Home Style: DIY Salon Treatments, From Hair and Nails to Lashes
When it comes to full, polished waves, retro rollers are infinitely more efficient than giving yourself a blowout. Photo: Archive Holdings Inc./Getty Images
With just a little beauty know-how and an array of innovative new products and classic techniques, you don’t need to book costly, time-consuming salon appointments — unless you want to.
Salon Shine & Tone
Most hair brands now offer home versions of the sheen and colour enhancing glossing and glazing treatments that women once paid $70 or more for in a salon. They range from semi-permanent treatments that penetrate the hair shaft and last up to 25 shampoos to those that just coat the surface and last four or five washes. Glaze for Beautiful Color by Oribe (pronounced Or Bay) bills itself as “a high-gloss top coat for hair” and is a pro favorite for its silky, shiny finish that adds tons of reflection without altering hair colour. Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Clear Hair Gloss is another highly rated sheen enhancer at half the cost. If you loyally book one stylist for your colour, it’s better to stick to clear products as pigmented ones can interfere with their work. But if you dye your hair yourself, or hop around salons for your colour, a colour-enhanced semi-permanent glaze will instantly refresh fading or brassy tones.
Swishy Event Do
Even if a woman only gussies herself up occasionally, a set of XL hot rollers is really convenient. Retro workhorses that add volume and bounce while smoothing out frizz, they work especially well with medium length hair and layers but improve any mane with enough inches to work with. Infinitely more efficient than giving yourself a blowout, they do your hair while you do your makeup (or whatever).
For best effect, use them on clean, dry hair you’ve run mousse through while damp to add hold. Use two to four along the top of your head, depending on hair thickness, rolling backwards toward the crown. Then do the sides and back of the head, rolling downwards. Another bonus with jumbo rollers is that you need less of them so they’re quicker to use.
Now you have your hair off your face to do your makeup and, by the time you’re done with that (or 20 minutes later, whichever comes first), so is your hair. Remove rollers when cool to the touch, brush hair out, give it a light mist of hairspray, and you have swingy, voluminous hair that lasts all night and takes only moments to do. If you have fine or thin hair, a set of five will suffice and you can size up from there to eight and twelve, depending on your hair’s length and thickness. Note: Jumbo rollers can be 1.5 inches, 1.3/4 inches or 2 inches. The bigger the better. The goal here is not curls — it’s full, polished waves.
Nail Bar Gel Manicures
If you enjoy a simple, classic manicure — one colour or clear — this is something you can easily do at home while watching a movie, instead of spending an hour-plus in a salon. The Salon Gel Polish Gel Starter Kit from Sally Hansen is simple to use and includes enough product for 10 pro-level manicures, offering no chipping and a mirror-like shine for two weeks. That’s five months of glossy nails for $66.50. This is a particularly great DIY for women who wear their nails clear or light pink to beige as pale neutrals are a blunder-free breeze to paint and the hard finish keeps your nails long and strong.
After prepping nails, apply the base coat, the colour and the seal with the topcoat, then set the gel with the UV-LED light. This kit comes with a shell pink polish but if you prefer a bolder hue, you can add it to your order. Or you can buy the light (ideally, one that fits both hands like this one) and order your preferred lacquer brand, OPI to Essie, and the required accoutrement — files and buffers, rubbing alcohol, acetone (which also come in wipes), cuticle oil, pusher and clipper — separately.
Salon Lash Extensions
Yes, really. You can now do semi-permanent lash extensions at home. Introduced in 2022, Lashify’s award-winning Control Kit includes lashes, a flexible ‘Whisper Light’ bonding product in clear or black and an applicator wand. You select the length and style of lash — Amplify (most natural), Bold (thicker like mascara) or Curl (Amplify with a stronger curl) — which are attached along the underside of the lash line for seamless integration with the company’s patented, biotin-infused adherent and applicator wand. Fashioned from Korean silk, the lashes are weightless, last 10 days and you can sleep and shower in them. Available in an array of colours, redhead to black, they range in thickness and length from Plus+ (subtle yet significant enhancement) to the Volume Collection (obvious/glam).
Admittedly, these are only “easy-to-use” for women who are pretty deft with beauty techniques, but if that is the case, at $152 + $25 for refills, that’s $100, three times a month, you’re not spending to have a salon enhance your lashes.
Makeup Artist Lashes
Though single-use falsies can be easily applied, most women avoid them for fear of looking like a drag queen or a Kardashian. With an application process that seems dauntingly gluey and ripe for disaster, many leave this to pros when having makeup done for a wedding or special event. Shame, since nothing adds oomph to the eyes like lush lashes and there are easy ways to ace this flattering — not fake-looking — enhancement for any night out. You’ll find super-natural lashes at LoveSeen, former fashion queen Jenna Lyons’ online lash boutique, where anti-faux looks include light brown lashes at an everyday length adhered to clear bands that are so understated you can even wear them alone. And even a novice can attach a demi-lash using clear glue. After applying a thin coat of mascara and your eye makeup, this half lash runs from middle to outer lid and is far easier to attach than a full lash — which needs to curve along the entire eyelid and, thus, sometimes pop up at the edges requiring annoying reattachment techniques.
Also, modern clear eyelash glue is super neat, compared with the goopy white version (that dried clear) of yore, and it even comes in ultra-easy-to-apply pens. You can buy demi-lashes pre-cut or make your own by slicing drugstore pairs in half, or a bit longer, and applying the shorter end from mid-eyelid to end along the glue line. Clipping your own has the dual advantage of allowing you to cut a slightly longer section that’s more tapered on the inner end than store bought demi-lashes, so they blend more smoothly with your own. And if that’s too much trouble, it doesn’t get much easier than magnetic lashes that work with a specialty eyeliner that holds them in place. With Moxielash, for example, you can even switch out Day to Evening lashes without reapplying the liner.
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