With permission to reopen on July 6, salons across the country are bracing themselves for a stampede of desperate clients, who have gone months without their usual appointments. Here, three women tell Stephanie Bell how lockdown has made them reflect on the amount of money they spend on beauty treatments.
Grandmother Sharon Ayton (51) works part time as a holistic therapist and lives in Dundonald.
She has been a regular visitor to her local beauty salon for the past 12 years, but during lockdown was surprised to discover that she can carry out some of the treatments at home herself.
Sharon, who has one daughter, Lisa (24), and two grandchildren, Josh (4) and one-year-old Jacob, has had to shut her business during lockdown, so savings on beauty treatments came in handy to buy essentials.
Her monthly spend included having her hair cut every three weeks at a cost of £30, bikini and eyebrow wax with gel nails at £40 once a month, a £25 monthly facial and a monthly Reiki treatment at £40.
Going without or doing home DIY treatments has been a revelation, she explains.
"I don't think I did spend a massive amount of money before and what I have saved has come in handy as I have not had any income from my business during lockdown.
"I wore my hair very short and would have got it cut every three weeks and because I couldn't get it cut during lockdown, I have been through that pain barrier of growing it and I actually like it longer.
"I definitely won't be getting it cut so often now, just maybe a trim every now and again.
"I will still go for my Reiki treatment every month as it really helps me to rebalance my energies and just feel calmer.
"I used to bite my nails and have been getting gel nails for about five years to stop me doing that.
"My nails are now short again and I've decided I like them short, so that's another thing I won't be doing after lockdown.
"I feel like I've been on a journey because I have also had to shave instead of my monthly wax treatment, which I've had for the past 12 years.
"I think I will continue to get my eyebrows waxed occasionally and maybe a full wax before holidays, but I won't be going every month like I used to."
Sharon says she would never have guessed that after many years of monthly treats, she is even consider doing her own home treatments long term.
"It has definitely surprised me," she admits. "I would never have left the salon without making my appointments for the following month.
"I don't think I will now be going back monthly.
"I feel appearance is very much ego based.
"I just feel that we are very fixed on what we perceive is perfection and on maintaining a certain standard of appearance when we should be happy with whatever we have got."
What Sharon has saved over 12 weeks...
Waxing and nails: £120
Reiki treatments: £120
Samara Prentice (36) is an image consultant and lives in Lisburn with her husband, Paul (39), an officer in the NI Fire and Rescue Service and their four children, Jude (8), Ollie (5) and two-year-old twins Jessie and Cole.
During lockdown, she has lived without her regular hair-removing sugaring treatment, blow drying, hair colour, eyebrow tattooing, facials and gel nails.
Samara is eagerly counting the days until salon doors reopen and readily admits that her beauty routine is an expensive indulgence.
"It does make me feel good about myself," she says. "I like to look nice and it is very important in my business as I promote confidence and positive self-image, so I have to have a positive self-image myself.
"If I feel good about myself then I think it makes me a better person and a better mum.
"I did tot up the other night that I had saved about £500 alone just on my hair, which really surprised me, although I did invest about £120 on really good shampoos and serums for lockdown.
"It is a lot of money, but I feel it is well spent."
As someone who is used to her beauty treatments, going without has been a struggle.
Samara had weekly blow drys at a cost of £20 and missed a cut and colour during lockdown, which usually costs her £140.
"My roots are down to my ears at the minute because I have naturally dark hair and I get it coloured bright blonde," she says.
"I have been tempted to put a toner on it, but I have a few friends who are hairdressers who have warned me against it.
"I miss my weekly blow dry most of all and I will be first in the queue when salons reopen."
The busy mum also gets acrylic nails done every three weeks at a cost of £20, was due a top-up on her eyebrow tattoos during lockdown at a cost of £60 (once a year), has missed two of her regular six weekly facials at £80 each, and has her legs, bikini line and underarms sugared every six weeks at a cost of £60. "I went to pretty drastic measures with my nails," she admits.
"I get gel overlays every six weeks and I bought a heat lamp and gel to try and do my own at home. I've missed my sugaring and my legs were horrendous, so I had to shave them."
Samara has saved close to £1000 on treatments during lockdown.
She adds: "It has been a revelation just how much I spend on hair and beauty treatments. Treatments save me time - my weekly blow dry takes 45 minutes and I don't have to think about my hair until the following week.
"My time is more precious than any money I spend.
"I'm shocked by how much I have saved in lockdown.
"We are in the midst of a self-build, so I'm going to use the money I've saved to buy a chandelier for our front hallway."
What Samara has saved over 12 weeks...
Eyebrow tattooing: £60
Nail treatments: £80
Denize McKeown has worked most of her career in the beauty business and now runs her own pop-up girlie accessory shop called My Glamorous Friend.
She lives in Mullusk with her husband, Stephen (49), a graphic designer, and their 15-year-old son, Elliott.
Denize (53) has saved hundreds of pounds on hair and beauty treatments during lockdown and has used the money to carry out random acts of kindness.
She has been putting together pamper packs to give to shop assistants, NHS workers and even postmen and delivery drivers for their wives or mothers.
Denize says seeing how much she has saved on treatments during lockdown has been a bit of a wake-up call and while she will continue some of her grooming treats when salons open, she does plan to cut back.
Her routine involved having her hair washed and blow dried once or twice a week at £15 a time; a manicure with acrylics and gems every three to four weeks at £40; a pedicure every four weeks at £30 and sugaring every six weeks at £60.
"I have missed getting my nails done and have tried to do them myself," she says.
"They were a bit brittle at the start because of all the extensions, but now they are really strong and I have taught myself how to do a manicure, so I probably won't go back to getting acrylics when lockdown is over.
"I love getting a pedicure, it is my time to sit down and have a cup of tea and enjoy some quiet time while someone else pampers me, so I will be looking forward to doing that again."
With thick, long hair, Denize always struggled to blow dry it herself and hasn't washed her own hair in over 10 years.
"I've been wearing my hair up in a high bun during lockdown," she admits. I bought a lovely accessory, which is like a piece of false hair you attach to the bun at £15 which gives it a more glam look.
"I know this sounds terrible, but I don't wash my own hair, so buying shampoo and knowing which one to choose was a real struggle.
"I have been using a mascara wand on my grey roots. I did try one home hair colouring kit, but it was a bit of a disaster and I ended up looking like Mummy Smurf.
"There were holes in the two thumbs of the gloves and I was walking around with black thumbs for three days!
"I know hairdressers hate when you home colour, so hopefully it will be all washed out before the salons reopen.
"I would get my hair blow dried sometimes twice a week and for me, it is a precious hour to get my head showered.
"When you have the same appointment time each week, you meet other clients and you can do a bit of networking and have a bit of fun and banter."
Her sugaring hair removal treatment is also something she has missed and she has also resorted to a DIY shave to keep her body hair at bay.
Denize is well aware that she does invest a lot of money and time in personal grooming, but feels it is money well spent.
"In my industry, part of my job is to look half decent and I feel that I at least try to," she explains. "I don't drink or smoke and so it is my way to spoil myself. It is my pamper treat."
Surprised at the extra money she has in her bank account during lockdown, she has selflessly decided to use what she has saved to treat others.
"I've made up about 60 pamper packs so far to give to nurses and shop assistants and other vital workers," she says.
"I've put hand cream, face cream and make-up in some and I've done some for kids with pencils and things for home schooling and others with biscuits or chocolates. I think it is lovely to get something that is nicely wrapped and I have put labels on them all saying 'Thanks for Being You'.
"I am a giving person by nature and I just think everyone appreciates small gestures and sometimes you don't know the difference a small gesture can make to someone.
"I definitely won't be spending the same money on myself after lockdown.
"I plan to do a sponsored walk the charity 'Mind Yourself Mind Your Head' and will be putting what I save on beauty treatments towards that."
What Denize has saved over 12 weeks...
Hair colouring: £110
Acrylic nails: £160