While the days (and weeks) in isolation have the tendency to melt into one another, an ever-growing halo of gray roots and chipped, chewed-down nails can serve as a reminder of exactly how long it's been since the world flipped upside down. The shelter-in-place orders that have blanketed the nation as result of the COVID-19 pandemic put an indefinite end to our ability to pop into the local salon for a quick nail service or massage. While beauty services aren't exactly essential to your health, "a beauty treatment is ultimately a form of self-care, which can help lower stress and anxiety levels," explains Jennifer Dragonette, Psy.D., executive director of Newport Academy, a nationwide mental health treatment facility.
Dragonette suggests that beauty regimens are actually a microcosm of routine. As such, the panic we're feeling from losing these luxuries is actually more emblematic of our feelings around the loss of normalcy. "Routines help create stability and a sense of control," says Dragonette. "When we lose these routines, we lose structure which can cause us to panic and become anxious. Especially at this time of uncertainty, having a routine can really help ease stress and calm our mind." As a result, we are all looking for ways to adapt. In late March, interest in how to remove acrylic nails was up 1,350% compared to the month prior, according to Google Trends, while searches for "how to make a hair mask" increased by 700%. CNN reported that sales of hair clippers increased 166% and hair coloring products are up 23% compared to sales last March, according to Nielsen.
"The fact that people are searching for DIY fixes at home suggests that we crave self-care, stability, and routine, whether we realize it or not," says Dragonette. " For some, figuring out how to recreate a favorite beauty treatment can be empowering. An at-home manicure or facial can be a relaxing way to pass the time and reduce stress, and can be a good reminder to take some time to care for oneself."
That's why our editorial beauty pros and the experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab are working hard to bring you the best at-home solutions to fill the void of the services you normally unwind with in-salon. In doing so, you can even support your favorite beauty pros from afar by buying products directly from your go-to salon or spa, scheduling a virtual consult with your stylist before you DIY, or pre-paying for your next in-shop service now. For now, we hope these DIY fixes bring you some comfort and normalcy, and help you make the most of your time at home. Remember: "Sometimes the self-care that we don’t think we have time to do can be the very thing that frees up some mental space in our day," says Dragonette.