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Pro Tips: Caring for Your Hair, Skin and Nails at Home

To figure out what to do with our hair, skin and nails during the pandemic, we turn to the experts.

hair skin and nails

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.

Hair Care

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.”

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Skin Care

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.

Nail Care

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!

Comments
  • Patricia M.

    All good advice, but there’s a huge chunk of Nail Care missing! Many women , me included, have gel nails hardened by UV light at the salon. I’m not saying this is a good thing, and clearly for those of us already in need of an appt when the COVID 19 isolation began, the last few weeks have been scary on the nail front! Tips on how to best soak off the gel would be much appreciated. Unlike natural nails, you can’t even CUT nails that have had UV gel treatment; but they keep on growing!! Not sure whether to try to hack off the talons with toe-nail clippers, or whether to attempt to soak off the gel with cotton balls soaked in acetone. Help!

    • Maggie M.

      Hi Patricia! Yikes I have been there. Definitely soak and be patient. It is hard to resist the urge and not pry them off as you wait, but doing so may damage your nail! Netflix and soak. Thanks – MM

  • Jeanne N.

    Because many of us are working from home it is essential that we keep up professional appearances. We are participating in numerous Zoom meetings and even in online job interviews. Therefore it becomes necessary that our hair, makeup and even nails look their best. I am fortunate that I have naturally curly hair; I simply gave myself a blunt cut and my hair looks good, the curls cover mistakes – LOL. It was getting too long an unmanageable. My daughter as well has cut and colored her own hair and it looks great. We both wash our faces with Dove Sensitive and moisturize face, hands, etc., daily, many times. It is easy to let oneself go as we shelter from home, but that is the last thing we should do. My daughter has also cut her husband’s hair and it looks good enough for online meetings.

    Once we can safely return to our hairdressers I am sure they will be able to deal with cutting, styling and coloring our hair again. They are professionals and have dealt with many hair issues and made them right. Meanwhile, we at home must carry on the best we can. Scarves, clips and other accessories can also help with hair when appearing online in meetings and interviews. Appearance counts, even when working from home, so dressing as though we were at work can make one not only look good but feel good.
    And let’s not forget to eat as healthy as possible and exercise daily.

    As for nails, I have never found a manicurist that did a good job on my nails, and I have been to several. So I do my own, simply, with base, color and topcoat, and remove all with non-acetone remover. Between times, I soak my nails in olive oil, clip and shape them with an Emory board. Same with my toe-nails!

    Good luck, everyone! Be safe and well, first and foremost!

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