What I wouldn’t give to be walking around a gorgeous beauty hall right now, in some sort of new season outfit, picking out the very best new launches and then going for lunch somewhere fabulous. The beauty reality today has been far more stark, having just been in a virtual queue at Boots. I feel like a stranger in a strange town, and I certainly resemble one.
Now that we are really clear about the rules and regulations of living during these uncertain times, most of us are now at home. Usually being at home is about being relaxed, and mooching about in slouchy pants, and not really being too concerned about how we look. Now home has become crowded for some of us, solitary for many of us, an office, a school, and as my husband now calls the bathroom: the decontamination unit. He’s asked if he can use all of the goodies on the posh shelf. I have said he can wait twelve weeks before I reassess the situation. The Tom Ford is safe for now, people.
It is esteem preserving to have some semblance of a routine, but at times like this, basics become more important than luxuries. Is anyone doing a 10-step skincare regime right now? I know I’m not. And as so many of us are watching our budgets, and also having to stay home to embrace our own beauty and hair skills, instead of going to professionals, the next few months could see us looking a little different, to say the least. However, what we feel like matters. Women during World War II taught me this. My grandmother once had a home salon colouring hair using black dye meant for curtains. Everyone had the same shade, it ran if it rained, and it left precious bedding in a mess. However, apparently it left a glorious shine. Who knew? (Don’t try that at home, by the way!)
I am taking the situation seriously. I am one of those who will be at home for at least 12 weeks, and possibly longer. I’m also not being frivolous for the sake of it. However, if I manage to order necessities online then the following items might end up in my basket.
Leighton Denny Anti-Ageing Miracle Oil (£12)
I already have some of this, and I am so grateful. I was lucky enough to interview Leighton recently and when we were chatting about nail care we had a great discussion about proper nail care, and the good, old-fashioned manicure! Now acrylics and gel nails are out of the window, I personally hope everyone will look after their own nails. This is packed full of essential oils and a little goes a long way. Apply every morning and evening with you precious hand cream.
Liz Earle New Skin Repair Moisturiser in Light, Rich and Gel (£23)
I am a huge fan of the Liz Earle range and decided to give a few of the new launches a try. I wouldn’t be without Skin Tonic (£16) which is used after cleansing and before you apply your treatment products. This new take on Skin Repair is a reworking of their cult classic, and I opted for the super-hydrating Rich formula which locks in moisture when skin is dry and stressed. Mine has been a nightmare recently, so I have been teaming it with the brand’s Calming Botanical Drops (£26) to keep my skin balanced. A little treat for anxious skin.
Josh Wood Permanent Colour (£10)
The last time I had a salon colour, I had a reaction, with a product that has never bothered me for over a decade. I had already had a chat about finding one with fewer ingredients like ammonia, and this was the one that came out first in the search. If you are used to really investing in your hair, then you are probably freaking out about now, and hair stylists hang their heads when faced with traditional box dyes, but I currently resemble a badger. (For tips on how to home apply colour, subscribe to Nadine Baggott’s beauty channel – she’s brilliant!) So I’m lucky I already ordered this, but my husband is about to get unlucky, as it is going to be his job to help me with this one. I’ll keep you posted!
Fake Bake Mystery Shopping Bag (£20)
Going to another room for date night? Or a virtual dinner with friends? The idea of being ‘summer body ready’ has certainly changed, and that’s a relief for most of us, but some of us will still want a glow, even if we are sitting indoors, solo! The great team at Fake Bake have created this bag, with £100 worth of goodies, so you get to experiment and try something new, while the company has decided to help self employed tanning therapists up and down the land. Great tan guaranteed, good karma earned.
Garnier Body Repair (Priced from £3.44 upwards!)
Again, I already have some of these in my beauty stash because as soon as they come into stock, they fly off the shelves! Obviously, don’t go out just to buy some, but if you manage to get an online shopping slot for essentials, there is no harm in adding one to your basket. I get mine whenever they are on offer, so they are a bargain. It’s especially lush in warmer months, as it is so hydrating but also has a cooling effect. It’s brilliant on sensitive skin and at the moment mine is also being used as hand lotion and after sun!
While beauty is often considered a frivolous industry, so many brands right now are really being of service. Sali Hughes and Jo Jones of Beauty Banks are providing essential toiletries to those in need, and the Estee Lauder group are turning essential production over to hand sanitisers. LVMH, Coty and Bulgari, to name but a few. are doing the same. My heart goes out at the moment to everyone within the industry who had a packed season ahead which is now cancelled: let’s hope flattening the curve really helps. My prayers are with every single person involved in keeping us safe and healthy.
One day, when this is all over, I can imagine everyone in the industry will be busy. Hairdressers will be busy correcting hideous home hair mistakes, and beauty therapists will have wonky eyebrows to correct. I hope that the industry survives, and then thrives. Millie Kendall at the British Beauty Council has posted a valuable set of resources for everyone, as it is an area of the economy which is so vital in the UK.
As for me, I’ll be at home. It also means I’ll have company, as my husband is also here. I am currently describing it as like being on a cruise ship with no water and no midnight buffets. I am certainly not downplaying the current crisis, but I understand right now that sometimes we need something else to take us away from the 24/7 news reports.
Perhaps it is time to start using your saved beauty luxuries and goodies, because they do have an end date, after all. We all save things for best. Maybe ‘best’ this season was going to be the races, or a wedding, or a fabulous holiday, and now it could possibly be a night sitting outside of your front door, keeping a safe distance from everyone around.
As for my husband, I might let him break open the Tom Ford. You only live once, right?
To donate to Beauty Banks and for more information go to www.beautybanks.org.uk
For industry advice go to www.britishbeautycouncil.com
About the author: Nancy Buckland Kirk is a writer with a keen interest in fashion and beauty and a career which has spanned modelling, teaching and spreading the word about leading beauty brands.
You may also enjoy: Nancy’s skincare highs & lows.