Hitting pause and slowing down to engage in some self-care is something you probably don’t do enough of. But if you’ve found yourself with more time lately to catch up with friends and family over the phone or Zoom and explore new books and shows, you could also consider incorporating new habits and routines that make you feel your best — particularly when it comes to beauty.
Since you’re likely not going to work, attending meetings, or really even going out into public at all, you have the freedom to experiment with your former routine and transform it into something new and effectual — something that serves you better. Keep scrolling below to find out what beauty practices you should consider starting right now when you have quite a lot of time on your hands. I promise you’ll thank yourself later.
1. Grow Out Your Eyebrows & Lashes
Maybe your arches have suffered the consequences of over-plucking, or maybe you’re just curious to see what your brows will do when left un-groomed. Either way, now’s the time to let them grow back. Lay off the tweezers and the trimming scissors and let them do their thing. It’s not like scheduling a brow appointment is an option anyway.
Take it from Tonya Crooks, brow expert and founder of The BrowGal. "The best advice I can give for people who are wanting to grow out their brows is that this is the perfect time to do it, because we are all in isolation, and this makes it even better to not feel self-conscious about your wayward hairs. Invest in a good eyebrow serum that will help the brows grow, and take this time to become skillful at learning how to find your shape and filling your brows in.
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Crooks says it usually takes about 2-4 weeks until you start noticing growth from a serum, although it depends on the formula you’re using. Start using a brow (and lash) serum now for improvements in a few weeks’ time.
2. Grow Out Your Bangs
Maybe you’ve been thinking about growing out your bangs for awhile, but you’ve been avoiding it for fear of that awkward stage when they’re too long to wear down, yet too short to tie up. (You know what we’re talking about.)
"Now seems like a good time to begin growing out your bangs — hopefully we can get past the awkward stage once we’re all out and about again," says Garren, celebrity stylist and co-founder of R+Co. If you have arched bangs, which are shorter in the middle and longer on the sides, Garren recommends center parting your hair and pushing the longer sections to the sides. "It should easily blend into your hair. If you need to, you can snip a little in the middle with nail scissors yourself." Just be sure to trim your bangs dry, not wet, and take your time. "Snip off little bits, brush your fingers back and forth to see where you need it."
If your bangs are straight across, Garren recommends side-parting your hair. "Swish the bangs over to the side. You should have a little bit going to the left and a lot going to the right, or vice versa. Use R+Co Centerpiece All-in-One Elixir Spray when your hair is wet; it will help keep bangs off to the side." The key is patience and adaptability. "Fringe will grow out nicely, you just have to change your part so it goes with your haircut. Work with the fringe and make it a look."
3. Rehabilitate Your Hair
Because many of us are putting away our heat tools during this period of social distancing, we can give our hair a break from damage and moisturize it with masks and oils.
"Do a deep conditioning treatment a few times a month," Garren says. "Try R+Co Television Perfect Hair Masque."
4. Try a Natural Deodorant
Now is the perfect time to test out a natural deodorant, because your body has time to detox from traditional ones. "By definition, antiperspirants contain aluminum, which is what prevents sweat by plugging your sweat glands," says Vineet Kumar, CEO of Native. "Instead, we’ve created an aluminum-free deodorant, powered by plant-based powders to help keep you feeling dry."
Kumar says it takes about 2 weeks to see results after you switch. "It’s a perfect time to make the switch from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant, since the body does take some time to detox — especially if you have been using an antiperspirant with aluminum," he says. "During this time, we recommend applying 2-3 swipes of Native to clean underarms in the morning, reapplying if necessary during the transition, and keeping at it."
5. Try a New Self-Tanner
Use this self-isolation period as an opportunity to find a new self-tanner formula you love. "When it comes to self tanner I always tell my clients to take it slow, says celebrity esthetician Sarah Akram. "Start a shade lighter than you think you want to appear, and build up to the right shade for you."
While the length of time the tan lasts will vary based on application and product, proper preparation is key. Akram suggests that you first exfoliate, shave, and clean your skin to make sure the surface is as smooth as possible before application. Don’t forget about your knuckles, palms, and elbows too. "You might want to apply some body lotions to skin creases… to avoid any pigments building up in those areas and causing discoloration," says Akram.
6. Implement a New Skincare Routine
Now is the perfect time to update your skincare routine or try a new one, especially if you’re wearing less makeup (if any at all) and re-evaluating your skin concerns. The best part? If skin purging occurs, it won’t matter all that much.
According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, skin purging occurs when a new active ingredient, like retinol or exfoliating acids, is introduced. According to King, when skin cell turnover speeds up, the skin starts shedding dead skin cells at a faster rate. This also means the skin is speeding up the growth of new skin cells. "Before the new healthy skin cells can cycle to the surface, excess sebum and dead skin cells rise to the top first," adds King. You can expect to see a mix of blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and pustules, but don’t be alarmed — King says this is all part of the purging process.
If this happens after introducing a new product, be patient — it should only last 4-6 weeks at a time. "A full skin cell cycle is about 28 days, and that’s a normal amount of time for this process to take," King says. "If the purge lasts longer than six weeks, consult your dermatologist." Oh, and if a breakout or irritation pops up from a new product that’s not a retinoid, acid, or peel, "that’s not likely to be purging, it’s more likely to be a reaction or sensitivity."
7. Re-Organize Your Beauty Products
We can’t think of a better project to undertake while staying at home than organizing a beauty collection. Use this as an opportunity to toss out expired products and implement a new organizational system for new ones. Dust the shelves of your medicine cabinet, wash your brushes, and disinfect countertops. You’ll feel better about the state of your bathroom for months.
8. Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Once you’ve reorganized, it’s time to clean your brushes. "Professional makeup artists clean their makeup brushes after every use," says makeup artist Kat Sketch. If they can clean their brushes after every use, we can clean ours once a week. Now’s the perfect time to start this weekly.
"It’s very important to wash your makeup brushes as often as you can, especially your concealer and foundation brushes," she continues. "Most wet surfaces can attract and harbor more bacteria. Along with that, the oil, dust and dead skin cells that your makeup brushes collect, is just something you wouldn’t want to push back into your skin or so close to your sensitive eyes." She recommends Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner and Blendercleanser Solid Makeup Sponge Cleanser.
9. Master a Classic Makeup Look
What better time to play with makeup than now, when we have extra time on our hands? Use this time to master a classic makeup look, like a cat eye. "Some tips to master the cat eye makeup look is to put eyeliner not only on the top lash line, but on the bottom," Sketch says. "Then, finish it off with smoking the bottom out with matte black eye shadow with a small blending brush. It looks great and really makes your eyes stand out. Also, line the thinnest outer flick of your liners first on each side evenly. Then connect it with small strokes toward your inner top lash line. Patience and practice goes far."
Her favorite eyeliners for creating a classic cat eye are Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen, because it lasts long, doesn’t dry out fast, and it’s affordable. She also loves Tarte’s Tartiest Double Take Eyeliner because not only does it last, but it has two great products in one — a thin liquid liner that is very precise and a creamy liner is great for the water line, says Sketch.
10. Give Your Nails a Break from Nail Polish
"While there is no scientific evidence that says you must give your nails a break, we’ve found it makes our nails feel stronger and healthier," says Sarah Gibson Tuttle, founder and CEO of Olive & June. "I like to do a major nail cleanse 2-4 times a year where I’m just using Cuticle Serum for about a week."
With that being said, a lot of us have gel polish on our nails, but we’re unable to make it to the salon to remove it professionally. Rest assured you can remove it at home — you just need a few tools and a lot of patience. "I recommend removal while you’re FaceTiming a friend or watching TV, so you’re not tempted to damage your nails by rushing or picking them off," Tuttle says. "You’ll need need a file, acetone, tin foil — and a hot towel is a bonus." Start by filing gently to break the top coat seal. "The polish should no longer be shiny, and you’ll want to cover the full nail with your file," Tuttle says. Then, soak cotton balls in acetone and place them on your nails, wrapping each fingertip tightly in tin foil: "Ideally, soak until the gels are lifting off entirely, which will take at least 15-20 minutes."
To help expedite the soaking process, Gibson Tuttle suggests wrapping a hot towel around the fingers. But overall, the most important thing to remember is to have patience to allow the gels to lift before removing the cotton. "If the gel still isn’t popping off easily, just re-wrap the nail and let them soak longer," she adds.
11. Master The Art of The At-Home Manicure
While you can’t book manicure appointments right now, that doesn’t mean your nails can’t look professional. ["We created an at-home nail system because it was so hard to paint your own nails. The Olive & June Studio Box includes everything you need for a salon-quality manicure at-home," Tuttle says. Olive & June is hosting a three week Mani Bootcamp over on their Instagram live which will break down every aspect of the at-home manicure.
There are a few key steps to achieving a professional-level at-home manicure. First, shape your nails. "It’s all about the 90/10 rule — 90% of your shape comes from your nail clipper; 10% from filing," says Tuttle. "First, use flat edge clippers to cut your nail into your desired shape, then gently smooth out the edges."
Next, prep the nails: "Dip each nail in a Nail Polish Remover Pot to remove old polish and excess oils that can interfere with your polish adhering to your nail bed."
After that, trim any hangnails, buff your cuticles, and move on to painting. Tuttle recommends starting with a center swipe of polish, then a swipe on either side — you should be able to cover the average nail plate in 2-3 strokes — and then waiting to apply the next coat. "Five to 10 minutes in between coats makes a world of difference," she says. "It will decrease the chance of bubbles and it dries faster — I swear! Then seal your nails with the top coat formulated with your polish to maximize shine and protect your polish."
Finally, finish up with cuticle serum to hydrate your cuticles and encourage healthy, strong nails to grow. "Once your top coat has fully dried, apply cuticle serum to make your mani shine. Cuticle serum is our must-have, can’t/won’t/don’t-leave-home-without-it product. You could have zero polish on and give your cuticles a dose of cuticle serum and it would add instant luster."
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