The novel coronavirus has drastically changed how we live. Many of us are staying home from work, unable to socialize with friends or extended family members. Although there are lots of opportunities for reflection when there’s nothing to do but #stayhome, survey data shows that those who are working remotely due to COVID-19 are actually neglecting their personal hygiene. In fact, one in three say they’re showering less often, while one in five say they aren’t brushing their teeth as frequently. And while forgetting to floss means you’re missing more than 40% of the tooth’s surface, it’s a safe bet that many of us are neglecting that task, too.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re still staying home for the next month or two, it’s not too late to embrace a better beauty and grooming routine. Here are some tips to help you flatten the curve without falling into a rut.
Clean Your Makeup Brushes
You might not be using cosmetics on a daily basis if you’re bumming it around the house. In that situation, it’s easy to forget about the tools you usually use to apply makeup. But if you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your sponges and brushes, you’re well overdue for a washing session. Bristles and sponges collect both makeup residue and bacteria, which can cause breakouts, rashes, and more unpleasant problems.
To clean your brushes and sponges, you can use a gentle soap or specially formulated brush spray and cool water. Clean until the water runs clear and then lay your brushes flat (or hang them upside down) to shape the bristles and ensure water won’t get trapped in the handle. Give them at least several hours to dry (or preferably a full day) before using them.
Don’t Forget to Moisturize
Initial estimates showed that the value of the U.S. soap and detergent market would exceed $47 billion by 2025 — but considering the current demand for soap (thanks to the need for frequent hand-washing), that number might be even higher. Although washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19, all of that soap and water can actually hurt your skin if you have conditions like eczema.
If your hands are cracked, dry, or scaly for any reason, you’ll want to up your moisturizer game. There are both prescription and over-the-counter products made specifically for those with sensitive skin or skin conditions, so you may want to call your dermatologist or pick up something by Avene, Bioderma, or Eucerin at the store. Even if you aren’t prone to dry or itchy skin, you’ll want to use a richer lotion or balm to keep your hands clean and soft.
It’s also a good idea to use a fragrance-free soap and use only enough to wash your hands properly; if you use so much soap that it forms a thick lather, you’re going to end up washing away more natural oils on your skin. Be sure to use warm or cool water, rather than hot, and pat your hands dry on a towel instead of rubbing. Apply a moisturizer, hand cream, or a petroleum jelly product immediately after drying. Hand sanitizers can also be drying due to their high alcohol content, so if you have a choice between washing your hands and using a pump of sanitizer, go with the former.
Forget Frequent Hair-Washing and Drying
Although we’re washing our hands more often, the same concept doesn’t necessarily apply to our heads. People are definitely showering less frequently right now — and while cleaning our bodies is still a good thing, you may not always have to wash your hair at the same time.
Approximately 35 million men experience some level of hair loss or baldness. But for those of us with luscious locks, there’s really no reason to wash them on a daily basis. Many experts believe that frequent washing can strip the hair of natural oils, which can cause the scalp to produce more oil in order to compensate. If you’re not going out as much or even attending daily Zoom meetings, might we suggest you wash every other (or even every third) day? If you wash less frequently, you’ll reduce the number of products you use and the amount of heat damage your hair experiences. If you do continue to wash your hair daily, try drying it naturally without the help of any hot tools and try out some no-heat styling techniques. Not only might you find your new go-to style, but you’ll probably be able to stave off the hair boredom that often leads to drastic dye jobs and unfortunate home trims.
Give Your Face Some TLC
You’re probably not wearing as much makeup these days, but it’s entirely possible your complexion might be worse than before. Excessive stress and changes in diet or physical routine can definitely manifest into blemishes, under-eye bags, and other skin issues. Plus, wearing a mask for essential outings (and then sweating in that mask for an hour) won’t help matters.
Now’s a good time to show your face some love. You might be hesitant to try out a bunch of new products at once, particularly if you have sensitive skin. But you should definitely use a gentle facial cleanser morning and night (and after wearing a face mask!), use a good moisturizer, and use a product that contains a retinoid. Retinoids help skin cells turn over more quickly, which can stave off issues like acne. Remembering not to touch your face in order to slow the spread of the virus can also result in better skin overall.
It can be frustrating to feel like you’re stuck at home. But if you view quarantine as an opportunity to get your skincare in check, you might have something more to look forward to once your state starts to reopen. Talk about a glow-up.