Try your hand (or nails?) at DIY treatments
by Cheryl Fenton
| July 27, 2012
The phrase “DIY project” usually makes us think of beautifying our homes — maybe refinishing a bookcase or repainting a wall. (Ah, the glamour.) But the DIY philosophy is also transforming beauty routines. Whether we’re layering on the perfect gel polish or giving ourselves a gorgeous blowout, we’re taking matters into our own self-manicured hands and tackling treatments once reserved for the pros.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about the time,” says Amy Chien Bailey, a busy mom and owner of The Beauty Mark, a Beacon Hill cosmetics boutique. Being professionally pampered is a beautiful thing, when you can swing it, but those with busy schedules sometimes find it easier to squeeze in an at-home version of their favorite treatment. “I’ve been trying to get into the salon for the past month, but I can’t just go when I want to,” Bailey says. “If I can’t fit it in, I would do it myself.”
“The do-it-yourself trend is big now. It’s allowing people to be more creative,” adds Michelle Lee, co-owner and manager of Salon Eva Michelle (118 Newbury Street, Boston, 617.262.8118). The salon now offers an hour-long one-on-one blowout class, sharing secrets straight from the stylist’s chair so you can perfect your own at-home blowouts. And DIY trends like hair chalking (one of our Hot 100 entries) allow you to put a unique spin on your style.
Of course, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice salon quality in at-home attempts. So we found a few products that replicate professional-level services for every beautiful part of your body — and provide easy entry points to the DIY domain.
• If you have steady-enough hands to give yourself a manicure, master the art of making lasts-for-ages gel nails with the new Red Carpet Manicure Pro 45 Starter Kit. This four-step process creates gel nails that maintain the same no-chip quality of salon manicures. The Pro 45 light cures color in just 45 seconds, and the gel formulas are user-friendly enough for first-timers. Available at Ulta (15 Mystic View Road, Everett, 617.381.0040) for $79.99, the starter kit also comes with tough-as-nails polish remover.
• Much as we’d love to hit Los Angeles’s Kinara spa and gossip with Halle Berry while getting side-by-side treatments, adding airfare to our salon bill seems a little over-the-top. At least we can rely on Kinara’s at-home Red Carpet Facial Kit. It touts the same results as the LA spot’s famous facial, a glitterati favorite. The facial peel refines texture with lactic and malic acids, while the neutralizer deep cleans with an intense tingle. Finish up with the polishing mask to hydrate and soothe. Swing by The Beauty Mark (33 Charles Street, Boston, 617.720.1555) to pick up a kit for $150 — and get ready for your close-up.
• We’ve previously written about the potential anti-aging benefits of red-light therapy. But instead of paying big bucks to hit the local red-light booth several times a week, consider investing in the hand-held Tanda Luxe, whose LED bulbs deliver concentrated beams of red light for DIY phototherapy. Wash skin, strap on the goggles, and then treat fine lines and brighten your complexion with two three-minute weekly sessions. The Tanda Luxe also boasts a vibrating massage head, something the bed lacks. This red-hot technology is available at Nordstrom (Natick Mall, 290 Speen Street, Natick, 508.318.2600) for $195.
• It takes time to master, but with practice the Temptu AIRbrush Makeup System delivers flawless coverage you thought only a makeup artist could achieve. Attach the AIRpod to your AIRbrush, turn the dial to your desired coverage level (from sheer to heavy), and squeeze the trigger to apply foundation, blush, or highlights. You can also airbrush on a sun-kissed tan and camouflage spider veins or bruises. Find the system at Temptu.com for $225.
• You know what makes us smile? The idea of not sitting in a dentist’s chair. The light-activation technology of the Luster 1 Hour White system brightens your not-so-pearly whites up to six shades in one hour, minus any pesky tooth sensitivity. No, it’s not the same light intensity as in-office treatments, but it uses similar technology and claims professional results. Bonus: the included Super Whitening Gel and Accelerator Mouth Rinse boost the whitening process. It’s available at most drugstores for $39.99.