Whether you’re staying in for quarantine or you’re an essential worker, self-care has changed since the pandemic started. Basics like caring for your hair, skin and nails can be difficult when you’re doing it on your own. Some people have even taken to cutting their own hair in the bathroom mirror out of desperation or boredom (I may or may not be one of those people).
To figure out what we’re supposed to be doing with our beauty and self-care routines during the pandemic, we can always turn to the experts on hair, skin and nails.
I admit it – I cut my hair at home. In my defense, it was at a length I just couldn’t tolerate anymore. But Miranda Chiarello, a hairdresser at Hairsay Salon in Garden City Park, cautions people against taking scissors to their own hairstyles.
“I really don’t agree with it,” she said. “If somebody is trying to achieve something very specific by doing it themselves… it makes it more challenging for the hairdresser to fix if and when salons eventually do open.”
People with roots growing in might want to stay away from box dyes, according to Chiarello. “Box color has a lot of metallic dye in it. What that means is that it makes it harder for, in the long run, if someone wants to switch up their color. It’s harder to get out. For somebody who is struggling with seeing some gray spots, I definitely recommend using a temporary root spray – or even an eyeshadow. That works just as well.”
Chiarello’s most important bit of advice might be to just give your hair a break for a while.
“I have been trying to take advantage of being home and not doing anything to my hair or my skin as far as putting any heat to it or doing a lot of makeup,” Chiarello said. “Being at work, I was constantly doing my makeup every single day, so it’s nice to give your hair and your skin a break. You can always go on Pinterest and find a lot of natural remedies for doing hair masks. Take advantage of giving everything a break and do some natural remedies like coconut oil and things like that. Braid your hair and leave it in as long as you possibly can. Let it recover from the day-to-day of being at work and putting heat to it.”
Skin care has become extremely important in times like these. People are washing their hands more than ever and wearing face masks, leading to skin issues that most of us haven’t dealt with before. To get more information on how to care for your skin during quarantine, I spoke to Dr. Carrie Kovarik, Associate Professor of Dermatology and Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
“We want to wash when it’s necessary,” Dr. Kovarik said. “Keep the washing to when it’s needed. And then make sure that you moisturize after you wash your hands. We like a petrolatum or oil-based moisturizer, not a lotion that you pump out of a bottle. Those are water-based. You want a thick cream that you can get out of a tube. Make sure you rub them all throughout your hands and even around the tips of your fingers, where they can crack if they get really dry. If your hands get really dry, put a nice thick coating on them before bedtime.”
People that have to wear masks on a day-to-day basis might be experiencing some adverse effects on their skin.
“They can get chafed from friction, or from stress behind the ears,” noted Dr. Kovarik. “What we recommend is that at the end of the day, you wash and get all the grime away. Stuff can collect behind the straps and under the nose – especially if you’re wearing makeup underneath. We don’t recommend petrolatum-based products for the face, because they can be sort of occlusive and clogging, but get a good, non-comedogenic moisturizer to put on your face. It can be helpful to heal the skin it it’s getting a little frictional dermatitis on it.”
If you’re staying at home, this is the perfect time to give your skin a break from your makeup routine, but Dr. Kovarik recommends that you still use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it. Even if you’re not going out in public, you still might be going outside.
Nails are a tricky subject. Long or artificial nails can harbor germs, even if you’re washing your hands often. The CDC advises healthcare workers to keep their nail tips no longer than ¼ inch long, and it might be wise for all of us to observe that precaution as well. This is definitely not the time to be biting your nails, as that’s a surefire way to deliver germs directly to your mouth.
Keep your nails as natural as possible for the time being. You don’t have to cut them down to the quick – leaving a little white crescent is perfect. Like your hair and skin, this is a time for your nails to be natural, to relax and recover.
Are you doing anything special for your hair, skin and nails during this time? Let us know in the comments below!