exfoliants, Theraplush seems poised to make good on its claims to reduce spottiness, aid in cuticle care, and plump thin, veiny skin.
It’s hard to decide if Theraplush’s packaging or formula is more impressive. Unlike typical hand creams, Theraplush is designed to make a permanent home on your bedside table. The reusable case is fresh and minimal with soft edges and banded rings meant to mimic the look of carved jade. The cap magnetically stays put, maintaining a seamless look when not in use and disguising the environmentally friendly, recyclable product pod within. It’s the rare kind of decorative item that is simultaneously functional while adding design-specific texture to a room.
Theraplush’s convenient bedside location is ideal for when you’ve just gotten comfortable in bed and remember you haven’t quite finished your routine. If you’re like me, it may also force you to declutter your nightstand because the packaging is just too good to sit in the middle of a mess. So far, Theraplush has been a gift full of surprise and delight.
My Experience & Results
I’ve been suffering from brittle nails and dehydrated, puckered cuticles for more than a year after my last bout with acrylics. My hands are also chronically dry in the mornings as the cranked-up heat sucks away all moisture overnight. After receiving my Theraplush and quickly clicking the pod into the decorative case, I was more than ready to see what the fuss was all about.
I noticed that the airless pump dispenses significantly less product than I would usually squeeze from a tube of hand cream. The texture is pillowy and spreadable, but the formula sinks into your skin quickly. For these reasons, the skin’s surface isn’t left greasy and slippery. The scent is subtle and comforting like a warm cup of milk and honey that lulls you to sleep. The product is meant to act like a waxy hand mask, and I felt relief directly after applying it. I was ready for reapplication in the morning, however, my hands didn’t feel freeze-dried like they typically do.
Over the course of the week, my hands have become visibly happier as my cuticles split less and the ridges in my nails have softened. Theraplush’s formula is top tier, but the application consistency encouraged sheerly by the packaging also lends itself to these results. Theraplush has single-handedly transformed hand cream from an on-the-go, quick fix to an intentional part of my nightly routine. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to my long-standing scars and mottled hyperpigmentation as I continue to use it.
Is Theraplush Worth It?
There are some products that bring happiness simply by making life a little easier or by adding a touch of beauty. Theraplush does both and has succeeded in swaying my perspective on hand creams. I recommend you get one while it’s available for pre-order because it will inevitably sell out again.
BDG product reviews and recommendations are written and conducted by writers and editors with expertise in their fields. Testers often have specific experience with the situation or product at hand, and/or their review or recommendation is provided in consultation with experts. You can learn more about our standards here.