Louise McSharry: How to master DIY pre-holiday primping for dashing lashes, brows and nails in the sun

Sun cream’s on special in Tesco, the bikinis are spawning in Penneys, and the airport is chock-full of excited faces. That’s right, it’s holidays season and, let’s be honest, there’s nothing that makes you want to frantically book beauty appointments like a holiday on the horizon.

There’s just something about jetting off to a warm climate that makes you feel like every single hair on your body has to be the exact right colour and in the exact right place — and your nails? Well, they simply must be immaculate. I love a holiday-prep appointment as much as the next gal, but they really add up, and if you’re busy, sometimes your calendar simply cannot accommodate them. Thus, I love a little pre-holiday DIY.

While nothing compares to getting an expert to do your beauty jobs for you, you’d be surprised how many of them you can achieve reasonably well at home. Brow tinting is one I unreservedly recommend. The process is made incredibly easy by at-home tinting kits — I like Eylure’s Dybrow kit (€9.99 via mccabespharmacy.com) — which come with clear instructions.

Lessons I’ve learned include that the dye will tint the skin, so be sure to clean off any excess product that sits beyond the eyebrow; the longer you leave the tint on, the darker the brows will be, and that once you’ve got the hang of the process, you’ll no longer need the kit.

You can buy large tubes of tint and large bottles of developer (you need to combine both to dye your brows), which will last you months, cutting down even further on the expense. I like RefectoCil Lash & Brow Tint (€6.79 via salon-services.com) and RefectoCil Oxidant Lash & Brow Tint Developer (€6.89 via salon-services.com).

The above products can also be used for lash tinting, which I have also done myself but is significantly riskier as you’re working in close proximity to the eye. I’m not sure it’s worth the gamble, to be honest.

Also not worth the gamble is an at-home lash lift, in my opinion. Yes, there are kits available, and I’ve tried them, but I still wouldn’t recommend it. The process is tricky, and you’re using chemicals very near the eye. Even if you manage to do it safely, it’s very difficult to get a salon-quality result yourself. I ended up with one eye’s lashes lifted so significantly that they were eaten up by my eye crease, while the others barely lifted at all. Leave this one to the professionals, I reckon.

I leave my fingernails to the experts, but thanks to my toenails being permanently affected by chemotherapy, I don’t get pedicures anymore. (If you told me this, I would argue with you that nail professionals have seen it all and wouldn’t mind your gammy feet, but it’s very hard to listen to your own advice, isn’t it?) As a result, the 14 Day Manicure system has been a godsend. This kit (€89 via 14daymanicure.com) allows you to give yourself a gel manicure (or pedicure) quickly and easily at home.

Outside of the Starter Kit, which includes a UV lamp, base coat, topcoat, four polish colours of your choice and a basic manicure kit, there are 200 colour options available. I’m a huge fan.

Buying Irish

Staying with the DIY theme of today’s column, it feels timely to remind you of Heire. This brand was developed by professional waxers Trish O’Brien and Ellen Kavanagh, who used all of their skills and expertise to develop products that make it easy to wax yourself at home. Heire’s Strip Wax Kit (€13.99 via heirewax.com) was designed for use on the legs, back and toes, and includes wax strips and pre- and post-wax wipes. They’re super-easy to use and get the job done. The Hot Wax Kit (€21.99, heirewax.com) is recommended for the face, underarm and bikini area and includes salon-quality wax pellets that melt in the microwave, spatulas for application, and pre- and post-wax wipes.

Something old…

If there’s one thing in life I love, it’s a glowy blush. A little bit of shimmer on the cheeks makes the face look healthy and flushed in the most beautiful way. MAC’s Mineralize Blushes (€32 via arnotts.ie) have been a staple in my makeup bag for years now, thanks to their beautiful combination of a soft and sheer formula with beautiful radiance. This product layers easily so you can reach the level of colour you prefer. If you like a highly pigmented cheek, then you can layer this over another blush (I like to wear mine on top of the super-intense Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush) and still have a soft, glowy finish. I like Petal Power, a gorgeous coral shade, while Bubble Please is a bright pink totally in line with the trend for vibrant cheeks.

… Something new

Armani Beauty is quickly becoming one of my go-to brands for products that are straightforward, look great, and just work really well. The recently launched Luminous Silk Glow Blushes (€45 via brownthomas.com) are beautiful and would be an asset to any makeup bag. Available in seven shades, this formula is finely milled so applies softly and delicately to the cheek for a diffused effect. Light-reflecting pigments give a radiant appearance, without any over-the-top sparkle, making your skin look like it’s made of satin and lit from within.

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