- November 17, 2021
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CHRISTMAS is always manic and between work, buying gifts and keeping three kids alive, getting a mani or wax are the last things on my list.
But even if I could find the time, it’s almost impossible to get an appointment – with many salons already booked up until the big day.
Treatments are being snapped up well over a month in advance at the moment, according to booking site Treatwell.
Salon calendars for December are usually organised by November 18.
And good luck if you want the peak pre-Christmas dates between December 16 and 20.
Ricky Walters, founder of SALON64 in London, says: “We are noticing clients are super organised and are booking appointments ahead of the Christmas rush.”
But for those struggling to get an appointment, there are now countless salon-style treatments to do yourself at home.
From Botox in a bottle to a pedi in a box, they may add time, but save on money.
So, I decided to give myself a full-body makeover at home.
I saved around £600 on what I would have spent with the professional – and feel a million dollars.
These are my verdicts on each treatment, with marks out of ten.
FIRST up, what TikTok users like to call “Botox in a bottle”.
The wrinkle-zapping solution requires mixing two serums by The Ordinary (10% Argireline Solution, £5.50, and Matrixyl 10% Plus HA High Strength Peptide Formulation, £9.60, both at cultbeauty.co.uk).
SALON PRICE: £210 a session
VERDICT: I didn’t notice much difference in a week, but my skin did gain a lovely glow.
By Siobhan O’Connor
GET AHEAD: So you’ve got your pre-party appointment, but if you want a top up in between Christmas and New Year your best bet is to book up when you’re in the salon. Insiders say a Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon are the quietest times so utilise your annual leave and treat yourself to a pamper session.
BAG A BALAYAGE: Instead of going for your usual all-over colour, opt for a balayage. It’s a technique that gives you highlights by blending hues through your hair. The perk? It makes grown-out roots less obvious. Treatments start at around £100.
GO LONGER LASTING: Opt for a treatment that requires less top-ups. Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo that lasts up to a year, saving you pennies in the long-run but setting you back £250. While Gel-lys (pronounced jealous) has been dubbed the ‘shellac of lashes’, as it uses a gel rather than glue to hold falsies in place for longer – they last for two months at a time, with prices from £90.
NUDE NAILS: If you can’t live without your long nails, go for nude shades. The natural shade makes it less obvious when your claws begin to grow out – as they are a better match to your nail bed colour.
BLUNT CUTS: Go longer between cuts by getting a straight slice. It gives the illusion of thicker hair, making scraggly ends less noticeable.
EASY-to-apply individual lashes that can be removed daily or worn for ten days at a time (Lashify Control Kit, £115 for two sets, at lashify.com).
SALON PRICE: £150 approx. for full set.
VERDICT: I feared I’d get my eyes stuck – but Lashify’s demo videos helped. I got them all on in 35 minutes.
THIS product (vVARDIS Teeth Whitening Kit, £157, euvvardis.com) promises whiteness from the first use as well as protection against enamel erosion and decay.
SALON PRICE: £200.
VERDICT: You need a few attempts to see a difference, but it’s easy to use and my teeth looked brighter.
NEXT up I fancied a quick, glossy, bouncing do. Buying a Dyson Supersonic hairdryer for this would set me back £299, so I rented one for £5 on fatlama.com.
SALON PRICE: £40 approx.
VERDICT: A Dyson hairdryer has gone straight to the top of my Christmas wish list. I didn’t expect it to make such a difference but my hair looks so much healthier. I’m ready to party.
THIS keratin product (O’Wow at-home smoothing treatment, £38.45, beautybay.com) reduces frizz and lasts up to three months.
SALON PRICE: £200 keratin treatment, lasts six months.
VERDICT: Wow! Spray on dry hair, leave for 40 minutes, rinse, blow-dry and straighten. Hair was super-smooth.
FOUR-step regime involves soaking and scrubbing the feet before applying a mud mask and massage cream, (Pedi-in-a-box, £6.62, voesheurope.com).
SALON PRICE: £43 average.
VERDICT: My feet felt instantly softer and after a quick lick of nail paint, I felt high-heel ready.
THIS four-step kit (Makeup Revolution Brow Lamination Kit, £20, beautybay.com) helps you achieve stylised full brows at home and results should last a week.
SALON PRICE: £50.
VERDICT: Eyebrows looked thicker and you don’t have to fluff them every morning but process was a bit of a faff.
A FEW days before my spray tan (Tanologist 360 spray tan mister, £9.99, and Tanologist self-tan water refill, £12, asos.com), I prepared with an at-home wax kit (Flamingo body wax kit, £9, Boots).
SALON PRICE: £91 (leg and underarm wax plus tan)
VERDICT: Easy waxing for silky smooth legs. Quick and perfect tan – after only two coats.
WITH plenty of parties coming up, of course I want to look my best.
While I enjoy being pampered by experts, I’m not against getting my hands dirty and doing it myself – even if I’ve had mixed results.
The hair smoothing treatment was ace and definitely something I’d use again, even if it’s a bit of a splurge at £38.45.
I don’t need to do my hair every morning now – a big win in my book.
But one thing I won’t be doing again is styling my own brows.
It was too time-consuming so perhaps it’s best left to the professionals.
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