Your skin is crying out for a facial. Your manicure has practically picked itself off. Your roots are growing faster than your indoor plants. You’ve missed so many laser appointments, you can’t tell the difference between your legs and your boyfriend’s legs.
Welcome to self-isolation, baby.
Thanks to COVID-19, you can kiss those regular hair, skin and nail appointments goodbye. And we get it – at times like these, sometimes you have to just let things take the backseat (hello, makeup). But the truth is, it’s also a great time to focus on resetting, reinventing and practicing a little self-care.
Whether it’s upping your skin care routine with nourishing oils and masks, learning how to save money with a DIY manicure, or finally getting around to using that at-home laser device, it IS possible to keep yourself feeling great while you’re stuck in the house.
To help you get started, we’ve spoken to the experts and pulled together four different ways you can dip your toes into self-care and up your beauty routine at home.
#1 / Indulge in regular masking sessions
Whether you’re sitting down to binge watch Tiger King, or shooting off emails at home, there’s no better time to get into those regular masking sessions and give your skin a little TLC. And there are tons of options out there. If you’re looking for something quick and easy, opt for a creamy sheet mask like Saturday Skin Cotton Cloud Probiotic Power Mask to instantly brighten your complexion, or reach for a clay mask like L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Mask Detox & Brighten Mask if you’re trying to tackle breakouts and impurities.
If you want to get a little fancy/thorough on the skin pampering front, why not go the whole hog and give yourself an entire facial experience in the comfort of your own home. Stick on your favourite Spotify playlist, light a candle, put on your fave fluffy robe and treat yo’self!
First up, Alphie Sadsad, National Artistry Lead of Sephora Australia, says to start with a deep cleanse. “Using a cleansing brush such as FOREO’s LUNA 3, apply a non-irritating cleanser onto the skin and move the brush across your forehead, nose and chin for 20 seconds, and 10 seconds across cheeks. Keep the touch light; pressure doesn't make it more effective,” he notes.
Next up, steam time. “This is the most relaxing, spa-like part,” says Sadsad. Simply fill a bowl with boiling water and keep your face 15 to 20 centimetres away to avoid burns (important). “Perform a few two-minute sessions with a clean towel over your head. Steaming loosens dead skin cells, dirt, and oil plugs,” explains Sadsad.
After you’ve steamed your face, it’s prime time to get in on that exfoliating action. “Smooth a scrub such as Pai’s Kuki & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator onto your entire face and use circular motions to exfoliate for one to two minutes. If you prefer a chemical exfoliant over manual, use Sephora Collection’s Glow Peel Pads. Wipe across the skin and leave to dry.”
Then, apply a nourishing facial mask like Sulwhasso’s Clarifying Mask and leave it on for 15 minutes, before removing with warm water and patting your face dry. Next, apply a toner, (we like Fresh’s Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence) to prep your skin for all the skin-loving goodness of the serums and facial creams that’ll come next (you’re not finished yet, girl).
Sadsad says, “Personalise your facial to address problems like dark spots, acne or dehydration. Serums, such as Dr Roebucks Perky Collagen Boosting Serum for the morning and Ole Henriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum in the evening can be applied using a tool such as Skin Gym Face Sculptor to emulate an in-salon facial.” Hot tip: Pop your tools in the fridge for a relaxing, cooling effect.
“Lightly dab your favourite eye cream under your brow bone and eyes, including the inner area by your nose. To boost this step, use a Skin Gym Mini Eye Roller to massage and drain puffy eyes,” says Sadsad. Last up, moisturiser. “Tap and press your moisturiser [into the skin], avoiding your eye area and massaging down to the neck and chest.” Go extra luxe and opt for a nourishing cream like L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream.
#2/ Try a DIY manicure
Trying to make your manicure hang in there ‘til the whole COVID-19 thing blows over? Trust us, as long as you’re not going for something crazy like tortoiseshell nails, it’s easy to nab salon-worthy nails at home.
Tracey Winder, National Trainer at Mavala, says, “Now is a great time to experiment with shades you wouldn’t normally try, and nail art to unleash your creativity! It may also be timely to give your nails a break from synthetic nail treatments and ‘treat’ them back to natural, healthy nails.”
A good DIY manicure all comes down to prep – so focus on creating a great canvas and you’ll nail it. “Remove any excess nail polish and check the state of your cuticles. If they are dry or ragged, then cuticle SOS is required. Apply an intensive cuticle cream or oil to treat and soften the area. For overgrown cuticles, apply a cuticle remover and gently push back overgrown cuticles with a hoof stick, resulting in a neat nail contour,” suggests Winder.
“Using a quality emery board, shape each nail in long sweeping curves from side to centre.” And contrary to everything we’ve ever known, “Never file back and forth in a sawing motion as this will heat the nail, fray edges and encourage flaking.” We know, we feel like our entire life is a lie, too. “When buffing the nails, use light delicate movements in one direction on the nail plate only. Nail polish holds better on a smooth surface. Buffing also activates blood circulation on the nail bed, stimulating growth and aiding penetration of treatment products,” says Winder.
Now, you can reach for the polish! “Your paint job is only as good as the foundation you lay, so a treatment product and base coat are essentials for a long-lasting manicure,” says Winder. Apply a quality, natural nail hardener to protect your nails from peeling and breaking, like Mavala’s Scientifique K+.
“After this, it’s essential to use a barrier or base to provide a screen between the polish and the nail plate to make your manicure last longer. Don’t shake your bottle too hard before application, as this creates tiny air bubbles, affecting the finished result. When you apply, avoid dabbing and rather, use long, even strokes.”
“Finish off with a topcoat for extra gloss and hold, and use a fast-drying spray to avoid smudging your manicure once you’re finished. Wait for at least two or three minutes between each coat,” says Winder.
#3/ Touch-up your roots
True story: Keeping your coloured hair fresh is a TASK when you can’t go to the salon. So, you’re going to need a couple of tricks up your sleeve. And Revlon Professional’s Blonde Ambassador Rhiannon Dimaria has got us sorted.
To freshen your colour, Dimaria suggests using an at-home treatment. “Revlon Professional have a range of Nutri Color Crème treatments which are super shiny and softening. They contain slight pigment for maintaining all kinds of colour. Blondes will love 1002 (platinum) which is a soft lilac and removes brassy tones without building up and making the hair appear dull. 1003 for your golden blondes. 931, 812 and 713 are amazing for your blonde and balayage tones. 740 is the most popular for our coppers and reds,” recommends Dimaria. “Use these once a week to keep your colour overall looking fresh and with the added shine and softness your healthy-looking hair will take the eye away from the roots.”
#4/ Do an at-home laser treatment
You know what sucks? When you’ve been dishing out your hard-earned pennies on professional laser hair removal, only to be stuck inside and miss a whole load of treatments. Sound familiar? To avoid your unwanted hair coming back, at-home laser hair removal is a thing you need to get on board with, STAT.
While you’ll notice that most of the at-home devices getting around use intense pulsed light (IPL) technology instead of laser (which means that they aren’t as strong as the laser machines used in professional clinics), it’s important to know that you can still see some pretty great results if you’re consistent with your treatments. For example, you should do your first four sessions once every fortnight. Then, have a top-up every four weeks. Want to find out more? Check out our guide on everything you need to know about at-home hair removal.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to get through self-isolation, check out our article on managing anxiety.
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.