From buffing off shellac to cutting your fringe and waxing – here's how to survive without the salon

From buffing off shellac to cutting your fringe and waxing – here's how to survive without the salon

January 6, 2021

WE’RE in yet another lockdown but fear not, salon-goers – this is third time lucky, and we are far better prepared than when we were first left in beauty limbo last March.

There is no need to panic-buy hair dye kits or anxiously peel off your gel nails – there are a ­number of easier methods you can try yourself to tide you over for the next few weeks.

From massaging away your crow’s feet to buffing off shellac and covering greys with brow mascara, Siobhan O'Connor asks industry experts for their top DIY beauty tips so you can still look your best.


LET’S not pretend some of us won’t miss our regular Botox fix over the next few weeks or months. But while we are spending more time at home, it is possible to keep wrinkles at bay.

Firstly, dedicate time each day to massaging your face using facial exercises such as FaceFit by MediSpa or those from face yoga accounts on Instagram.

Dr Munir Somji, chief medical officer of, says: “When applying face and neck creams, try massaging techniques – use your hands to sweep in up and outward motions on your face and brushing down to your neck to drain toxins.

“Incorporate home exercises to target facial muscle groups to lift, tone and tighten.” He also suggests that filler can be replaced by topical creams that contain hyaluronic acid, or alternatively, collagen supplements.


YOU have probably missed a few brow threads over the months, so what’s six weeks more? Embrace those bushy brows but keep them in shape too.

Your tweezers should be used only when absolutely necessary, and with precision. Leigh Blackwell, founder of The London Brow Company, says: “Plan the strays to pluck. Spray hairspray on to the brows then use a slightly wet toothbrush to swipe your brows up – this way you can clearly see the unimportant hairs that are away from your shape, and only pluck those.”

You could trim with nail scissors, but again, make sure you comb brows upwards first and work out where to trim to create symmetry.

Many of us have been using at-home tinting kits, but Leigh says: “With dying, do half the time suggested to avoid going too dark (you can always reapply). Rub a layer of ­Vaseline around brows before tinting to avoid dying skin and brush hairs in the opposite direction beforehand to ensure you cover them all.”


THERE’S a reason we pay good money for beauticians to wax away our body hair – it’s not an easy job. For ease, many of us opt for shaving or hair removal creams, but the hair grows back quickly and with shaving especially, it can leave skin bumpy and irritated.

Ellie Child, content editor at beauty platform Cosmetify, says it is essential to invest in a good razor with embedded aloe vera or conditioning serum – and avoid ­disposable razors at all costs.

If you are brave enough to wax, Ellie says: “Waxing is better for long lasting results as it removes hair from the root. Make sure hair is long enough and wait 24 hours before applying moisturiser – get one with cooling agents like aloe vera.”

But be careful not to leave wax on for too long and risk scorching the skin. An epilator also pulls hair out from the root but does not irritate the skin and gets even the tiniest of hairs. The devices are pricey, but in the long run your skin will thank you and it will be cheaper to invest in one than make regular salon visits. (Braun Silk-epil 3 3-410 epilator, £34.99,


BRAVE enough to neaten up your own bangs when they grow beyond eye level?

Top tip: Never cut it when wet.

Maria Galati, creative director at Taylor Taylor London says: “Style your hair like you normally would and cut it from dry – don’t be tempted to wet cut. And do not cut straight across. The technique to use is called a “point cut”.

"Hold the scissors vertically and cut up, chopping almost strand by strand as this will blend in more ­naturally than trying to cut directly across. You can cut horizontally for heavy blunt fringes, but be careful.”


IF you are due a colour, by all means try an at-home hair dye kit.

But if you’d prefer to hold on until your next salon visit and eke out your existing colour, there is hope.

Disguise grey roots by changing your parting OR use brow products and a ­mascara wand to cover up pesky strays. Head of the KH hair colour team Joanne Roe, says: “Prominent partings make it a lot harder to disguise those greys.

“If you usually opt for a straight line down the middle, flip over a layer of hair to make it a side parting – or try a messy zigzag style or no parting at all. This will ­definitely help make them less visible.”


CRANKING up the heating is wreaking havoc on our hair, causing more split ends. According to This Is Silk, hair wraps have soared by 700 per cent since salons shut their doors.

Liz Smith, trichologist and founder of The Hair Loss Clinic in London, says: “Silk protects delicate hair from friction. Cocooning hair in silk overnight also keeps the natural hair oils (sebum) nourishing it. If you don’t have a wrap, try a silk or satin scarf.”

Also try a hair mask weekly and avoid elastic or metal hair ties as they break hair. Cut back on brushing too and just comb hair with conditioner when you shower.

If you really are desperate to trim away those split ends, some suggest twisting sections of the hair as this reveals the split ends which you can trim carefully. (Wrap, £35.99,, use code FABULOUS10 for ten per cent discount)


LET’S face it, we are all in desperate need of a tan so give yourself a salon approved glow. Fake Bake’s consultant and celebrity tanner James Harknett says: “Always plan hair removal 24 hours before tanning, or two days before if you wax.

“Exfoliate beforehand so colour develops to its darkest, our skin can be dehydrated this time of year so don’t over scrub. Use barrier cream on tricky areas such as elbows and ankles. Start on the legs and drag your mitt down, covering all the skin before massaging around your knee with your leg bent.

"For arms move down from pit to wrist, and stand sideways looking into the mirror when attempting your back. Mix tan with moisturiser for your face and blend into the hairline with a cotton bud.

"Dry with a hairdryer afterwards, use E45 spray mist to make tan last longer. Avoid long baths as this will soak away the tan and use a little powder in the folds where you sweat more – armpits, under breasts – to stop patching.” (Fake Bake flawless, £24.95,


UH oh! Your festive lash extensions are ­literally hanging on by a few threads but you can’t get them removed. Avoid pulling or picking them off, and instead, buy some castor oil.

Yana Gushchina, founder of BBM Brow Bar London and celebrity hairstylist to super­models Adriana Lima and Gisele Bundchen, says: “When it comes to ­removing lashes, be really careful.

“Coat your lash line with ­castor or ­coconut oil and leave for at least 30 minutes. NEVER pull the lashes off, you could be waiting months for regrowth if so.”

Yana also says that castor oil can boost eyelash growth and foster thick, strong lashes over time. Apply at night with a ­cotton bud. (Castor oil, £6.95,


ONCE again, we’ve had to go au natural with our nails, but if you still have a set of ­festive gels on which need to be removed, DO NOT pick them off.

Nails.Inc founder Thea Green says: “Soak them off yourself with acetone which you can buy from Superdrug or Boots. First, use a file to buff the top, shiny layer away. Repeat until the polish appears matte.

“The more you buff, the less time you’ll have to soak in acetone. Pour the acetone into a small bowl and place another bowl underneath with hot water (this will heat up the acetone). Then soak your nails and remove them after ten minutes.

“Use a cuticle scraper or nail file to buff the melted part away, and repeat until all layers are off.  For tougher gels or acrylics, wrap your nails in cotton wool soaked in acetone ­followed by tinfoil – then carefully remove after ten minutes.” (Acetone, £2.99, Superdrug)


Turn your lockdown evenings into a spa session by treating yourself with these luxury products.



CAROLINE Smart, 25, from Harefield, Middlesex, has gone 21 days without having her lash extensions infilled or taken off.

She asks: “I would usually get lash infills to keep the extensions looking full. Now they’re starting to come off and it’s painful and itchy and some of my natural lashes are falling out too. What can I do?”

SOLUTION: Lash Expert Lauren Boxall at 3D Clinic says: “It may be because the extensions are too thick which can then cause irritation. Usually lash extensions will naturally drop off pain free.

“Use a lash remover to take them all off or use warm water and oil, massaging across the extensions – take your time to do it gently so you don’t pull out any natural lashes. For aftercare, use the Mavala double lash serum – it’s brilliant and you can wear under mascara too.

“Avoid rubbing your eyes, this may have also caused the pain and encouraged lashes to get twisted – use a cold compress to ease irritation.”

  • Mavala serum, £14,



CHARLOTTE Moody, 41, who works for an energy company and lives in Retford, Notts, is stuck with her glitzy Christmas acrylic nails.

She asks: “I had acrylics put on two weeks before Christmas and was due to have infills on Christmas Eve but I was ill so postponed my appointment to January. How can I get them off without damaging my natural nails?”

SOLUTION: Nail Technician for Elegant Touch Sara Sordillo says: “Glitter always looks good but it’s a real pain to remove. You will need a coarse nail file, false nail cutter, acetone, foil, cotton wool, buffer, nail files, cuticle oil and nail strengthener.

“Firstly, cut the nail tips off with a tool like Elegant Touch False Nail Cutter (£5.99, so that the acrylics are no longer than the natural nail. Next, file off the top layer using a rough grit nail file. Then cut the cotton wool into sections long enough to cover your nail plate.

“Soak the cotton wool in acetone (this will not work with acetone free or regular nail polish remover). Put the cotton wool on the nail and wrap in foil.

“Every 10 minutes, check the nail wraps and file off any of the softened acrylic. Start with the coarse file but swap to a softer one the closer to the nail you get. You may need to rehydrate the cotton with acetone and repeat the process. Do not pick or pull off the acrylic.

“Once the acrylic has been removed, buff your nails, apply a nail strengthener. Once dry, use a cuticle oil and massage in. If you are missing your nail art, there are some great stick on options with funky designs.”

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