Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Beauty treatments should have an end goal, of course, but they should be fun, too. After all, DIY face masks, hair treatments, and quirky beauty devices are a classic way to pass the time when nothing else sounds fun. Indeed, there are few activities that sound more appealing after a long workday or on a weekend afternoon than a glass of wine, a new show to dig into, and some sort of gooey, wrinkle-reducing concoction slathered all over your face.
We Byrdie editors have tried our fair share of at-home beauty treatments. Some are more confusing, messy, cumbersome, or ineffective than they're worth, but the following are those we genuinely love to play around with when we're bored at home and in the mood for some pampering. Looking for a fun beauty activity to pass the time? Read on for our 13 faves, from quirky moisturizing treatments to press-on nails.
1. Try the Hanacure At-Home Facial
Few skincare treatments are buzzier than this mixable face mask, which is designed to re-create the youth-inducing effects of a professional facial by brightening, contouring, detoxifying, brightening, lifting, and firming the face. It only takes about a minute to prepare and apply, then 30 minutes to take effect, but the results are mind-blowing. Just look to our full review by Byrdie's former associate editor Erin Jahns, who tried the product with her 70-year-old parents.
2. Give Yourself a Pedicure
And, if you don't have a steady hand (neither do we), these at-home kits are impossibly easy to apply, actually stay put, and come in an array of cute, minimalist nail art designs you'd otherwise pay top dollar to have done professionally.
3. Use a Blue-Light Laser
The powerful blue light emitted from this chic little device works to fight acne by penetrating deep into the pores to kill any breakout-causing bacteria down there. Use it once a day for five minutes, and you can almost guarantee to see improvement within a couple months. Byrdie's senior editor, Lindsey Metrus, is a fan, not only of the results but of the ritual itself. "It just feels so good to just lie there and run it over your face," she says.
4. Sculpt Your Face with a Crystal Gua Sha
Gua sha is an ancient Chinese practice whose facial benefits include lifted, contoured facial muscles; smoother skin; and a reduction of wrinkles. Simply drench your face in your favorite serum, then use the smooth edges of this rose quartz tool to scrape the skin, lifting it from the center of your face upward toward your hairline.
5. Do Some Mess-Free Self-Tanning
Self-tanning had always seemed like a burden to me until I got my hands on a bottle of this totally clear, non-stinky, all-natural tanning water. After exfoliating and shaving, I simply spritz this stuff all over and blend it with a mitt. It's so easy, it leaves no stains or smell, and six hours later, I suddenly have a natural-looking tan.
6. Indulge in a Bubble Charcoal Mask
This three-step mask bubbles up as it sits on your face, which is a truly amusing spectacle. It's not just for show, though—the unique detoxifying formula combines oxygen with traditional Asian medicinal ingredients to clear toxins from the pores.
7. Repair Your Hair with a Jojoba Oil Hair Mask
Jojoba oil has endless benefits for the skin and hair, but one of the simplest and most effective uses is as a treatment hair mask. Simply apply the product all throughout your hair, braid your strands, leave it for a few hours or overnight, and then shampoo. The ingredient, which is composed of 98% monounsaturated fat, works to control dandruff, promote a healthy scalp, moisturize your hair from the inside out, repair damage, and help your hair grow.
8. Make a Cling Wrap Mask
Why do a plain old face mask when you could terrify your roommates and/or live-in lover with a mask covered in cling wrap? The quirky Japanese practice of topping your mask of choice with plastic wrap really works—by sealing in your body heat, it allows your pores to open up and the mask's ingredients to absorb deeply rather than just hanging out on the skin's surface. Just make sure to use BPA-free plastic and cut yourself air holes, people.
9. Make a Turmeric Under-Eye Brightener
Turmeric has been used as a skin-brightening treatment for centuries, and Erin on Team Byrdie swears by it for the under-eye area in particular. Mix one tablespoon of turmeric and one tablespoon of buttermilk, apply the orange mixture to your dark circles with a brush, and expect to look infinitely better-slept after just 15 minutes.
10. Do a Glitter Face Mask
If you're really bored, add some excitement to your day with showy glitter mask. GlamGlow's #GlitterMask uses the same skin-tightening formula as their iconic GravityMud Treatment, but with glitter made out of licorice and marshmallow leaf, because why the hell not?
11. Create a DIY De-Bloater
One of my personal favorite at-home beauty treatments is a topical de-bloating elixir I learned about from Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, who is secretly an aromatherapy guru. Her recipe involves a mixture of jojoba oil and essential oils of juniper, grapefruit, black pepper, and geranium (check the more in-depth recipe for specifics). Rub it all over your body when you feel like you're hanging onto water, and behold as the diuretic works its magic.
12. Self-Applied Eyelash Extensions
This completely game-changing lash extensions kit is so easy an impatient, jaded beauty editor could do it—with results and stupidly gorgeous, natural-looking lashes that stay on for up to 10 days. When Byrdie's editorial director came into the office one day with a full set of these, we were shook to find out she did them herself in 15 minutes.
13. Perfect Your Smoky Eye
Perfecting the art of the smokey eye is a never-ending journey. There's always room for improvement, so why not experiment? Here's our favorite tutorial.
14. Explore an Obscure Online Beauty Shop
Exploring beauty sites you've probably never heard of before is endlessly entertaining. We found this concealer on Levert Beauty, a clean beauty mecca.
15. Make a Immunity-Boosting Smoothie
Here are some of our favorite recipes.
16. Try Meditation
17. Read a Beauty Book
This title comes highly recommended from our editorial director Faith Xue. You'll learn practical tips, tools, routines, and foods for transforming yourself and your lifestyle.
18. Do a Face Massage
Turns out you can use a facial roller to give yourself a massage. Our wellness editor Victoria Hoff has all the deets.
19. Try this Mascara Hack
Experiment with this life-changing mascara hack. You won't regret it.
20. Do an At-Home Peel
Treat yourself to an at-home peel like this one, which has natural fruit enzymes, lactic acid, and cellulose that work together to reveal smoother, softer, glowing skin.
21. Make a DIY Lip Scrub
Combine sugar and coconut oil for an at-home lip exfoliating treatment.
22. Try a Funky Wash-Out Hair Color
Spray in some streaks, or give your whole head a new bright hue. These are the best options, FYI.
23. De-puff Your Under-Eyes with Tea Bags
Caffeinated tea bags have been shown to reduce under-eye puffiness. Steep two bags, squeeze out the excess liquid, allow them to cool, and you're good to go.
24. Do a Baby Foot Treatment
This one hour foot mask will leave your feet feeling baby-smooth (hence the name).
25. Use a Pore Strip
Is there anything more satisfying than seeing all the dirt and oil that comes out of your face after using one of these?
26. DIY a Bath Bomb
Here's our favorite recipe.
27. Try Dermarolling
28. Try Dermaplaning
Not to be confused with the aforementioned dermarolling, dermaplaning is an exfoliating process that will leave your skin softer and brighter.
29. Give Yourself a Scalp Massage
30. Practice a Cut Crease
And watch our in-depth tutorial.
31. Experiment with Filling in Your Brows in a Different Shape
The brow world is your oyster.
32. Give Yourself a Steam Facial
Follow this tutorial and you'll feel totally refreshed.
33. DIY an Essential Oil Diffuser
Check out our essential oil guide, Google DIY oil diffuser, and get to work.
34. Tint Your Own Eyebrows
35. Attempt Some Minimalist Nail Art
Check out these 20 shockingly easy nail designs you can totally do at home.
36. Pair the Perfect Wine With the Perfect Face Mask
Here are the best face masks of 2020.
37. Try a Butt Mask
It's like a sheet mask, but for your butt. And, while you're here, feel free to read about the potential causes of butt acne.
38. Whiten Your Teeth
Pop these Whitestrips on for an hour while you're watching Netflix. Here's eight more of our favorite whitening products.
39. Work on Your At-Home Blowout Technique
A low-stakes opportunity to practice before the next time you actually need a blowout. Here are some helpful tips.
40. Try the Olaplex Hair Perfector Treatment
This at-home salon quality hair treatment is a Byrdie editor favorite.
41. Listen to a beauty-themed podcast
Some of our favorites include Fat Mascara and Breaking Beauty.
42. Take a Shelfie
Rearrange your beauty cabinet and then snap a pic like the one above to showcase all of your favorite products.
43. Play Around with Colorful Eyeliner
It's the latest trend that all the NYC girls are rocking.