We’ve all unexpectedly got a little additional time on our hands right now; it’s easy to waste away the days (and nights) in a Netflix and Disney Plus haze, demolishing another packet of biscuits and mourning the holiday that you’ve had to cancel, but we could instead put these weeks (and possibly months) to good use. We’ll never get the opportunity again to overhaul our beauty regimes in the way we can now, emerging from self isolation like a butterfly who’s just spent the last three months perfecting her cat flicks and double cleansing in the cocoon. So if you want to use this time wisely for more than just looking at cat memes, here are eleven beauty tasks you can do while in lockdown that will benefit you in the long-term while providing short-term entertainment…
1. THROW AWAY OLD COSMETICS
Every cosmetic product features a little jar symbol, accompanied by a number, somewhere on the packaging; this is known as the Period After Opening (or PAO) number and is essentially the expiry date of what’s inside. Beauty products don’t last forever, so it’s important that we regularly sort through what we have in our stash and throw out anything that’s beyond safe to use – products can range from 3 to 24 months, so you may be surprised how much you should be getting rid of! There’s no point in storing expired, potentially harmful and unloved pieces, so why not make this the start of somethng and commit to sorting through your stash every season?
2. GIVE YOUR HAIR A REST
We spend so much time drying, straightening, tonging and curling that our hair can become all kinds of stressed out. Not only is it a great idea to treat it to a regular hydrating and smoothing mask to inject back what it’s lost, but these ‘at home’ weeks provide a great opportunity to reign in the heated appliances and embrace a little more of the dry shampoo. Try extending the life of each wash by a day or two by embracing tied back looks, removing the need for over-styling every day, or even investing in a silk hair wrap and embracing all the amazing benefits they bring.
3. START TAKING SOME SUPPLEMENTS
Supplements can be life changing, and they’re something I *try* to take every single day in order to boost my immunity and body’s ability to operate as it should. There are now so many amazing supplements also designed to help boost the performance and appearance of skin, hair and nails, so making them part of your daily routine could provide benefits in the months to come. While we’re all stuck at home and have the time to remember to take them, it’s the perfect opportunity to start forming new habits.
4. UPDATE YOUR SKINCARE REGIME
Our skin needs are ever changing, so what may have worked for you this time last year may no longer be sufficient; you may be suffering more breakouts, dryness or oiliness, your skin may have started to show signs of ageing or just be duller than it was before. Similarly, you may have been able to tackle previous issues so those potent ingredients are no longer necessary on a daily basis – so jot down three things you love about your skin and three things you’d like to improve, looking at your current skincare to see if you need to add or remove anything within it. You may benefit from some Vitamin C or Retinol (more info on that here!) or a simple exfoliator to help buff away dullness; it may be that you need to avoid triggering ingredients altogether or start investing in some weekly treatments, but take some time to think about what will work for you – and the products that will help support that.
5. EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT
If you’re a little shy when it comes to wearing bolder colours, more on-trend looks or generally trying new things, this is the time to embrace it wholeheartedly. During the lockdown period the most exciting or public event we participate in is a trip to the supermarket, so there’s no fear of wearing something to work and realising half way through the day you feel entirely uncomfortable. Wear that bold berry lip around the house to get used to how you look; embrace a heavy khol liner or cat flick so you can perfect your technique while you’re hanging out with yourself; have fun learning new eyeshadow techniques or contouring, knowing you can take it off if you’re just not feeling it.
6. CLEAN YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES
Something that often gets so overlooked but can make the biggest difference, cleaning your brushes is a laborious task – but it’s got to be done. Even though we should all be cleaning our brushes regularly, it’s easy for months on end to slip by and for our tools to be saturated with makeup, dirt and bacteria; this just gets transferred onto your face with every application, causing breakouts and irritation while preventing your products from performing at their best. Giving your entire collection a deep clean will not only remind you of all the great things you have, but ensures that (when you use them) your products perform at their most optimum. Read my full post on why and how you should clean your brushes here.
7. REDISCOVER OLD FAVOURITES
Sorting out your stash offers more than one benefit: rediscovering those lipsticks you’d forgotten about, finding your favourite concealer lingering at the bottom of a makeup bag or even fishing out those gadgets you never had time for – until now. Use everything, have fun and make the most of the time you have to pamper yourself.
8. APPLY A REGULAR FACE MASK
You could be forgiven for thinking face masks are a superficial and excessive step in your regime – and they’re often the first to go when we’re short on time or funds. But if you use them wisely they really can help to boost your skin in ways you didn’t know was possible, unlocking a smoother, brighter, firmer and more hydrated surface that ensures both skincare and makeup performs at its most optimum. Taking a little time once or twice a week, especially while we have the time to do so, to apply a mask can be hugely beneficial. If you need a little inspo, here are some of my current favourite face masks.
9. EMBRACE FACIAL MASSAGE
I’m such a fan of facial massage, for its blood flow stimulating properties in particular, but when I’m tired I always make time for five minutes massaging my skin in front of the bathroom mirror because you can instantly see the difference. With over 300 pressure points on the face, a massage helps to stimulate the muscles and lymphatic system to lift, tone and drain away puffiness, leaving your skin feeling fresher, plumper, brighter and altogether less tired. Manually lifting and massaging away any tiredness is incredibly uplifting – both physically and mentally – and a great way to start your day. (You can read more about facial massage here and learn some easy techniques.)
10. SORT OUT YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE
Your bedside table should be a sacred place, reserved only for the tools you need to get a great night’s sleep and emerge the next morning looking and feeling your best. If you’ve started to store a mounting number of mugs, wrappers, gadgets and unnecessary products, then it’s probably a good time to start from scratch and allow only the most essential things to find a home here. (A noble beauty task if ever there was one!) My bedside table contains only my most used night creams and serums, a pillow spray, lip balm, eye mask and ear plugs… What about you? (See what’s on my bedside table right now here.)
11. AT-HOME MANI / PEDI
You may not be able to get to a salon right now, but giving your hands and feet a weekly pamper will help to prep and polish them for when you can. Soaking them in warm water with a little body oil will help to soften skin, nourish dry bits and help to evoke a moment of calm; a little exfoliator also goes a long way, as does a generous amount of cream and a 4-way nail file.
If you want to start making positive changes, why not write yourself a weekly beauty to-do list and cross off everything as you go? That way you’ll commit to treating your body in the way that it deserves to be pampered, while getting all those beauty tasks ticked off.