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I was due for a hair appointment, pedicure and a facial this week — a quarterly routine I refer to as my “30,000-mile tune-up.” Of course, with hair and beauty salons closed amid the coronavirus shutdowns, many of us — myself included — are now attempting DIY beauty maintenance at home.
While we may be sheltering in place, there’s something to be said for the “look good, feel good” mantra that warrants a quality at-home manicure or root touch-up, right? Or, it may just be that those overgrown bags are blocking your eyes and are just one more thing that’s driving you crazy.
To help coach you through some common beauty touch-ups you can do at home, we called in the experts. Here are their best tips for seven common beauty scenarios.
The Problem: Overgrown Bangs
While you may be able to go another month or so without a full hair cut, your bangs need regular trimmings or else they become curtains blocking your eyes.
The fix: Gather up your tools: A comb, hair clip (even a bobby pin will work), and a pair of small scissors— but absolutely no kitchen scissors, says Isabel Azocar, a stylist with Ian McCabe Studio. Experts recommend you cut your bangs while they’re dry because, that way, you’ll get the best sense for how your hair falls.
Section your bangs horizontally, securing the top half with a clip or bobby pin. Instead of cutting straight across (you have no room for error that way!), Azocar recommends point cutting, which is when you keep the scissors pointed vertically as you shear. This way, you can slowly but accurately trim your bangs.
Start in the middle, point cutting your way to each side, she says. Then, once you’ve completed the bottom layer, let down the top section and comb it all together. Let your bottom layer be your guide as you repeat the point cutting process across the top layer of your bangs.
A final tip: Be conservative with your cutting because you can always do more trimming, but it takes your bangs a while to recover from a blunt cut!
If you need a visual, one of our contributors successfully trimmed her own bangs at home this weekend by following this step-by-step on Instagram from user streicherhair.
The Problem: Gray Roots
Your hair grows anywhere from 0.2 inches to 0.7 inches per month — so, by now, those gray roots might be peeking through. Trust us, though, your hairstylist doesn’t want you to dye your hair at home while you wait for an appointment. Box dye is more concentrated, meaning it’s hard for you to exactly match the color your stylist has been custom-formulating for you based on your unique hair type.
The fix: Instead, try doing some root touch-ups between washes to hide your grays. To do this, purchase a bottle of L’Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Spray that best matches your hair color, says Nycole Jones, a celebrity hairstylist and an ambassador with Cricket Hair Tools.
Then, use a comb. She recommends the Cricket Ultra Smooth Hair Dressing Comb— to create a clean, smooth part on your hair before applying each spray. The comb will reduce frizz and impart keratin oil in your hair, helping evenly blend the root touch-up.
The Problem: A Bubbly Manicure
Tiny little air bubbles are often what sets a professional manicure apart from a DIY one.
The fix: The first step to emulating those smooth paint strokes you get in a salon is to roll the bottle between your hands, says Maria Velve, a makeup artist and green beauty expert. Polish will bubble if the polish bottle is shaken too roughly, she explains.
Allow the polish to settle for a couple of minutes before you start painting, says beauty expert Liliana Aranda, a licensed esthetician based in Oakland, California.
You’ll also want to make sure your base coat (that clear protective coat that prevents color from staining your nail bed!) is fully dry before applying your polish. Lastly, use thin layers of polish, not thick layers to avoid bubbling, Aranda says.
The Problem: Smudged Nail Polish
Another beauty blunder that’s common with at-home manicures? Polish that gets all over your cuticles.
The fix: When you paint your nails, start with the biggest nail surface area possible.
“How well you paint your nails also depends on how steady your hands are, so avoid caffeinated drinks before doing your nails,” Velve says.
Do your best to keep your hands steady and take your time. The hand you’re painting should be resting on a firm surface (like a table) that’s been covered with paper towel to keep any mess under control, she says.
Clean up any of the overpainted areas with a pointed cotton swab that’s been soaked in nail polish. It’s easiest to do this before the polish dries.
The Problem: Overgrown Gel Nails
While it may be tempting, you don’t want to try and pick or pull your overgrown gel nails off. Do this and you risk damaging your nail bed.
The fix: To safely remove gel nails yourself, apply a cuticle cream to the skin surrounding your nails. Then, use a buffing block to buff the shiny layer of polish off your nails, suggests Velve.
Soak cotton balls in nail polish remover — one for each finger — and place them one by one on your nails. Wrap aluminum foil around your fingers securing the saturated cotton balls in place.
Wait about 10 minutes while the polish softens, then use an orange wood stick to push the remaining polish off your nails.
The Problem: Dull Skin
You’ve probably got the ingredients you need in your kitchen for a DIY face scrub that will give you a radiant glow for your next Zoom happy hour.
The fix: Aranda recommends using equal parts sugar and honey with a dab of water to form a paste. Apply a thin layer on to skin, wet hands, massage for one to two minutes with very light pressure, then rinse with cool water. Afterwards, apply your favorite moisturizers.
If you tend to flush pink with little effort, skip the sugar and replace it with a more gentle ingredient, like crushed uncooked oats. Add half of an overripe mashed banana or half a mashed avocado to the crushed oats and honey, but avoid massaging into skin.
Simply leave the mask on your face for 10 minutes and then rinse with cool water. Then, apply your favorite moisturizer.
The Problem: Rough Feet
You could slap on some polish and call it a pedicure. But why not give your feet some TLC?
The fix: To safely soften the bottom of your feet, Velve suggests preparing a basin of warm water with a tablespoon of baking soda, some lavender essential oil, and a tablespoon of a carrier oil (like olive oil, which dilutes essential oils and draws them into skin).
Soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes. If you’d like, scrub your feet using a tablespoon of baking soda and 1/2 tablespoon of water, she says. After the skin has softened, use a foot file to gently scrub calluses and rough areas placing the foot back in the water to rinse off dead skin. Seal in moisture with a rich foot cream. Velve recommends Gehwol Med Salve to work wonders on cracked skin.
Hopefully, these at-home beauty tips and tricks will help you get by until your next appointment at the hair or nail salon. In the meantime, if you’re in need of a laugh, check out these at-home haircuts gone wrong.