Beauty

How to look after yourself during lockdown

It may seem trivial in the current crisis, but if some simple self-care helps ease boredom and anxiety, here is our guide...

Navigating our beauty regimes for the next few weeks – while not the most important aspect of the current pandemic – is something we all might need a little help with. Here’s your guide to looking after yourself during lockdown.

What can I do about the dry skin on my hands?

With so much hand-washing and using hand sanitisers, the skin on our hands needs far more attention than usual. Kim Treacy, a celebrity nail technician, suggests applying a thick layer of the Norwegian Formula Hand Cream by Neutrogena, £3.99, and pop some cotton gloves on top. Either leave on overnight, or while you watch a film. “If you don’t have any hand cream and can’t get out to get any, try olive oil,” suggests Treacy.

What’s the best way to pluck my eyebrows?

“Pluck the stray hairs first before tackling the shape,” advises Vanita Parti, the founder of Blink Brow Bar. “Brush your brows up and across. You can then determine the core brow shape hair to remove. Just pluck one or two hairs at a time, step away and view your brows before you continue – step by step is key. You may also need to trim the longer brow hairs with nail scissors, so brush up with a brow brush and snip any hairs poking above the brow line.” Parti recommends slanted tweezers, as they are more precise, and “will give you the grip you need to grab each brow hair by the root and minimise hair breakage.”

How do I keep my brows in shape until I can see a professional again?

“A pencil is a great tool to define the shape of your brow,” says Parti. “Place the pencil at the edge of your nose and where it hits your eyebrow is where they should be. Then swivel it from your nose to your iris – this is where the arch should be positioned. Finally swivel again from your nose to the end of your eye and where the pencil hits the brow is where they end.”

How do I make nail varnish last longer now I’m doing it myself?

“Always apply a base coat, two thin layers of varnish and a top coat,” Treacy tells me. “On the third day, reapply a top coat and as long as you are not digging the garden your polish should last 8 to 10 days.” Treacy likes to use the Nailkale Superfood Base Coat by Nails Inc, £15, and Vinylux Top Coat by CND, £6.36.

(L-R): Nailkale Superfood Base Coat by Nails Inc, £15, and Vinylux Top Coat by CND, £6.36

Should I trim my hair at home?

“This will never end well,” says hair stylist Luke Hersheson, “so instead try to change your parting or take this as an opportunity to grow your hair a little. Unless you’ve got a really graphic hairstyle that requires maintenance, grow out your hair a little and stay away from hacking it up. Most hairstyles definitely don’t need to be maintained every 6-8 weeks.” The same goes for men. Hersherson suggests rather than trying to trim your hair, play around with styling it a bit more. His Almost Everything Cream, £10, helps the hair to look sleek without resorting to unforgiving gel and wax products.

What’s the best way to keep facial hair looking neat?

Hersheson says you should maintain the length of your beard with clippers, but to prevent in-grown hairs with a regular exfoliation. “Mix a spoonful of olive or sunflower oil with some rice flour or semolina to make a paste,” adds facialist Abigail James. “It’s cheap, simple and particularly effective on men’s skin as it’s not too scratchy.

Almost Everything Cream, £10, Hershesons

What’s the best way to remove shellac now I can’t get to a manicurist?

“Whatever you do, don’t peel it off,” says Treacy, as this will remove some of your nail layers. Instead, lightly file over the nail to take the shine. Then apply some acetone nail varnish remover on a cotton pad on each nail and wrap with a strip of kitchen foil. “Leave it on for ten minutes,” says Treacy, “and then gently remove the varnish with a cuticle pusher.”

How can I keep my skin soft now that I’m constantly indoors?

“Look for any intensive masks with ceramides or hyaluronic acid in to help repair the epidermal layer,” says Dr David Jack, a Harley Street aesthetic specialist. His Face Paint Blue, £139, is packed full of ceramides and also contains azelaic acid which can help to reduce redness and rosacea flare-ups. Men also neglect their skin so this is a good opportunity to work a regular mask into your routine. If you’re in the market for something a little more homemade, James suggests a mask made from an equal measure of yogurt and honey with a pinch of porridge oats. Leave it on the skin for 15 minutes for a boost of hydration.

Face Paint Blue, £139, Dr David Jack

hould I start using any peels or active ingredients?

“You can start using active ingredients on a daily basis, but don’t just buy anything too strong,” advises Dr Jack. “You don’t want to strip your epidermal barrier right back. It might be tempting to start using glycolic peels and retinol creams but you need to build up gradually, particularly if your skin is not used to it.” A good routine to start with is using a comfortable vitamin C serum in the morning, such as Vitamin C Repair Serum by Balance Me, £25.60, with something nourishing in the evening such as a face oil or hydrating serum.

Are there any gadgets I can use at home to help my skin?

Investing in a silicon LED face mask, which emits red light onto your skin, can really help the skin and stress levels for men and women. “LED has a balancing effect on our bodies, which can benefit us in more ways than one,” says Laura Ferguson, co-founder of The Light Salon. “The lights can help lower cortisol, our stress hormone, and trigger the release of nitric oxide within each cell, our de-stress hormone. Red light also boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine, our happy hormones.” As for your skin, expect a more hydrated, youthful glow with daily use. ( Try the Boost face mask by The Light Salon, £395).

How can I make my fillers or Botox last longer?

“Botox and fillers are injected deep into the skin to the muscle and deeper into the fat so it isn’t possible to use anything topically to prolong their life,” Dr Jack advises. “The only thing you can really do is to use good skincare at the moment and stay healthy. There will be time enough to sort out any issues when we are back to normal.”

Boost Face Mask by The Light Salon, £395

hat’s the quickest way to look presentable for a video meeting?

“Use a good quality moisturiser, a concealer and a good mascara,” the make-up artist Adam de Cruz tells me. Warm your moisturiser in your hands by rubbing them together and then properly massage it into the skin to help bring all the blood to the surface. A.D.C 01 High Performance Moisturiser, £55, is excellent for both men and women. Apply a natural-looking concealer such as the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer, £34.50, under your eyes and apply two coats of your favourite mascara. As for lipstick, “apply a balmy, creamy texture with a hint of colour, and look for a multi-purpose product you can use on your lips and cheeks,” says make-up artist Ruby Hammer. Meanwhile “side-parting your hair will look immediately professional,” according to Hersheson.  

How can I make my hair colour look fresher for longer?

“There are lots of root touch-up sprays and deep conditioners that will help you fix your colour in for longer,” Hersheson advises. Try the Color Wow Root Cover-Up, £28.50, and the Reflection Masque Chromatique by Kerastase, £34.20. There’s no need to leave a mask on for too long, he adds, as most of the benefits will be achieved in the first 10 minutes. 

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