The best beauty buys to get you ready to return to real life

We’ve all just spent the longest year of our lives indoors in front of a screen, watching our hair grow — and many of us have let our beauty routines go out the window.

I haven’t had my hair cut for six months or had my eyebrows shaped or tinted, and half the time I haven’t even bothered with makeup or proper skincare.

After all, it’s not like I was going anywhere or seeing anyone.

While a year of meetings on screen has taken its toll on my skin (dry, dull and grey), the filters on Zoom, Instagram and TikTok mean it’s not been something I’ve worried about. Until now!

Lockdown is finally coming to an end so it’s time to get ready for real life with these quick fixes…

Get glowing skin

Most of us will leave lockdown with worse skin than a year ago. A year of living your life largely indoors will do that to you.

‘Staying in over lockdown has affected our skin by increasing stress levels, reducing our exposure to sunlight and therefore production of vitamin D, and exacerbating dryness,’ says dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite.

‘Extra screen time also means additional exposure to blue light from laptops, phones, tablets and even LED light bulbs. It’s thought to cause skin damage via oxidative stress.’

Glow Hub’s Nourish & Hydrate Face Mask Stick (£10, glowhub.com), infused with peach extract, coconut water and hyaluronic acid, is a super-easy way to get back that dewy complexion — and you don’t even need to touch your face with your hands to apply it.

Wrinkles caused by all that squinting into a screen? L’Oréal’s Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum (£24.99, lookfantastic.com) is proven to reduce even deep wrinkles and leave skin glowing in two to three weeks.

And you can revive dull skin by adding Nip + Fab Vitamin C Fix Serum (£20, sainsburys.co.uk) to your morning beauty routine. This will help combat ageing from pollution and blue light.

Inspired by clinics in South Korea, AHC Essentials Sheet Masks (£6, superdrug.com) are high-performance, 100 per cent cotton wearable face masks that promise to boost moisture while also lifting, calming and nourishing skin suffering from indoor fatigue.

Scrub up right

‘The combination of indoor heating and reduced ventilation can lead to drier air indoors and this can cause dryness on the skin,’ says dermatologist Dr Rishika Sanhi, a consultant at The Private Clinic.

She recommends searching out sodium lauryl sulphate-free body washes to counter the effects, and applying moisturisers, as ‘creams and ointments are more effective at hydrating the skin’.

First, slough away dry, dead skin cells — your body will feel better and your skin willlook brighter.

UpCircle Peppermint Body Scrub (£14.99, UpCircle), gently buffs your skin with an exfoliating and invigorating blend of sea salt, eucalyptus, coconut and peppermint, plus arabica coffee grounds and shea butter.

Nourish your body with squalene-rich Lixirskin Universal Oil (£39, lixirskin.co.uk), a multitasking oil that can be used as a body oil or added into your bath. Formulated with squalene, evening primrose, camellia and raspberry oil, it will leave skin instantly hydrated, super soft and with a heavenly glow.

Shiny hair hacks

A year of lockdown actually hasn’t been all bad for our hair — most people have washed theirs a little less often and used fewer styling products. But while your hair might be healthy, it probably doesn’t look great.

L’Oréal Elvive’s More Than Shampoo Great Lengths (£6.99, available from loreal.com) has launched just in time for the end of lockdown and promises hair with three times more softness, while the Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water (£9.99, superdrug.com) rightly deserves the hype, fighting frizz and leaving hair super glossy in seconds. A quick squirt and you’re good to go.

Otherwise, get the salon-clean feel at home with Philip Kingsley Vitamin C Detoxifying Hair and Scalp Treatment (£28, M&S), a pre-shampoo treatment that removes residue build-up from products, hard water and pollution, and will leave your hair feeling soft and strong.

Finally, prevent damage with Fudge Professional Blow Dry Aqua Primer (£15.50, uk.fudgeprofessional.com), which not only protects your hair from the heat styling but also smoothes and hydrates.

The ‘weather-shield’ technology wraps your hair with a virtual umbrella so you can beat spring’s unpredictable humidity, rain and wind. Very handy when you’re sitting outside a pub.

Look filter flawless

Step away from the social media filter and start planning.

First up, you need healthy, smooth, natural-looking skin — the holy grail of beauty.

Use NYX Professional Makeup Bright Maker Primer (£15, nyxcosmetics.co.uk), a peach-tinted, skin-brightening primer infused with papaya and vitamin C extract that helps naturally brighten natural skin tone over time — it’s perfect for dull complexions.

Next, it’s time to brighten up. Read on for make-up artist extraordinaire Val Garland’s top tips!

Light up your skin

‘If you’re suffering from dull skin, get it back on track with L’Oréal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water Cream (£10.99, boots.com). The skin is instantly drenched with hydration and infused with botanical extracts of aloe vera, ginger and witch hazel. This is my must-have right now for lit skin.’

Make it mask-proof

‘If you’re looking for mask-proof make-up, Maybelline’s Superstay 30H Foundation (£10.99, superdrug.com) is a full-coverage, lightweight and long-lasting matte foundation that will stay put all day long.’

Sort your brows

‘Fix your eyebrows with the UnbelievaBrow Micro Tatouage Eyebrow Ink Pen (£9.99, Superdrug). It’s like a felt-tip pen for your eyebrows that lasts for 48 hours and comes in six shades.’

Get lippy again

‘Highr Collective has seen a 220 per cent increase in sales of its Chiltern red shade. Prepare for your date night with Highr’s Hotspots Collection (£40, highrcollective.co.uk), comprising the shimmery nude Chateau shade and Chiltern, a classic red lipstick that looks sultry on all skin tones.’

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

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