Pin It

The AnOther Guide to DIY Beauty

Lemon juice, a spoon and your beloved credit card are all surprisingly effective beauty tools – and that's not all. Behold: a visual guide to our favourite blogosphere beauty hacks

There are few domains that haven't been shaken by the seismic impact of the internet; it has revolutionised arenas from art to fashion, culture to politics. But, in honour of our dedicated #AnOtherBeautyWeek, today we have specifically chosen to explore one of its many facets of influence: its democratisation of the beauty industry and the revelation of its myriad secrets.

Once sold as an luxuriantly glossy industry, with makeup artistry a closed book reserved for the formally trained and product ingredients presented as solely comprehensible by cosmetic chemists, these days things are different and, amidst a frenzy of blogs and forums, the internet has offered answers to some of life's greatest questions. "How do I draw my eyeliner on straight?" "What do I do with fingernails stained by polish?" "Which of my kitchen's ingredients will make my complexion radiant?" You no longer need ask. Here, we present to you a selection of our favourite beauty 'hacks' (the terminology commonly used by the YouTube gurus of recent years), the chic-est version of some of the DIY tips most regularly featured in the beauty blogosphere.

1. Use fresh lemon juice to remove staining on nails
The regular use of polish can result in an unsightly stain to one's nails, meaning that coloured lacquer becomes a necessity rather than a choice. The acidity of lemons means that they are a natural bleaching agent so, to counteract any discolouration, quarter a fresh one and insert a finger inside for 10-15 minutes. Then, use a clean, dry toothbrush to gently scrub the nail's surface and restore them to natural radiance.

2. A household sponge will blend nail colours with ease
Following years of trends for increasingly-extravagant nail art, last year the ombre nail – a gradient alternative to rhinestones and three-dimensional accoutrements – entered the digital spotlight. By painting one's nails in a light base colour before using a household sponge to apply a second, darker coat in light layers to the tip of the nail, one can achieve salon impact with supermarket supplies. 

3. Use a spoon to curl your eyelashes
Although the beauty industry has firmly established Shu Uemura's eyelash curler as the holy grail of equipment, sometimes you just might not have one to hand. Curling one's eyelashes adds a sense of volume and length, and by running a metal spoon under a hot tap to heat it and then aligning it with your upper lash line – pressing the concave side against your lid for 30 seconds – you too can achieve fluttering perfection.

4. Beetroot makes a fabulous alternative to lipstick  
One of the more historied beauty hacks commonly promoted online is using everyday fruits and vegetables to stain one's face. As an alternative to a lip colour, you can simply slice a beetroot and apply it to one's mouth for a natural deepening of hue – in the same manner that women would in the 19th century. If you have access to a dehydrator, you can create your very own beetroot powder which, when mixed with melted beeswax, will make a balm customised to whichever intensity you choose. Vegan hackers need not fear: candelilla or carnauba wax are appropriate substitutes.

5. Be wary of the Kylie Jenner challenge
The proverbial internet almost broke under the weight of commentary surrounding what has become known as the "Kylie Jenner challenge": an exercise where one sucks into a bottle or shotglass and hopes that the resulting air pressure temporarily engorges one's lips. Supposed to improve your pout for up to two hours, over-zealous participants found themselves left with bruising and potential scarring and YouTube was flooded with reaction videos. We repeat: approach with extreme caution.

6. Tea bags will soothe puffy eyes
One of the most regularly discussed issues within the realm of beauty is how to soothe a puffy under-eye often caused by exhaustion or stress. If you cannot make significant changes to your lifestyle, a feasible alternative is soaking an organic green teabag in a cool glass of water before laying them onto your eye socket. Caffeine temporarily tighens the delicate skin of the orbital area, while the temperature of the bag will slow the flow of blood to the area and thus reduce swelling.

7. A simple credit card doubles as an eyeliner guide
Have you ever wondered how to achieve the perfect cat eye? You are, apparently, not alone. To solve this eternal dilemma, place a credit card (buisness and loyalty cards are equally effective) below one's lash line, in alignment with your desired angle, and paint along the outer edge. Carefully lift the card to avoid smudging.

8. Try multi-masking
For those strapped for time, it is important to know that you can simultaneously apply different masking treatments to various areas of your face and body according to their needs. Rushing home from the office before an evening with the girls? Apply mashed avocado to your hair to make it shine, a deep pore-cleansing mask to your nose and chin, a mattifying clay mask on your forehead to absorb excess sebum and a moisturising mask to your cheeks. It's sixty minutes of results, crammed into twenty minutes.

9. Dry your hair with a cotton t-shirt
Instead of using a regular towel or electric appliance, a simple cotton t-shirt can be used to dry your hair. Towelling material is grooved which, although perfect for absorbing moisture, can act as an aggressor to the delicate hair cuticle. Hairdryers and their kin, when used too regularly, can result in heat damage. Leaving hair to dry naturally, without removing excess water, can result in unwanted frizz. A cotton t-shirt carefully navigates all of these problems, offering one simple, cheap and natural solution.

10. Draw a lip-liner cross at the centre of your Cupid's bow
To achieve the perfect lip shape, use a lip-liner in a colour that correlates to your lipstick to draw a cross at the centre of your Cupid's bow. This not only adds sharp definition to the line itself, but also accentuates the bow itself, offers the perfect starting point for the rest of your liner and avoids you ending up with a wonky finish.

Credits: Hair stylist Ben Jones at Jed Root; Manicurist Pebbles at Streeters using MAC Cosmetics; Casting Beth Mingay; Model Manuela Frey at Elite; Hair assistant Vimal Chadva; Make-up assistant Porsche Poon