The realities of lockdown have well and truly set in, meaning alongside a lack of milk and a 50,000-strong queue for an Ocado, salons are closed for at least three weeks. But your hair will still grow, your pores will still clog, and your nails will still chip. In order to help you keep on top of your grooming game, we asked some beauty professionals which gadgets are worth the investment.
If you have gels or acrylics on right now, you might be feeling a little twitchy. And while you might never have considered giving yourself a manicure, needs must. Kate Williamson, a nail technician whose client base includes Jourdan Dunn and Salma Hayek, recommends Navy Pro Tools Professional Nail Kit, £255 (NavyProfessional.com), which includes every tool you’ll need. “Cuticle work can be fiddly but this makes it easy. A cuticle nipper and a pusher are a must-have, but the full set is worth the investment - pro-standard, chic and easy to use.”
Need to remove a Shellac? Williamson advises a 180 Grit Nail File, 89p (SallyBeauty.co.uk). “A coarser nail file, use it to slough off the top layer Shellac before soaking nails in acetone to remove the polish. Afterwards use a 220 Grit Nail File, £5.79 (SallyBeauty.co.uk) to shape and tidy your natural nail.” She also suggests an old-school four-in-one buffer to keep your bare nails healthy and happy.
“If your nails look feeble after removing gels, coat them in nail oil and buff all over for deep hydration.” She also warns against using a UV light to do your own gels at home, as a lot of the kits online are rarely safety-checked, and in extreme instances, could burn your hands and bore holes in your nails. Yuck.
Even if you rarely get facials, something about being cooped up indoors has you scrabbling around for any skin care that so much as mentions ‘refine’ and ‘decongest’. Aesthetician and founder of Black Skin Directory Dija Ayodele suggests investing in a facial steamer. Why? “During times of stress and anxiety, your skin can experience a surge of testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol, which can make it oilier and give you breakouts.” (See also: your period.) Ayodele adds: “Steaming can help open your pores and prevent oil, debris and old skin cells forming spots.” Sarah Chapman's Pro Pore Refiner, £128 (CultBeauty.co.uk) delivers an elegant, but targeted, burst of steam. Ayodele suggests incorporating into your current skincare regime once a week.
To deep clean the skin, aesthetic doctor Dr Barbara Kubicka recommends the Remington Reveal Facial Cleansing Brush, £88.77 (Amazon.co.uk). “It has three heads: one is for sensitive skin, another for normal skin, and another for oily, congested skin.” Having personally helped design it, it’s the closest you’ll get to a pro facial at home right now.
Oh, and for spots, look no further than the Tweezerman No Slip Skincare Tool, £12.50, (Tweezerman.co.uk). No further detail needed. You know exactly what we mean.
If your skin concerns are less about oil control and more about radiance boosting, Dr Kubicka also suggests microneedling. The BeautyBio GloPro Microneedling Regeneration Tool, £199 (CultBeauty.co.uk) creates tiny, tiny, (think 0.2mm) holes in the skin as you roll it over your face. Your body registers this as an injury, giving a boost of healing collagen and elastin to the area. LED masks are also great for refined texture and a sunshine-y warmth. “Healthy, radiant skin is dependent on your cells functioning at their optimum capacity, so a light therapy gadget is a brilliant investment,” says Ayodele. Alongside being as efficacious as they come, the Light Salon Boost LED Mask, £395, (TheLight-Salon.com) rolls/ folds away, which is incredible considering most are made of the kind of clunky plastic that invariably doesn’t fit in any cupboard.
If you’ve been overzealously dry shampooing, and sticking your hair up in a bun, listen up. Colour specialist at FOUR London, Maleeka Robb, says it’s a recipe for disaster. “It can make your scalp really sore!,” she explains. “Obviously, you don’t need to wash and blowdry every day, but you need to give your scalp a break”. The Manta Brush, £25, (MantaHair.com) massages and exfoliates the scalp and detangles hair while giving it a nice sheen.” If you do feel to need to zhuzh up for a Zoom call, however, Robb decrees that Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, £299 (Dyson.com) is still the Rolls-Royce of hairdryers. “It’s so light, and it works quickly, reducing heat damage, and making the task way less of less of a chore.” Sold!