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From Pantry to Powder Room: Looking Your Best When Times are Tough

It’s not exactly breaking news that the world has changed drastically in the last few weeks. Though staying healthy and minimizing stress seems more challenging, it’s imperative to our overall well-being, and that includes maintaining our appearance.

Self-care lifts our spirits. It provides a sense of normalcy during rough times. A dab of a favorite perfume transmits feelings of joy and pleasure.  While some may scoff at vanity services as frivolous, beauty is historically a recession-proof industry, as it is often the one luxury people can afford.  Clinical evidence suggests that self-care elevates our mental health and eases anxiety and depression.   We’ve rounded up some experts to keep your hair and skin in spa condition without leaving home.

Getting Down and Dirty

First things first.  Clean out that makeup bag.  If your spring cleaning in the past did not include your makeup bag or drawer, now is the time to start and keep it up.  After pitching expired and expressly grimy makeup in the bin, dermatologist and Extreme Makeover veteran Dr. Ava Shamban recommends these steps for cosmetic cleanliness.

  • Sterilize all makeup brushes, applicators, and sponges.

  • Use a bleach solution and a blow dryer for all brushes regardless of material or product.

  • Finish with micellar water so there is no irritation to the face.

  • Facial brush heads or toothbrush heads should all be traded for new. Extra tip: Disinfect toothbrushes in Listerine for one hour and continue this practice for life.

  • Clean and sanitize the entire makeup bag.

  • Put jars that require a double-dip on the back shelf for now and look for airtight pumps, mists or other touch-free applicators.

  • If you must use jar products, use a small spoon applicator.

Be Consistent

Medical aesthetician Candace Marino (aka “The LA Facialist”) emphasizes to remain consistent with your skincare routine.  Take the time to properly cleanse, tone, and apply antioxidant serum morning and night. Don’t rush! Apply gently and purposefully. Enhance with a light facial massage to improve circulation.  Despite the fact that you may not be spending much time outdoors, facial sunscreen is still necessary.  Even indoors, free radicals are always a threat to skin, including UV rays and blue light from computers and mobile phones and tablets.  Repeat the same routine before bedtime, replacing the SPF with a rich moisturizer or nourishing oil so you awake to hydrated and supple skin.

Marino also suggests ramping up your routine with home treatments that you may not have tried due to potential downtime or need for sun avoidance.  Experiment with gentle peels or retinoids to combat dryness and fine lines or hydroquinone to address melasma, discoloration, hyperpigmentation, or acne scars.  As the sensitivity and redness of sun exposure are less of an issue, now is the time for those little extras that were previously just one more task.

Now that you’re spending less time each day applying makeup or getting ready, reach for the LED light, jade roller, and facial toning devices you purchased with good intentions but have not felt the touch of a human hand for too long. After a few minutes of daily use, you will cumulatively observe firmer and more resilient skin.

 On the other hand, Marino emphatically warns of the dangers of attempting professional treatments such as micro-needling on your own.  These apparats can cause more harm than good, and your favorite spa or aesthetician may not be available to reverse the damage. 

Hair Do’s

Look no further than your pantry for a nourishing hair mask.  Award-winning hair expert Philip B. has earned international praise for his visionary hair and scalp innovations.  He divulges his expertise of botanicals and essential oils to keep hair strong and healthy between salon visits.

“Make a deep-conditioning treatment using a mashed avocado, one egg, and some olive oil. Mix the ingredients well, massage them through dry, unwashed hair and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. Apply a generous dollop of clarifying shampoo directly to the mixture, add water and start to lather for one to three minutes, then rinse well. The avocado and olive oil will add moisture and shine, while the egg contains protein to strengthen dry strands.” Philip B.

Fast fading hair color is always frustrating. Keeping hair properly conditioned and preventing dehydration is key. Make sure to brush your hair before each washing to distribute natural oils and stimulate the scalp. To get more mileage from your hair color and keeping it shiny, Philip B. recommends applying a ph balanced toning mist prior to cleansing to lock in color by closing the cuticles. This keeps color more resistant to bleeding or fading and imparts a glossy finish.

Saving Face

Are you concerned about your injectable or filler wearing off before you can visit a medi-spa or dermatologist? It’s a delicate subject that’s probably swimming in many people’s heads. Truth be told, there really is no verifiable way to make them last longer, but dermatologists advise taking these steps to maximize their benefits.

Use sunscreen daily and avoid the sun whenever possible.  We’ve said it before, but we don’t mind being a broken record when it’s this important.

Continuously moisturize.  That means drinking plenty of water and adhering to a proper skincare routine day and night.  Look for creams and serums with hyaluronic acid to plump and retain moisture.

Some studies have shown that the effects of muscle relaxing injections are linked to levels of zinc. Taking a zinc supplement may help to prolong its effect.

Limit the intake of processed and packaged foods.  While you want to maintain a healthy weight, pronounced weight loss (particularly on your face) will diminish the efficacy and durability of injections.

And most importantly, get sufficient rest and keep calm.  Stress will show up on your face, so stay calm and cool.  Taking care of yourself is your skin’s best defense.

April 01, 2020 — Candace Marino