Don't be a slave to the salon, try these DIY stars.
Gel manicures and hair straightening treatments weren't even on our radar five years ago, and yet now there's no shortage of women booking recurring appointments for them, despite the time and money involved.
Thankfully, at-home contenders are slowly bridging the gap - here's how two new ones stack up.
Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel and Diamond Top Coat, $18.50 each
Some nail polish brands simply put 'gel' in the name as a marketing ploy, but I tested this out and was very impressed with the results. While Revlon don't specify a longevity time frame, I'm currently at 10 days chip-free (making it a great competitor for CND's Vinylux, billed to last one week).
Like Vinylux this requires no base coat, so colour can more
fully adhere, and it needs a special top coat. (It's also a lot like my fave from the early 2000s, Revlon Always On, which was discontinued but no doubt provided the starting point for this one.)
With easy removal and 30 colours to choose from, this gives you plenty of options and the chance to easily touch up if any chips appear on the final days of your manicure.
But you probably won't even need to - I've just subjected mine to a week of school holidays, which means hot pools daily, and it still looks great.
Normally the chlorine would have destroyed my regular manicure in a couple of days.
Verdict: Two beautifully polished thumbs up.
Tresemme 7 Day Keratin Smooth System (shampoo, conditioner and treatment), $14.49 each
Hair straightening treatments are super pricey (they can cost upwards of $400 for long hair), but they're also not something you want to skimp on (lest you risk formaldehyde inhalation and hair damage).
Tresemme's new system offers a shorter-term solution at a much lower price. While in-salon treatments typically use chemicals such as sodium hydroxide to permanently reset the hair's bonds, this version just temporarily breaks these bonds thanks to the heat in your straightening irons.
The conditioner and the treatment both contain polymers that help smoothing silicones bind to your hair, an effect which its makers say lasts up to one week, even though hair washing.
Does it work? This wiry-maned girl says yes. My hair feels softer and smoother, but still with body, and not as bristly as it would after a normal session with a straightening iron.
I can't attest to it lasting though a wash though, as my hair looked so nice I didn't need to wash it until the end of the seven days (just like with a salon blow-dry).
My next test will be whether it works with a tong instead of an iron, because I don't always want dead straight hair (and
am useless at curling with a straightener). I'm assuming it will work, providing you use the tong on high heat and cover your whole head.
Verdict: I'll be making a permanent switch to the Heat Activated Treatment as my styling product of choice. Ideal for thick, curly hair.