By Emma Raho – Staff Writer
As we collectively stumble into the fourth and hopefully final week of level four lockdown I think it’s safe to say most of us are looking forward to the slow journey back to normality. In this new, unfamiliar, and restrictive time we’ve lost some sense of being in control of our lives and ourselves, so we’re picking up scissors, dye packets, and clippers because we’re bored and we fancy something new. Look I get it, I fucking suck at rules and regulations and everything in me is screaming to regain a sense of freedom and self. However, before you do something that’s gonna take an awfully long time to grow back or come right consider starting with a few basics and building up to the Mohawk or dying your eyebrows pink. Making radical changes to your appearance for the wrong reasons is a really good way to make isolation even worse.
Many of us outsource the things that make us look and feel good, like facials, nails, hair etc but for now, we’re having to either leave our bodies au naturel or have a crack at some beauty DIY. First thing to note is that beauty therapists, nail techs, and hair dressers are professionals with training and experience. Just because it looks easy does not mean it is. They also know how to properly deal with strong, corrosive chemicals like bleach – which in inexperienced hands will leave you looking like mid 90s Ginger Spice at best, but at worst could cause your hair to disintegrate, create bald patches, and give you painful chemical burns. With the health service so overburdened right now the last thing anyone wants to do is pitch up to the ER with their scalp in bits. This is also applicable for home wax kits. Please put the dangerous stuff down, it’s not worth it.
Having pondered all this, I’m pretty keen to try a few reasonably fool-proof techniques to look and feel a little more human without frying, burning, or cutting off stuff I really shouldn’t. Let’s start from the top…
Hair – having spent days and nights shoved up in a ratty bun, my hair is in desperate need of some TLC. However before I start getting all over excited with box dyes – I have learned from repeated biter experience not to be impatient – I need to massively improve the condition of it with a deep conditioning masque and decent trim.
Dampen your hair and throw the masque on. If your hair is fine or prone to being oily just run it through the ends. If it’s a thick, dry mess like mine put it through the full length of your hair. Throw a microfiber hair wrap over the top if you have one (if you don’t, wrap it in a t-shirt or anything but a towel) and let’s move on to the next stage…
Face – Start by washing and/or exfoliating your face and lips. If you don’t have exfoliator don’t worry about it, face wash is fine. Pat your face dry and apply whatever face mask you have handy. l went with a deep cleansing mud mask because I’ve been super slack with my usual routine and my skin is dull and blotchy. There really isn’t a whole lot to applying a face mask, as long as it’s touching most of your face and you avoid the eye area you’re good to go. Leave it for about 20 minutes or until it’s dry and rinse off. While your skin is still a little damp apply serum and moisture cream. If you don’t have serum don’t worry about it just use your normal cream. As long as you don’t start trying to make your own acid peel or vampire facial this is a fail-safe way to give your skin a boost and make you feel like you just had a mini facial.
Hair removal – There’s absolutely nothing at all wrong with a little body hair, but if you’re missing your regular wax appointment and feeling uncomfortable your best bet is coconut oil and a new razor. Home waxing kits are tempting but they are insanely fiddly, mostly ineffective and the heat in the microwave kinds can potentially cause burns. As long as you’re careful, shaving is a safer option. *Hot Tip* When shaving your bikini line go with the hair growth direction rather than against it, follow this with giving the freshly shaved skin a good exfoliate with a mitt or wash cloth to avoid razor burn and ingrown hair.
Cutting and trimming your hair – After you rinse your deep conditioner you’ll probably want to cut all the damaged ends off. The key here is to go a little at a time. If you have bum length hair and go straight to a pixie crop you will have ALL THE REGRETS. You can cut more off, but you can’t put it on again if you get in a pickle. Here’s a quick how-to for trimming hair when you can’t get to the stylist…
Last but not least, your feet – with all this walking you’re doing to escape the house your poor little tootsies are gonna be in need of some love. Good news here is you really don’t need any special equipment to make them look or feel better. If you have a foot spa this would be handy but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. Any container you can fit water and your feet in is good enough. If you want to add anything to the water peppermint oil is nice but not essential (accidental pun). After you’ve soaked them for however long you want to, take a pumice stone, if you have one, to them to get rid of all the hard skin and trim your nails with clippers. Then just massage some cream in, or even better get someone else to do it for you. If you’re feeling fancy you can paint your nails, or not.
This is not about how you look, this is all about how you feel. You can do some, all, or none of the above depending on how you’re rolling on that particular day. It’s not mandatory to “maintain yourself” when you’re just trying to get through this really unsettling time, however if creating Mohawks, pink eyebrows, or wearing a full length formal gown helps you feel more grounded please do that, without explanation or apology. Do what works for you.