The beauty products that got me through lockdown

— by Alyson Walsh



Where beauty routines are concerned I’ve always taken a low-key, minimalist view. Lockdown has elevated this approach to another level: barely-there has become rarely-there. As I’ve always suspected, less makeup really is more. I may never attempt to wonkily apply winged eyeliner again.

Here are the beauty products that have seen me through lockdown.

What do do about Feral Eyebrows

Initially, I tentatively plucked and trimmed the eyebrows and managed to maintain the shape but now they’ve gone full feral, I need another solution. In Before Times, I went to Blink Brow Bar to have eyebrows threaded and the wiry gronde (grey blonde) hairs dyed every few appointments. Now that is verboten, the wild brows have taken on a life of their own and plucking/ shaping the stragglers has become harder as they have grown longer and lighter. Rimmel’s Wonder’ full Brow 24-Hr Brow Mascara is great for colouring in and ever-so slight taming. Though months without dye means the brows lack definition; the DIY dye kit is in the post and I’m hoping once they’re more visible, shaping will be easier. I really must buy a magnifying mirror. And what is it with midlife eyebrows? –  patchy at centre, long and wiry at the ends, I may have to try a comb over.

Lockdown Skin

During lockdown I’ve been raiding the bathroom cabinet, using up everything I can get my hands on to avoid having to visit our local Superdrug. As I am often sent beauty products to trial, this has been no hardship. Dead cells have been removed with Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste and, as a result, my skin is looking brighter. Balance Me’s Vitamin C Repair Serum smells gorgeous and citrus-y and helps soften and brighten, too. Favourite lockdown moisturisers include: Boots No7 Hydra Luminous Day Cream which leaves skin looking lovely and radiant, contains SPF 15 and (apparently) provides an invisible barrier against pollution. As air quality has improved over lockdown, who knows? At the more expensive end of the skincare market, Perricone MD is the dog’s bollocks;  whenever I use these top-notch products (the Rejuvenating Moisturiser and Cold Plasma Advanced Serum) my skin looks fantastic and I’m inundated with compliments.

Makeup, what makeup?

There’s not been much of a change to my laidback beauty routine and so not much to report here. A quick stroke of Benefit’s they’re real! mascara and a slick of Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus or Rose and I’m good to go (for my lockdown constitutional). I was delighted to learn that Laura Dern is another BB lip balm fan. Though makeup is rarely there, I am enjoying Estée Lauder Daywear. This is one of the brand’s best-selling products, a multi-protection tinted moisturiser that smells like fresh cucumber and is very light and luminous. Perfect for Zoom, or days when looking a bit more polished and together feels like the right idea…


Purple Foam, Purple Foam….

Taming unkempt hair

My hair hasn’t been cut this year and I’m starting to look like Wyatt Langmore in Ozark. In the grand scheme of things, that’s no big deal. I can tie my hair back with a Scunci elastic and forget about it – until my appointment on Friday. The Living Proof shampoo is still on the go and from the bathroom cabinet, Pureology Hydrate conditioner has left the Rapunzel-like locks feeling baby soft. Shout out to organic brand Austin Austin, whose products smell delicious and are certified by the Soil Association. The Bergamot and Juniper shampoo I bought Mr TNMA for Christmas leaves hair feeling squeaky clean and smells delicious (so generous of him to share), and comes in a bottle made from recycled material.

Another haircare product on the lockdown list is Color Wow’s Color Control Purple toning + Styling Foam – and not just because squirting a fluffy lilac cloud into my hand is a novelty. The styling foam is an easy way to eliminate the yellow-y tones in the grey around my hairline, without throwing purple shampoo all over the bathroom walls.

One of my friends has dyed blonde hair and highly recommends the Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask (from £15). She’s been using it in varying amounts every few weeks throughout lockdown. This treatment is a bit like an expensive conditioner that brightens dull hair in-between colour treatments at the salon, and is also available in Ash Brown, Chic Copper and Warm Chestnut.

The DIY Pedicure

Toe nails as tough as horses hooves. Heels that look like old potatoes. This is what happens when feet are exposed (I’ve been living in Birkenstocks) and largely ignored for months on end. The Body Shop File-a-Foot is the best way to buff away old skin. And when heels crack and start to feel sore I tend to slather them with hand cream or body lotion rather than buying a specific product. When that’s not enough, I have used O’Keefe’s Healthy Feet and the bathroom cabinet has just revealed a Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Feet Foot Oil spray. Result. The at-home, speedy pedicure is not as neat as a professional job but I’ve found OPI nail polish to be a superior, faff-free product and am currently enjoying an array of pastel shades (see below).


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More on lockdown hair HERE and makeup HERE.

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  Where beauty routines are concerned I’ve always taken a low-key, minimalist view. Lockdown has elevated this approach to another level: barely-there has become rarely-there.