For all the downsides to quarentine-ing through what is turning out to be one of our more glorious London summers, a definite upside was the short drop and sudden stop of the requirement to look at all put-together.
Yes there was the House Party craze circa week two, swiftly replaced by Zoom, Teams, et al. and then the discovery (how exciting) that you can video call WhatsApp groups up to four people. But a screen hides all manner of faux pas slash laziness, and by the end of month one the usual routine of appointments that punctuate my weeks and months were a distant memory. Unlike my mother who rushed straight to her colourist as lockdown approached and so now has only “acceptable” roaots, I was already in need of an appointment a few weeks before Boris Said No. So month one was probably best described as a slow decline into ferrerl-ness. The tan faded, I ordered gel removal kits from Amazon, and I found a whole new love for wearing caps (am I rooty, am I not, who really knows….).
Things escalated during month two. Precious though it sounds, one of the little luxuries I allow myself is weekly visits to Neville hair salon for blow dries. This serves two purposes: a) good hair. And b) it frees-up my hands for the hour to reply to emails etc. Or that’s how I justify it to myself, anyway. Of course when Jack introduced me to Swing Skills, productivity dwindled somewhat, but that’s by the by. In lockdown, I was back to DIY. Or rather, Don’t-IY. My thick, coarse, unruly hair loves to get all knotty and much to my horror, after ignoring the brush for a few days, I was forced to cut a particularly gross knot out. You probably don’t want details, but I had purple shampoo-d quite religiously for the week prior (Fudge is amazing if you need a recco) so it was actually a sort of mauve, ratty little clump. Yuck.
But with no-one able to move and therefore all shoots cancelled or at least on long hold, the motivation to actually style my hair myself was minimal. So I washed, stuck a load of oils and nice stuff in to help with the condition, and shoved it in a bun. If I say I’d gone ferrell, it probably isn’t quite doing the look justice. Things were not ok.
Skin-wise, however, things have been quite glorious. My daily and evening cleanse, tone, serum and moisturise has been one of the most stable parts of my lockdown routine. The ritual has bookmarked my days, and given me five minutes to check in with myself morning and night. Not, of course, that I’ve been short on me-time. But there’s something about engaging in a mini-face massage that forces me to actually be a bit mindful, before I start my day of whirlwind distractions.
So here we are, a staggering 15 weeks after everything closed. Neville’s is back (I think everyone will be relieved when they don’t have to watch my hair creature descend the stairs each morning), and mobile therapists are working too. Which for me means nails and tan. I’m conscious that my skin will need to adjust to the increased pollution as we all get back to travelling more, so I’m adding an extra antioxidant step to my routine, and trying out REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist.
SPF is obviously always important (even inside – the harmful UVA rays penetrate glass. And cotton, for that matter). Many day creams carry a nominal protection factor, but the likelyhood of using enough to actually achieve the promised SPF is slim. So I use a dedicated extra step to ensure protection. Many of the more hi-tech varieties work as a good primer – I love Murad Invisiblur as it’s really magnifying, or Decleor Sun Fluid for Face.
And finally. Just a little ps – consider the impact that staring at a screen all day (phone / laptop etc) has. Increasingly labelled as the “silent ager” of our digital generation, blue light penetrates deeper into the skin than better known UVA and UVB rays, affecting production of collagen and elastic. Long term exposure can result in loss of firmness and an increase in visible lines. Opt for skincare with high levels of antioxidants to help prevent free-radical damage – I love La Roche Posay Anthelios AOX Antioxidant Serum. And Vitamin C is super high in antioxidants, both ingested and applied topically – try . Tip: these are great for travelling too as you just take the number you need. Don’t forget eyes, too – the thiner skin is more delicate and vulnerable. Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF15 protects skin from ageing UVA and UVB damage, reduces under-eye puffiness with caffeine, and is mega hydrating.
My essentials for skin when you’re getting more screen-time