2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程

Let’s face it, we can all paint nails – and embrace our grey now salons are shut

The trout-pouts may be shrivelling and wrinkles returning, but who's going to see us, asks Miranda Levy

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Woman in a clay face mask with her hair tied back
How about some home beauty treatments as an alternative to salon visits? Credit: Cavan Images

At the age of 51 - and newly returned to Chigwell, Essex, the suburb of my birth -  I have become a recent adopter to an enhanced beauty regime. The urge to groom has hit me by osmosis. In the past six months, I have, for the first time, coloured my hair, got my nails done with semi-permanent shellac, and had facial injections. For many here, in the land of TOWIE (The Only Way is Essex), the salons count as essential services: will trout-pouts shrivel? Foreheads cave in? Home-bleached hair fall out?

These are, of course, flippant comments in a time of worldwide disaster.  But our beauty is a real concern. “I’m gutted,” says Melissa, 50, from nearby Loughton, who works as a PA in the City. Melissa’s routine consists of: gym five days a week, a twice-weekly blow-dry, gel nail manicure every fortnight, roots and a pedicure every four weeks, laser hair removal every six, a bi-monthly facial, and botox twice a year. “What am l going to do?” she says. “I can live without the blow-dry, but the thought of going grey - I can’t bear it. Going to the gym is my life. And my nails are like paper without the gel.”

The Only Way is Essex is known for its glamorous stars, such as Sam Faiers Credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage

Dr Munir Somji is a leading aesthetic surgeon, and the eponymous Dr Medispa, with clinics in Loughton, Essex, and Marylebone. He lectures at King’s College, London, and writes for medical journals including Aesthetic Journal. His clients include TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing competitor Katie Piper, whose face was famously damaged in an acid-attack by her ex boyfriend. “We saw our last follow-up patient on Monday afternoon,” he says. Certain about his decision to shut in advance of the ban, and put his efforts into helping the NHS, Somji nevertheless agrees that looking good boosts psychological wellbeing. “A 2018 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that botox can have similar mood-lifting qualities to antidepressants,” he says. The paper followed 42 patients, “almost all” of whom “improved clinically” when measured with the Beck Depression Inventory. Says Somji: “As well as carrying out online consultations and telling people how to take care of their skin at home, I will still be present on social media advising patients how to look after their mental health.” Tips include: not looking in the mirror 24/7, learning to meditate, and taking exercise to boost endorphins (within the government guidelines).

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Meanwhile, the tough and sunny Essex spirit is - thus far - prevailing. After the lockdown, and mandatory closing of salons and clinics I will paint my own nails, welcome back my crinkles and forbear a few strands of grey in my hair. Melissa has signed up to online classes at the David Lloyd leisure centre and is philosophical. “Some Essex girls will rise to the challenge of looking natural, but it won’t make me feel good. But what does it matter? We’re not going out any more. Who are we going to see?”