beauty

4 at-home beauty treatments you should NEVER do yourself.

Image: Busted! Cherry’s DIY haircut, circa 2002, inspired by Natalie Imbruglia and Craig Nicholls from The Vines. When you’re 20, you can get away with anything.

I will always choose to do my own beauty treatments, rather than go to a salon. This is for three reasons:

a) I love all things beauty, and I think DIY beauty treatments are so relaxing and fun;

b) It’s cheap, and I need to save my money to buy MORE BEAUTY PRODUCTS; and

c) I am stupid.

To misquote Spiderman: with great beauty obsession comes great stupidity. If you need any further convincing, read the list below of my biggest beauty blunders. Do not try these techniques at home.

1. Leaving depilatory cream on my upper lip for too long

Guess what happens when you leave depilatory cream on for too long? If you guessed “it does the job faster and better,” then baby, you’re a beauty school dropout. This is what happens: it makes a purple, blobby moustache form on your skin. Make sure you understand that correctly – MY SKIN turned a deep, mottled purple, in a huge moustache formation, say, in the style of Merv Hughes. The chemical burn didn’t hurt, but it looked terrifying, and boy, did it stick around. After many hours, during which I fussed and applied an ice pack, creams and anything else I could think of, the moustache disappeared. In the many years that I have spent beautifying myself, those hours were THE ABSOLUTE WORST.

DIY torture: “The day I waxed myself.”

What I learned: Do not put chemicals on your skin at home. But if you must, never leave it for longer than the recommended time. If you need to remove upper lip hair, use mini wax strips instead.

Speaking of hair removal – here’s what you need to know about each of the most common methods:

2. Trimming my own eyebrows

My eyebrow hairs are super-straight and grow straight down, like tree roots, so I have to trim them all the time. When I can afford it, a beautician does it for me. When I can’t afford it, I accidentally cut chunks out of my eyebrows, and then pretend I did it on purpose because I’m “arty” and “alternative”. This happened the night before my 21st birthday party. My friends looked a bit alarmed when I greeted them that night, but none of them said anything. That’s why they’re my friends.

The biggest eyebrow mistakes women make

What I learned: When trimming your own brows, only snip off tiny bits at a time, no matter how impatient you are. It also helps to use a brow brush to keep your eyebrows in position as you trim them.

3. Cutting my own hair to look like a boy

Little baby Cherry, 21 years old, cutting her own hair and wearing NO MAKEUP. Look at that skin! Ugh, YOUTH!

Throughout my early twenties, my hair was basically the same – one weird, cropped, goopy, expensive mess, inspired by popstars (Natalie Imbruglia, circa Torn) and rockstars. I spent my weekends working at my local department store, earning tiny amounts of cash, which I would later spend on haircuts at Toni & Guy. I accidentally started saving money by cutting my own hair.

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I was obsessed with different rock bands, as one tends to be as a youngster. The moment I heard Craig Nicholls from The Vines say that he cut his own hair, I lunged for my scissors and then snipped away. Seriously, Craig had the cutest hair back then – shaggy, yet also blunt and spiky, which was everything that a boy’s hair should be in 2002. I had the hugest crush on him.

Of course Helen Mirren cuts her own hair

But, riddle me this: if you have a crush on someone, why would you cut your hair so that it looks exactly like theirs?! This is probably why I could never get a boyfriend.

What I learned: Having crazy hair when you’re in your teens and twenties is a rite of passage. But, there’s also nothing wrong with growing up and having a sensible haircut, executed by an experienced professional.

4. Making my own body moisturiser

DIY moisturiser: not such a great idea, after all...

I have extremely dry skin, and I will try anything to remedy its sandpapery, lizardy texture. This year, I tried Lanolips Intense Hand Balm, and it actually healed my ultra-dry hands. The key ingredient in the Lanolips range is lanolin, a naturally occurring wax which is found on the wool of sheep. I had a brainwave. What if I made my own, lanolin-based body moisturiser?

I had recently ceased breastfeeding my daughter, and I had a leftover tube of 100% lanolin nipple cream. That night, I used my fingers to mix Cetaphil with lanolin, using a ratio of 1 part lanolin, 1 part Cetaphil. It took longer than I expected, as the lanolin was solid, like cold butter, and I had to really knead it into the Cetaphil. When finished, my DIY moisturiser resembled a tasty, glossy cake batter, so I immediately smoothed it all over my body. However, it wasn’t absorbed by my skin, and it left a very sticky residue. It felt like I’d rubbed a UHU glue stick onto my skin.

Sorry to break it to you – but you’ve been moisturising wrong.

I went to bed, and when I woke in the morning, I was still covered in goo. I sniffed the air. I wondered, 'Why does it smell like the Royal Easter Show in here?' It was official: I reeked like a sheep. Now, sheep are noble creatures. They have inspired religious texts and poetry, and they give us their lovely wool and lanolin. But, believe it or not, I don’t want to smell like one. I had to have a shower straight away, and I also had to wash my bedsheets, nightie and dressing gown that morning. And even after that, my bedroom still maintained a sheepy stench for a whole day.

What I learned: Leave moisturiser-making to the experts. If you must attempt to make your own, do a small patch test and leave it for 24 hours, to see what happens. Yes, it’s boring, but so is having a shower AND doing the laundry first thing in the morning. Wouldn’t you rather relax with a croissant instead?

Go on. What's the biggest beauty stuff-up you've ever done?

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