One new and slightly panicked interest we all have in common since lockdown is DIY beauty and grooming. Within days of being asked to stay home, men were posting photos of their lockdown headshave. Others began to nurture quarantine beards. As roots began to peep, WhatsApp chats became box dye advice forums and pink hair ruled. Hairdressers advised clients’ scissor-wielding partners and housemates via videolink, like bomb disposal experts calmly coaxing a sweating action movie hero to snip the blue wire, not the red.
And there have been mistakes, particularly on (although not limited to) the heads of small, wriggly children. Wonky fringes, skew-whiff trims and accidental buzzcuts. If 2020 teaches us one thing, it may be to triple-check you’ve put the right guard on the clippers.
Here’s our round-up of personal grooming, lockdown-style.
Then: Ah! The hours away from the kids, the scalp massage, the coffee and little biscuit, trying to simultaneously scroll through all of Hello! and check out everyone else’s new dos in the mirror while you wait for your stylist. The giddy thrill of being asked ‘Where are you going out tonight?’ by a young person who’s under the impression that you still go out on Saturday night, then handing over a grocery shop’s worth of money to look like Hayley Cropper from Coronation Street and waiting til you’re out of site of the salon to stare at yourself in a shop window.
Now: Kitchen scissors. YouTube tutorials. An old t-shirt. A ruler. Hair dye from here to kingdom come. Gin. An hour or so scrolling though photos of the salon on your hairdressers’ Facebook page humming, ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and feeling relieved people can’t see the back of your head on Zoom.
Then: Perhaps tears and tantrums, sometimes apprehension, always a lolly at the end and an overwhelming sense of relief that there will be at least a few photos where the kids won’t be able to ask, “Why did you let me walk around looking like THAT?” when they’ve grown up.
Now: Let’s just hope that the 2020 mullet remix of jagged fringes with wildly overgrown sides will somehow become fashionable at some point. To be honest, it’s easier to cut it while they’re asleep.
Then: Impulse buys in the supermarket, a semi-relaxed stroll around Superdrug with a snoozer in the buggy or even a cheeky saunter around Peter Jones between meetings, the siren call of new make-up (“I’ll cover your eye bags, make your skin glow and turn you into Kate Moss!) is hard to resist.
Now: There’s no getting away from your own face during lockdown – whoever thought we’d miss not having to look at ourselves in meetings and pub quizzes. Dubious products are being unearthed from the bottom of secondary make-up bags and visits to the Boots website accompanied by prayers to any and all gods that light-defusing concealer, wrinkle filler and age-blitzing highlighter gel are considered essential items, and a delivery slot can be scored within the next month. ‘Makeovers’ now come in the form of face paint and felt-tips wielded by children bribed with the chance to ‘do mummy’s make up’ if they struggle through five minutes of school work.
Then: A whole spa day; the ultimate luxury. The soothing pan pipes and dulcet tones of the beauty therapist saying, “I’ll just leave you to rest here for 20 minutes” after slathering you in rich oils, followed by cups of weird see-through tea, guilt-free magazine reading and a little snooze. Bliss.
Now: Floating in a tepid bath of Matey bubbles with a black mould-trailing rubber duckie and a months-old weekend newspaper supplement that never made it all the way to the recycling bin, and the sound of a toddler hammering on the door demanding , “WHAT YOU DO-IN, MUMMY? MUMMY WHAT YOU DOOOO-IN?” before reappearing in a swim nappy and climbing in too.
Waxing, threading, lasering and shaping
Then: For every hair you don’t want, there’s someone who’ll rip it out for you.
Now: Well, at least we can’t go swimming.