6 DIY Beauty Secrets To Get You Through Lockdown, From Hair-Dying To At-Home Mani-Pedis
With booking salon appointments off limits, try these six alternative options at home
For those of us who have gone from so little time to too much of it on our hands, one of the few upsides of lockdown is that now really is the perfect time to brush up on your self-care skills. Out-sourcing all those appearance maintenance routines is out of the question, so it’s entirely in your own hands if you want to emerge on the other side looking some semblance of your previous self.
Try to put yourself in holiday mode, where you don’t worry too much about the finer details of grooming. But it’s good to keep up basic standards for your own morale. If you’re tele-conferencing daily then the need to stay looking sharp is amplified.
Ongoing attention to your appearance backs up your previous beauty spend, so try to maintain those expertly calibrated brows in approximate shape, keep your skin and hair nicely conditioned and nails in good nick for the days when going out again might be on the agenda. You may have suitable items at home already, or can pick up products on your supermarket shop or any necessary trip to the pharmacy. To save lingering, it is a good idea to check out websites in advance or order online, with The Warehouse another option. Remember most other retailers who sell beauty goods aren’t considered essential suppliers, so orders placed with them should not be dispatched until after the lockdown ends.
Judging by comments online, hair care is one of the main areas of angst right now, especially for those who regularly retouch their roots. The saying “we’re just a few weeks away from seeing everyone’s real hair colour” doesn’t have to be that revelatory if you don’t want it to be. Although if this does drag on too much longer, I’m sure I won’t be the only one wishing I was house-sharing with a hairdresser.
Read on for some suggestions of how you can disguise and deal with what you wish to. But most of all don’t stress, no-one will see you up close except your bubble mates. While the results of being your own beauty therapist might not be perfect, you’ll be saving money and learning what generations before us knew how to do, which is that drawing on your own resources is never a bad thing.
Regrowth sees many of us head to the hairdresser with alarming frequency. I know, I’m a brunette, although give it a few weeks more and my secret silver will be exposed. If you want to avoid this, take a multi-pronged approach, depending on how far down the regrowth path you’re at. If you’ve got colour refresh shampoos and toners in the house, use them to keep your colour looking saturated for as long as possible. Next up, it’s root disguise time with purpose-designed crayons, chalk, hair mascara or spray-on disguises. (Or if you have nothing better at hand, but need to quickly touch-up, then try some hair-matched eye-shadow or brow powder).
When the patch-up approach is no longer enough, it’s dye time. This is best done initially just where you need it, at the roots, with a little combing and rinsing through to disperse the application. Only do a global colour every other application to avoid a build-up on the longer lengths. If you’re a novice at home hair colour, then follow the packet instructions and do a test patch in an inconspicuous area. Don’t embark on anything ambitious unless you really know what you’re doing, instead choose something just a shade or two lighter or darker than your existing hair colour and you can’t go far wrong.
The trick to colour application is to brush your dry but preferably not freshly washed hair out first to remove any dust and debris and also to help detangle it. Apply some Vaseline or waxy balm around your hairline to avoid staining the skin. It’s a good idea to first lay out some newspaper if you want to avoid ruining your flooring or to set up your “salon” on a chair outdoors. A rubbish bin liner, dry-cleaning cover or an old towel can function as a makeshift cape to protect your clothes. Then section hair with a comb and clips to apply dye area by area, as this makes it easier to see what you are doing and ensure full coverage. If you have someone else in the house who can do this for you, it is a boon, especially in ensuring you have coloured the back of your hair thoroughly. If you’re alone, try to set up a mirror on a stand to give you a rear view into a main mirror.
A final tip to making your colour last is to not over wash your hair. Daily washing is just not necessary for most people. Even those with oily hair should avoid over washing and stripping their scalp and anyone with dry or curly hair can easily leave it be for 3-5 days. A dry shampoo can be used to refresh and add a little volume to your hair without the need for a full wash.
Toning shampoos, root disguise sprays, home hair colour kits and dry shampoo are all stocked in supermarkets and pharmacies. If you have a sensitive scalp look for low or no ammonia gentle formulas. A few worth trying include: Clairol Root Touch Up Root Concealing Spray, $14; L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch Temporary Root Concealer Spray, $20; Schwarzkopf Nordic Blonde Anti Yellow Spray $13; John Freida Root Blur Colour Blending Concealer, $19.90; L'Oreal Paris Excellence Crème Permanent Hair Colour, each $27.99.
If you’ve successfully completed a course of IPL hair removal you’ll be feeling pretty smug and smooth right now, but if not, then a razor may be the simplest way to tide yourself over. Luckily these aren’t in short supply, so add to your grocery shopping list. A smoother sensation will come from waxing and while I wouldn’t recommend self-administering a Brazilian unless you’re very brave, there’s no reason you can’t give yourself a bikini, leg or underam wax at home. Once you get the hang of strip waxing it can be done pretty quickly, just make sure there’s enough growth to grab hold off and viola for a month or so. Try New Zealand brand Marzena’s more natural waxes, available in strips for both the body and face and priced from $14 to $27. They have fully bio-compostable cellphane wax strips that used over time will slow hair growth. From supermarkets and selected pharmacies.
If you’re into gadgetry then electrical suppliers such as Noel Leeming and Harvery Norman are open for online shopping so you might consider an epilator or a home IPL wand. These are pricey, so consider if you’d want to use them ongoing or not.
Those addicted to long lashes via lash extensions, might be a feeling a little naked once the current crop has shed itself. If a few odd stragglers remain you may be able to carefully dislodge them, but don’t be tempted to pick away at stray remaining attachments or you risk breaking off the real lashes underneath. Now is a good time to either give your lashes a rest, reacquaint yourself with mascara or brush up on your false lash application techniques. That way you can look control how batty you look on camera. False lashes from brands including QVS and Ardell can be bought through pharmacies or The Warehouse online. Using lash conditioners is another possibility to encourage enhanced natural growth, but this will take longer to see results from and for now the products won’t be as easily accessible. For tips on how to apply false lashes, see our expert tips.
It wasn’t that long ago that most people painted their own nails rather than visited a nail spa. It’s time to do this again. With any luck you’ll have some polish at home and better yet if you have cuticle oil as well. Start by giving your nails a good soothing soak in warm water, rinse and dry, then trim nails as needed before filing with an emery board into a nice shape. With all the hand washing we are doing currently, maybe skip the finger nail polish unless you’re up for frequent reapplications, but having painted toes is always cheerful. If you have a clear base coat use it, because this helps prevent nail discolouration over time. A top coat will seal the colour and make it last longer. For some fun, check out nail art inspiration online or see if you have the patience to master a French manicure.
Try Manicare and QVS nail care products. Pharmacies stock a big range of polishes, including quality brands such as Essie and O.P.I, with its Mexican range in shades fit for a fiesta (in the backyard), such as Mexico City Movemint, $19.95.
Brow shaping, like nail painting, has become one of those frequently outsourced services. Yet, with just a pair of tweezers you can easily keep your own in shape for now. Just don’t get carried away. Remove any stray hairs from below the natural brow shape or between the brows. Use nail scissors to trim any lengthy or wiry “old man hairs” that stick up strangely from the body of the brow. It’s best not to pull these out at the roots if your brows are already sparse because it will potentially create a gap in the line. The addition of cosmetic products will help you create the illusion of thicker or darker brows. Add shape control with brow gels or a smidgen of waxy balm. Try Maybelline and L’Oreal Paris brow products, including L’Oreal’s Plump and Set Brow Artist in clear and tints, $23.
Put any down time to good use with a bit of SPF-protected sun exposure on your deck or terrace. If that’s not enough to ward off pastiness, then top up from a bottle. Remember to exfoliate your skin first for a smooth finish. You can either choose the control of a gradual tan which will require several applications for colour to build-up on your limbs or go for something darker for instant impact. Once your chosen tan product is developed it should 3-4 days, extended in evenness by keeping your skin well moisturised. Bondi Sands is one of the recognised brands you can find in stores that are still open, with its new Aero Ultra Dark Self Tanning Foam, $33, packing a punch.