Experts share foolproof ways to stay polished from top to toe

Buff your body (and nails) like a pro: It’s weeks since our last salon fix…and don’t we know it. In our vital series, experts share foolproof ways to stay polished from top to toe

  • Britain’s renowned beauty experts share advice for buffing yourself in lockdown
  • Tips shared include hair removal, manicures and how to keep feet in shape 
  • Noella Gabriel who is founder of Elemis, recommends body brushing daily 
  • She says dry body brushing helps stimulate lymph and blood circulation 

Like many, lying in a treatment room while a skilled professional massages your aching muscles with beautifully-fragranced oil is probably high on your post-lockdown fantasy list. Given going to the dentist seems like a treat right now, the idea of booking a manicure or wax seems positively self-indulgent.

But just because the professionals aren’t allowed to get their hands on you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give some of these treatments a go yourself. In the second of our three-part guide to staying glossy in lockdown, we asked some of Britain’s most renowned beauty experts how to buff your body from top to toe.

POLISH AND SHINE

Noella Gabriel, one of the founders of much-loved British spa brand, Elemis, says if you’re only going to do one thing to boost your body, it should be body brushing. It’s particularly effective when cold weather has you feeling sluggish.

Some of Britain’s most renowned beauty experts share their advice for buffing yourself in lockdown – including Noella Gabriel (pictured) who is one of the founders of Elemis

‘A daily dry body brush helps stimulate lymph [the body’s waste disposal system] and blood circulation for the removal of impurities from under the skin’s surface,’ says Noella. ‘It can change the total health of your whole body, boosting circulation, improving skin texture as well as giving your energy levels, and your immune system, a kickstart.’

She suggests brushing before you shower in the morning. ‘Don’t get obsessed with technique, and there’s no need to exert pressure, just let the bristles do the work.

‘Begin at the soles of the feet and work up the front and back of the legs and across the stomach and bottom, in an upward direction towards the heart. Then do the same on the arms, working from fingertips to shoulders.’


Pictured left: Almond Supple Skin Oil, from £6.50, uk.loccitane.com. Pictured right: Coffee & Cacao Body Scrub, £14.99, upcirclebeauty.com

A brisk body brush doesn’t mean you won’t also benefit from a good scrub. ‘Body scrubs are a great way to exfoliate dead cells which can dull the skin, and encourage new cell growth for healthy radiant looking skin,’ says Noella. ‘Regular exfoliation, twice a week, will keep skin functioning at its peak and stop it looking dry and depleted.’

And, after you brush or scrub, don’t forget to slather on an oil or body cream to nourish your skin.

  • KIT: Body Detox Skin Brush, £21, uk.elemis.com
  • Coffee & Cacao Body Scrub, £14.99, upcirclebeauty.com
  • Almond Supple Skin Oil, from £6.50, uk.loccitane.com

GIVE YOUR FEET A TREAT

Margaret Dabbs is a celebrity podiatrist who tends the feet of models, musicians, politicians and many more. While nothing beats a proper pedicure, she admits, you can keep feet in shape with an at-home treatment.

Her two top tips are to use a foot cream every night before bed, and to remove hard skin on a weekly basis. ‘The one indispensable tool everyone needs is a foot file,’ she says. ‘But you should only ever use it on dry skin. This is because you can take off too much and cause damage if used on wet, soft skin.’

Margaret Dabbs (pictured) who is a celebrity podiatrist, recommends reducing hard skin with a foot file and then using a treatment balm specifically for cracked heels 

If you suffer from cracked heels, a file can help prevent this in the first place. ‘These deep, painful cracks are the result of thickened skin that becomes dehydrated. They can become infected,’ warns Margaret.

‘Reduce the hard skin with a foot file, then use a treatment balm specifically for cracked heels to help instantly seal, relieve and repair persistent cracks in the skin.’ For fungal skin conditions, such as athlete’s foot, which are unsightly and can cause itching and broken skin between the toes, she recommends an antibacterial and anti-fungal cream used regularly at night.

It will also help discoloured, damaged, crumbling and unhealthy-looking toenails affected by fungal infections. Finally if you’re suffering with corns on the toes, these can be safely reduced with a file.

This eases the pressure and relieves the associated pain. Just don’t be tempted to attack them with a razor blade like a professional might.



Pictured left to right: Flexitol Heel Balm, £5.09, superdrug.com, Professional Foot File, £24, margaretdabbs.co.uk, Scholl Athletes Foot Cream Advance Antifungal Treatment, £5.99, superdrug.com

Look to take preventative action. ‘If you experience regular corns, review what you are wearing on your feet. Don’t be deceived by footwear that you are “living in”.

‘If shoes are over- worn, they can exacerbate bad foot habits. Take away the cause, and the pain will go with it,’ says Margaret.

  • KIT: Professional Foot File, £24, margaretdabbs.co.uk
  • Flexitol Heel Balm, £5.09, superdrug.com
  • Scholl Athletes Foot Cream Advance Antifungal Treatment, £5.99, superdrug.com

NAIL YOUR MANICURE

Whether you’re stuck with Shellac flaking off your fingernails, or want to brighten things up with a dash of colour, nail expert Marian Newman, founder and chair of the Federation of Nail Professionals (the-fnp.com) and a woman who has manicured everyone from Naomi Campbell to Angelina Jolie and Helen Mirren, has the answers.

‘Acetone nail polish remover is the quickest and most efficient way of taking off gel nails that have grown out,’ says Marian. ‘It can be drying, so put an oil or barrier cream on the skin around the nail to protect it.

Nail expert Marian Newman (pictured) who is founder and chair of the Federation of Nail Professionals, recommends using polishes that promise gel-style finishes instead of doing your own gel manicures 

‘Take a very light buffer to the top coat, as that’s solvent resistant, then either soak your nails in a bowl with enough acetone to cover them, or put a small amount of acetone on some cotton wool and place it on the nail. ‘Wrap the entire tip of your finger in foil to keep the cotton pad in place. Leave for 15 minutes then check it. The polish should peel off by itself. If not, soak for a little longer or use an acetone-dipped cotton pad to wipe it off.

‘Never scrape your nails as they’ll be soft and you might damage them.’

As for whether you should be trying to do your own gel manicures at home with one of the many kits out there, it’s a categoric no from the professionals, and that is not just protectionism.

‘The products used in gel manicures can contain allergens. In the hands of the professionals, where they’re less likely to be in contact with skin, this isn’t a problem. But if you’re doing your own nails, you’re more likely to get it on the skin,’ says Marian.

Instead, try one of the number of polishes out there that promise gel-style finishes such as CND Vinylux, £8.95, nailpolish direct.co.uk or Maybelline SuperStay 7 Days Gel Nail Polish, £4.50, Sainsburys.

For a home manicure, forget everything you think you know — no soaking in bowls of warm water and no cutting the skin around the nail. ‘Soaking makes the nail plate soften and expand and if you apply polish to it and it dries and contracts, the polish can peel,’ explains Marian.



Pictured left to right: Essie Treat Love & Colour polish, left, £8.99, superdrug.com, Artificial Nail Remover, £2.99, superdrug.com, CND SolarOil, £6.95, nailpolishdirect.co.uk

Instead, she advises putting on a nail oil, and while it’s soaking in, gently filing your nails. ‘Use a very fine emery board and angle it so it’s slightly under the nail, that way it’s okay to go backwards and forwards, you don’t have to use the file in just one direction.’

As for nipping away at every rag tag bit of skin around each nail, go easy. ‘If you’ve got a hang nail, snip it off, but remember, the more you cut that frame of skin around the nail, the thicker it will grow to protect itself, so instead massage oil into the skin daily.

Pick one with jojoba, avocado or squalane. These are the only oils that can penetrate the nail and lubricate the layers inside so nails aren’t brittle.’

After you’ve oiled, use acetone or a nail polish without any conditioners (they can stop polish adhering) to clean the nail.

‘Then use a base coat to prevent staining, two thin colour coats, and a top coat.

‘Remember to seal the very tip edge of the nail to prevent peeling. If you’ve got weak nails and want to protect them, add another colour and topcoat layer a few days later. The nail doesn’t need to breathe.

‘It needs oil, but you can apply that from the base.’

  • KIT: CND SolarOil, £6.95, nailpolishdirect.co.uk
  • Artificial Nail Remover, £2.99, superdrug.com
  • Essie Treat Love & Colour polish, left, £8.99, superdrug.com

HASSLE-FREE HAIR REMOVAL 

Whether you cream, wax, shave, epilate or zap, de-fuzzing is all down to preference. ‘It’s important to find a routine that makes your skin look and feel nourished, nurtured and smooth,’ says Arezoo Kaviani, renowned for her Brazilian wax technique and A-list clientele.

‘You may want to use several types of hair removal methods depending on the area you are treating. The key is to practise and perfect your technique.’

Arezoo Kaviani (pictured) who is renowned for her Brazilian wax technique, said the hair removal method used should depend on the area you are treating 

If you want to try a depilatory cream, she says it’s ‘vital you carry out a patch test 48-72 hours before using it to make sure you don’t get a reaction.’

When using it, ‘spread the cream evenly to fully coat the hair. Depilatory creams dissolve the hair right from the root so you can use it even on short hair and it will be effective.’

For those who fancy waxing, she recommends using strips (‘more precision’) and a bit of prep. ‘Don’t use a moisturiser on the day, but make sure you moisturise 24 hours beforehand as dehydrated skin is more sensitive to wax.’

Before starting, ensure you have plenty of time and good light. Apply ice to the area and pat dry to make skin cool and dry so it’s easier to wax.

‘Warm the strip by rubbing it between your hands so it is properly sticky, then hold the skin taut and smooth the strip on in the direction of the hair growth. Pull it off working against the hair. When you’ve finished, use baby oil to remove any excess wax then apply ice again — ‘it cools the skin and reduces the chances of irritation’. Arezoo recommends practising on legs before attempting the bikini line.


Pictured left: Nair Tough Hair Removal Cream, £6.19, superdrug.com Pictured right: Veet Easy Grip Wax Strips, £6.99, superdrug.com

Winter lockdown is the perfect time to embark on a course of at-home IPL hair removal, a light-based technique that works on the contrast between the skin and the hair to deliver heat to the root and kill it. (As a result, it’s not suitable for white, grey, light blonde or red hair, or for those with very dark skin.)

Brands aren’t allowed to claim permanent hair removal, but when it works it’s definitely long-term. The key to success is following a regular regime. Used weekly for eight weeks, this is highly effective.

Look for a product that has proven results and offers a money back guarantee. The Philips Lumea (£349.99, philips.co.uk) claims 92 per cent hair reduction after three treatments and offers a 100-day money back guarantee.

  • KIT: Nair Tough Hair Removal Cream, £6.19, superdrug.com
  • Veet Easy Grip Wax Strips, £6.99, superdrug.com

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