6 DIY hair and beauty treatment skills you shouldn't be intimidated to master during lockdown

Illustration. Photo by Nataliya Petrova/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Illustration. Photo by Nataliya Petrova/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The fruits of my labour that I look forward to indulging in the most at the end of each month are beauty/vanity/pamper specific. This involves my monthly gelish manicure appointment, a gelish pedicure every other month, hair treatments, a wax, and a peel when it's necessary. 

However, one cannot enjoy these fruits anymore because they abruptly went off-season due to a virus that has now compelled us to do our own manual labour in order to harvest a new crop to satisfy us for an indefinite period of time. 

In the meantime, as a substitute for my usual Dermalogica peel here and there, I've started using the Avène A-Oxitive Night Peeling Cream, which is equivalent to three peeling sessions. *RSP is R409. 

DIY home beauty treatments

READ MORE: DIY skin and spa treatments - Just because you're locked down, it doesn't mean your pores have to be   

Hate it or love it, but the fact that the lockdown has economically cut off the hands we've come to appreciate as the time-saving extensions of our capabilities, has made it a period of learning new skills that we might have never deemed necessary to pick up otherwise. For example, re-upholstering one of your old wigs... 

While some U.S. protesters call for their country to be reopened on account of the 'need' to get their roots retouched at the hairdresser, the rest of the world has been baking, doing our own deep-cleaning, sewing, picking up online courses, car washing, being all-in-one hairdressers, aestheticians, and nail technicians, and some have even taken on homemade beer brewing.

Overwhelming, but at least it's keeping many occupied over weekends that would have usually been spent jovially on hikes, book club meetings, dates, catch-up dinners, and milestone celebrations. 

Besides really missing fiery catch-up dinners/drinks with old friends and warm chats with acquaintances at events, I'm surprisingly not affronted by the cold solitude of mastering new skills in my apartment. Before this lockdown, I lived my life in a constant rush, bouncing from one commitment to the next until I dribble into bed with exhaustion, leaving very small windows left ajar for me to breathe in some air. 

What this meant is that the beauty treatments I spoil myself with are usually booked directly after work because everything in this city closes at 6pm - a rush. Evening commitments are scheduled directly after work - more rushing. Applying just enough concealer to catch a red-eye flight - a scurry I could probably do without. Friday or Saturday night dining is abbreviated by the sudden reminder that I'm doing admin I can't complete during the week in the morning.

So yes, now that I've finally learnt to contour in 20 minutes rather than the 8-minute maximum I allocate when hurriedly getting ready for both serious commitments and social gatherings pre-Covid, I appreciate how I've introduced boredom to a new friend.  

READ MORE: From home facials to body scrubs, here's what's in the W24 team's lockdown beauty routines

W24's Phelokazi Mbude shares similar sentiments, saying "after mildly avoiding hair salons in my late teens, I started doing my hair at home more and more. I used to relax and do hair treatments at home and my sister would to do my braids every now and then. When I left for university, I taught myself how to do braids, since then doing my own hair has always been normal and I took pride in that skill that I eventually stopped going to hair salons. 

"With adulthood, the time to do my own hair became increasingly limited but because I enjoyed it I continued doing most of my hairstyles with the exceptions of haircuts and cornrows. However, since lockdown started I’ve started romanticising the trips back to the hair salon. Now that I have no other choice but to, although I understand under these circumstances,  I almost feel sad about not having the option to go to a salon. Even though my hair is thriving with the increased attention I’m giving it, I’ve reached a new level of tedium with spending days doing manual labour around the house and having to wash and deep condition a growing afro afterwards. Having found a new appreciation for professional hairstylists, I look forward to spending life post lockdown using their services more often." 

Alas, we're our own hairdressers and beauty therapists for now, so here's how we're dealing: 

My hair needed to be as relaxed as I am on Sundays

This past weekend I learnt how to relax my own hair at home for the first time ever. I took a detour (and by that I mean I actually just got off the train) on my natural hair journey in 2019 when I decided to cut my (impressively long) tresses on impulse, showing off a relaxed pixie 'do instead. I soon learnt that this too, is high maintenance and by the end of 30 days in lockdown, my regrowth was unbearable, so I finally took matters into my hands - daunting as the task appeared to be. It turned out great. 

How? 

I simply followed the instructions provided in the Dark & Lovely home relaxer kit, word for word and step by step. Also take note of hair texture indications given for optimal results. Additionally, blow dry on medium heat settings to avoid risk of hair damage. 

Detangle and unwind 

For those with glorious natural manes. 

In a previous W24 article published earlier this year, we spoke to natural hair care entrepreneur Kelly Thela from K Hair, and she shared the following tips with us:

First off, the detangling tools you use matter, you don’t want tools that will tug and strain your hair. Kelly recommends you use a good quality detangling brush as “it's kinder to ethnic hair because it helps with preventing breakage”. 

It makes sense why U.S. natural hair bloggers stress the use of the “Denman brush”. Kelly says it is best to find good quality detangling hair tools because a badly made comb is bound to fall apart. 

Secondly, moisture before detangling is as important to prevent both kinds of breakage. The key steps when attempting to detangle your natural hair is ensuring it's hydrated and moisturised with hair oils that compliment your hair type.

She recommends adequate application of these oils. "Make sure you don’t starve your ends — your hair starts breaking from the ends,” she says.

She also recommends using a spray of water to get your hair damp enough to comb through if it is dry or it wasn't just washed. 

READ MORE: Is your hair breaking all your combs? Careful, you may be risking hair breakage too - key tips from a hair expert  

Make bald moves

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Being in lockdown has inspired a few to go bald for an array of reasons - from doing it for easier maintenance, to a need for a fresh start to doing it for a good cause like Nadia Jaftha who created a buzz about her new cut.  

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She is bold.

A post shared by Hlehle_lupindo (@hlehle_lupindo) on

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Can we keep her ???

A post shared by Nadia Jaftha (@nadiajaftha) on

If you've been toying with this idea, hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons, who spoke to Allure, shared the following advice on using the correct tools to cut your own hair;

Andrew advises buying a pair of hair-cutting shears rather than using any of the regular scissors you already own. "The reason that stylists use shears versus the ones sitting in your junk drawer at home is because the sharp, precise blades allow you to be much more exact and make it easier to get clean lines and edges," he explains. 

With regards to going bald or getting a buzz cut, a separate Allure article notes that all you need is a pair of clippers with multiple guards, while adding the following caveat; 

"However, don’t get creative and reach for beard trimmers instead — make sure to use and/or purchase clippers made specifically for hair on your head. Beard trimmers and hair clippers are quite different." 

Stylist Vernon Scott, who works with Danai Gurira, Cynthia Erivo, and Idris Elba, also explains that "the higher the number guard, the less amount of hair it will cut. The lower the number, the more hair it will cut." 

Short and 'sweet' 

Sticking to the subject of going hairless, many have expressed how much they miss going for bikini and Hollywood/Brazilian waxes. This might mean that we now have a phenomenon called "Lockdown fuzz" or maybe those who participated in Januahairy are embracing it all over again. 

READ MORE: There's no shame in letting your body hair flourish - women embrace the Januhairy movement and are sharing social media snaps 

You could opt for hair removal (depillatory) creams for now if you don't mind dealing with the admin weekly - we all know the hair grows back by the time you've finished moisturising your body after your shower. Or you could try wax strips and microwaveable wax solutions.  

Alternatively, sugaring could be the sweet hair removal method to try your hand at - it's slightly less painful than waxing and is recommended for sensitive skin. All you need is sugar, water and lemon juice to make the wax.

Kendra Hunsley, a local fashion content creator, made a detailed step-by-step YouTube tutorial on DIY sugaring in the early days of the national lockdown, sharing the following advice; "It is super important that you remove the sugar every 10-15 secs interval and mix it. Keeping it in high heat for too long can burn it." 

Watch the quick tutorial here:

Nail another skill 

During lockdown I have also learnt how to soak off a gel manicure at home - begrudgingly so. 

If you haven't already, you'll need to remove your set of glossy texters at home soon. Here's what you'll need: 

- coarse nail file 

- cuticle oil or moisturising hand cream

- acetone (try Clicks or Dis-Chem) 

- cotton wool (preferably cotton balls)

- aluminium foil 

- nail stick or cuticle pusher (if you don't have one, use another bluntly sharp object to scrape the gel off)

- nail buffer/ polishing block 

And follow the easy instructions in the article below, while you rewatch New Girl

READ MORE: Your gel polish soak off appointment is long overdue - Here's how to easily do it at home   

Blink, and you're done

Lastly, as I mentioned before, we now have time to master some makeup application techniques we didn't quite have the time for before. Contouring, brows and lash application are the most searched for makeup tips on the internet, so let's revisit the advice shared by Pinky Goat experts on how to apply and care for false lashes. 

Remember: It’s normal to have questions about wearing false lashes, especially when it’s your first time applying them. Practice makes perfect, and the more you wear them, the easier the application process becomes.  

See this article below for the answers to all your questions.

READ MORE: International eye brand loved by celebrities answers your burning questions about false eyelashes

And just like that, you've converted your abode into a beauty salon sans the intrigue of eavesdropping on the tittle-tattle around you.

Have you figured out how to do any other beauty treatments at home? Share your nifty tips with us here

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