With working from home being the new normal, women have been given a much-celebrated reprieve from our often meddlesome, extravagant beauty routines, but a month into quarantine, as Walmart reports panic-buying of hair dye, we begin to wonder, how much of preening and polishing is actually something we as women enjoy?
As Zoom conferences are much more forgiving of full makeup and the bottom halves of our outfits, our beauty routines must also adapt and evolve to something simpler. As our experts will show, a much more constructive time is needed for the hair, skin, and nails we so painstakingly keep in good order.
Psychologists have long been touting the need to maintain a routine, including daily showering and dressing up, to keep in good mental health during this time of lockdown, so switching up your routine is not only a matter of fun, but of sanity.
We “sat” (i.e. phone interviewed) leading local professionals in the fields of all things beauty to learn what you can be doing to stay excited about your look, but also enjoying the time away from having to maintain a dolled-up persona.
- Take this time to do the deep conditioning and masques you’ve been neglecting to do with your busy life. “It’s a great chance to let your hair rest from all the styling heat your everyday life used to subject it to,” says Jen Glover of Parlour Hair Boutique in Oakdale.
- Use a root powder to cover greys. Glover recommends Eufora’s Conceal, as it is temporary, water-resistant, and buildable in blending away the greys. It will rinse out with each shampoo, but in today’s world, showers don’t seem to be a daily affair anyway.
- Try different hairstyles to occlude the vision of your roots. Glover’s team has been hard at work putting forth different videos of fun, new hairstyles, typically braids and waves, on their Facebook page. “With all this new time, you can practice getting that beach waves look everyone wants.”
- Try hats. “It’s 100 percent root coverage and we don’t wear hats enough!” added Glover.
- Box-dye your hair. Color corrections typically start at $300 and trying to fix a “line” in your hair from uneven or non-matching hair dye is nearly impossible, so you’re only sacrificing your future hair for a temporary botch.
“Box dyes typically use harsher chemicals and they are crafted to cover a broad range of hair types and colors,” said Glover, who is so adamant about standing in solidarity with her clients on letting their roots grow that she and her entire staff are not touching up their hair during this time. Glover also adds, as an example, a brunette going to a red-head will typically have three to four colors mixed to achieve her look, whereas box dye only provides one-dimensional coverage.
- Focus on yourself and glowing from within. Nothing ruins good skin more than stress.
- Contact local spas, like Karasmatic in Bayport, for supplies, as many are doing curbside pickup of your favorite products.
- Maintain your regular routine of cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing. “With more time, it’s easier to get your proper exfoliating done now and that is key to glowing skin,” said Kara Morris, owner of Karasmatic, who stresses that while we’re all dying for our monthly facial treatments, the best way to maximize the glory of that appointment in the future is to continue with your everyday skin-care routine.
- Bump up your exfoliating to three times a week.
- Use a minimum of SPF 30 sunblock, especially as the spring and summer roll on, even for that quick trip to the grocery store.
“Sun damage is mostly responsible for the breakdown of collagen,” warns Morris, and urges everyone to not get lackadaisical about sun protection with this extra time indoors.
- Use the extra time to get into the fabulous practice of Gua Sha tools. “The stone facial massages address puffiness, the production of new collagen, detoxifying the lymphatic drainage system—it’s your new best friend for all this free time to focus on your skin!” said Morris.
- Try to perform extractions on your own. “I know it’s maddening to see blackheads or blemishes, but you must leave that up to professionals or you’ll damage your skin,” warned Morris of DIYers falling prey to the endless Facebook ads of self-care that goes too far.
- Stay out of the mirror. “We tend to hyperfocus when we stare in the mirror for too long. You’ll end up convincing yourself to tweak your brows and it won’t go well,” said Franziska Bernhard, a leading aesthetician based in Bayport.
- Use castor oil on your brows to grow them thicker. “It’s a great time to get into a new practice, and just a daily whisk of castor oil on your brows (you can apply with an old, cleaned mascara wand) will get you closer towards Cara Delevingne,” said Bernhard, who also cautioned, “Be sure to only use it where you want hair to grow.” Wait six weeks for growth to appear.
- Follow the basic outline of your eyebrow if you must pencil or fill-in for a Zoom visual call or a trip out for basic supplies. “Imagine two parallel lines that go past your pupil encasing your brows,” said Bernhard of some quick guidelines.
- For those with already thick and luscious brows? “Use hair spray and a small brush to tame them to lay flat,” Bernhard advises.
- Pick up the tweezers. As the over-plucked brows of the early-2000s have, thankfully, not come back into style, it’s best to wait for professional grooming. “Plus, when you have a shaping after a long period of growth, the dramatic ‘after’ is so exciting!,” added Bernhard of that lovely day when we’re united with our treasured aestheticians.
- Take the time to scour Instagram and Facebook for the lash artist you want to book with once the restrictions are lifted. “I have been practicing for over two years and I can attest that it takes some real investment to be a good lash artist,” said Emily Yannone, a busy aesthetician for MegaRich Lashes in Bayport.
- For those who already do have lashes—strict adherence to your cleansing routine! With bacteria rife in the lash/eye area, daily cleansing with baby soap or Lash Bath is essential to proper care.
- Stress out about the loss of lashes. “We typically shed more hair, including lashes, during the equinox periods (i.e. spring and fall) of the year, so don’t worry about finding more lashes falling out.”
- Get into the habit of using a lash serum to strengthen and lengthen natural eyelashes. “We recommend Revitalash, but it must be applied every day to see results in 30 to 40 days,” added Yannone.
- Pluck out your eyelash extensions. “Just let them fall off of their own accord,” said Yannone. “If you pluck them, you’re taking out your own natural lashes.”
- Take off your leftover gel. “Soak a cotton ball in acetone, place on your nail, and encase in foil. Wait 10 minutes and scrape off with a cuticle remover,” said Gina Geraci, a professional nail artist.
- Moisturize and exfoliate. “Many spas make their own sugar scrubs and you can make customized for yourself at home!” said Geraci, “Combine half a cup of sugar with half a cup of coconut oil, or even just a lotion in a pinch, and add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil.” This mixture, which can be keep in a Tupperware jar, can be used after every time you wash your hands to both moisturize and exfoliate your skin. Just use a teaspoon each time.
- Push back your cuticle. After each time you wash your hands, your cuticles are softened and you can push them back with a terry cloth washcloth. For a more intensive cuticle cleanup you can use coconut oil (or even olive oil) and push back with a cuticle stick.
- Use a base coat. “Colors will leech into your nail bed if you don’t use a protective base coat,” Geraci cautions.
- Coat the tip of your nail with your color. “This will add extra strength and life to your color.”
- Cut your cuticle. “Only a professional can do this. You can cause a bacterial infection or permanent damage doing this yourself.”
- Stress over how quickly your regular polish comes off. “Handwashing will absolutely shorten the life of your color, so expect it.”
- Embrace the sanctity of privacy in exercising in your home. “Some of us want to be seen,” said Suzanne Alagna, owner of Hot Yoga Works in Bayport and Setauket. “But some of us would rather be quiet in our practice, and being at home lets us have the benefits of a group session without having to be on display.”
- Practice exercise daily. “I have young children, so teaching at 6 a.m. works best for me, but it does wonders for everyone starting their day,” said Alagna of her tri-weekly bikram classes that have hosted participants from Florida, California, and Ireland.
- Adjust the camera so your instructor can see you. “If you are allowing video when you work out, make sure your instructor sees you if you move from a standing to a supine position, or if you move around the room,” added Alagna. “This helps make it feel like a regular class where you get instantaneous feedback on how to improve your practice.”
- Lament that your tools or your atmosphere aren’t exactly what they used to be. “Our yoga practice takes place in 104-degree heat and obviously is not the case for our online classes,” said Alagna. “But you can still put in work and improve, even if it’s not 100 percent of what you used to be able to do.”