We are (hopefully) on the home stretch, and before long, we will be back in our favourite salons enjoying uninterrupted me time as our hair, skin, brows, lashes, nails or all of the above are given the TLC they have been craving for months.
In the meantime, it is all about at-home pampering and lockdown is the perfect time to embrace your inner beautician and try your hand at the kind of treatments you would usually leave to the professionals.
Chances are it will be cheaper than a salon appointment and, who knows? You even might decide to stick with the at-home approach in future.
PA beauty editor Katie Wright runs through some DIY beauty treatments to try now.
1. Eyelash serum
Even as a beauty editor I’ve always been sceptical about serums that promise to boost your eyelashes without the need for falsies or extensions, but that was until I tried the Sweed Lash Growth Serum. After two months of painting a thin strip of the serum at the root of my lashes I can’t believe how long they’ve grown, and when I put on mascara, the effect is even greater.
“The serum focuses on boosting your own lashes with vitamins and hydration. It also extends the growth phase of each own lash, so they become longer and stronger,” explains Gabriella Elio, founder of Sweed.
“For the first one to two months, you can use the serum every night. When you are satisfied with the result, and the length of your lashes, you can use it every other day instead, just to maintain the length.”
Sweed Lash Growth Serum, Cult Beauty
2. Brow and lash tinting
“If you don’t normally wear mascara, or you’re sick of having to apply it every day for Zoom calls, try tinting your lashes, it’ll really help to define and frame your eyes,” says Eylure make-up artist Sara Sordillo.
Similarly, a brow tint adds fullness and definition. For both, it’s important to do a patch test and wait 48 hours to check you haven’t had an adverse reaction.
For lash tinting, Sordillo says: “Apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the skin on the eyelid and under eye area, but don’t let it touch the eyelash hair. This will act as a barrier to stop the dye staining the skin.”
Make sure to thoroughly coat the lash hairs, she adds: “Brush the product under and on top of the lashes. If you wiggle your hand slightly when applying, you will get better coverage of each lash.
“Concentrate on making sure the very tip of your eyelashes are covered, as this is where they get very light, because of the sun, making the lashes appear shorter than they really are.”
Ardell Eyebrow Tint in Dark Brown, ASOS
Eylure Lash Tint in Black, Boots
3. Hair bonding treatment
A cut above regular hair masks – which merely smooth the cuticle of hair strands – bonding treatments work to repair the broken bonds within the hair, resulting in visibly healthier, less frizzy locks.
If your hair is looking and feeling frazzled, a weekly bonding treatment left on for 15 to 20 minutes can make the world of difference.
Bumble and Bumble BB Bond Building Repair Treatment, Space NK
4. IPL hair removal
It may seem like a lot of money to spend on one device, but at-home IPL can be a sound investment when you calculate how much you’d save compared to, say, waxing appointments, and it’s best to start now if you want to be ready to bare your smooth as silk pins come summer.
Why? Because you’ll need to do 12 weekly treatments to begin with, and because IPL (intense pulsed light) is most effective when the difference between the hair and skin colour is greatest, meaning when you’re palest in winter.
For the same reason, it’s important to note that IPL won’t work for everyone. It’s not recommended if you have white, grey, red or very blonde hair, or darker skin (classified as 6 on the Fitzpatrick scale).
Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Cordless Hair Removal Device, Boots
Have you heard about the powerful anti-ageing effects of retinol, but you’re worried about the Vitamin A derivative irritating your skin?
“The key with introducing retinol to your routine is to go slow and steady,” says Daniel Isaacs, director of research at Medik8, who suggests starting with a strength of 0.1 per cent or 0.3 per cent, to avoid irritation or redness.
“We suggest using it a couple of nights a week to start with, gradually building up to nightly use, and ensure you use a minimum of SPF 30 during the day.”
Medik8 Crystal Retinal 6
6. Nail strengthener
If your nails are feeling the effects of winter weather and lots of handwashing, what you need is a hardcore nail strengthener.
Choose a product that boosts keratin (rather than a clear polish that doesn’t penetrate the nail) and apply every other day.
Mavala Scientifique Nail Hardener, NailPolishDirect
7. Gel nails
Master your own gel manicure with an at-home UV lamp to cure your nail varnish and you could save hundreds of pounds at the salon.
A starter set is great if you want to try a few different colours and have all the accessories you need, or you can buy a lamp and gel polishes separately.
Le Mini Macaron Le Maxi Rouge & Moi Deluxe Gel Manicure Set
Rio Professional UV & Gel Nail Polish Lamp, Argos