text and photography
by Deja Goode
In this time of social distancing, when there is not a hair salon, barbershop or nail shop that is open within a five-mile radius, one thing is sure: keeping up with your physical appearance is a huge challenge. I know this better than anyone as I have been staring at the same broken, pink, shimmery acrylic nail for about a week now, and it does not look like I am getting that fixed anytime soon. The lineup that your favorite childhood barber hooked you up with weeks ago has grown into a huge unruly mess, making it hard to look in the mirror without cringing. Trust me, I get it. However, there are many ways outside of the usual routine to keep up with physical appearance. Doing this will not only make you feel better about yourself, but you might find some excitement in self-isolation. These self-help ideas will reach beyond shelter in place rules. So, here are some alternatives to make yourself look and feel good now and in the future with limited resources.
Makeovers can be magical, not only for outside appearance but emotional wellbeing. About a week ago, I impulsively ordered a box of Feria ruby red hair dye as I was aimlessly scrolling through beauty products to find something with which to experiment. There are some who are not as impulsive and do not want to make that commitment, and that is completely fair. Makeovers do not necessarily have to be changing your hair to the most dramatic color possible. Getting a little bolder with a makeup look with fiery red lip or a highlighter yellow eyeshadow or growing out a mustache or beard can be something new to experiment with too. Watch makeup and hair tutorials on YouTube and get inspired!
Establish a New Skin Care Routine
Nothing says beauty like skin having a healthy glow. During the first two weeks of self-isolation, I found myself struggling with my skin as breakouts became more common. I learned this could happen from stress or a change in the environment. After taking a skin-type quiz on https://y-ourskin.com/quiz/, I found the perfect way to give my skin the proper treatment it deserves. The basic skin care routine should include a cleanser, toner, eye cream, moisturizer, a day cream and a night cream to put on before bed. I ordered all of these products online from my nearest Target. One thing I know from experience is to try and get all the products from the same brand because they come together and work like a dream team. However, everything is trial and error, and skin takes everything personally. Finding the right brand may take time, but knowing your skin in this sense is a bonus. As I am someone with sensitive skin, Botanics was the perfect, affordable drug-store brand for me. The All-Bright Hibiscus foaming cleanser works for all skin types. The toner and day cream also contain hibiscus and after getting curious about what makes hibiscus so great, I researched and found that it has a natural chemical compound that exfoliates and unclogs pores. My night time routine followed the same steps, except I finished it off with the Botanics night cream and massaged it into my skin upwards. Always massage upwards as it will increase oxygen and blood flow in the skin to prevent wrinkles. After two weeks of sticking to a routine, I found myself looking and feeling way better. I even took some pictures bare faced in the sun in my backyard.
Proper skin care can take place with common household items such as oatmeal, avocados, and even turmeric. A mask that I have enjoyed making for myself is the turmeric and oats mask. The ingredients include steel cut oats, turmeric, coconut milk, and marula oil, and they all work together to reduce redness and to even out your complexion. The turmeric is the primary ingredient that corrects dark spots and evens out your skin tone. I have been putting this mask on twice a week and already noticed a difference in my skin.
Incorporating exercise in a daily routine is rough. Personally, there is hardly any motivation to take the time to work out since I cannot go out and strut down a sidewalk with the America’s Next Top Model theme song playing in my head. I found the best way to get a workout is by finding some sort of physical activity that you love and doing that for at least 30 minutes a day. As funny as it sounds, “Just Dance” on the Wii has been my primary source of exercise for about a month. “Just Dance” has a “Just Sweat” feature on every game it has released, which mashes up a number of songs for a desired amount of time and makes for a good source of cardio. The best song that gets my energy up is “Where Have You Been” by Rihanna, not only because I am a huge Rihanna fan, but that song makes me want to be active already. The fun never ends especially since I have four siblings who join in. Who knew this game would come in handy during a pandemic?
Exercise does not have to be as intense as three long competitive hours of “Just Dance” with siblings. In fact, it can be something as simple as taking your furry friend for a walk around your neighborhood. Taking my dog on strolls under the moonlight has been something I look forward to everyday because it eases my longing to be outside and makes me feel accomplished knowing I could bring some excitement to my dog’s life too.
Getting in touch with your creative side and making new innovative looks with old clothes is a perfect way to make yourself feel good. “CraftyPanda” on YouTube shows that getting creative with clothes can make you look good too. This inspired me to turn one of my dad’s old flannels into a top that ties in the front with a bow. Using the excess fabric, I made a matching headband and styled it with black jeans. Not saying I am Vera Wang, but this definitely boosted my confidence for two reasons: I made a top notch outfit without spending any money, and sewing is a great life skill to have.
After rummaging through my closet, I found several pairs of jeans to give makeovers to. I was able to turn an old really tight pair of high-waisted denim jeans into cute ripped shorts for the summertime. The process was simple: just cut the legs off. To add my personality to it, I ordered small fruit patches to sew onto the back pockets. After hemming the bottom of the shorts to make them look fresh off of a rack, it was a whole new clothing item.
During this time of uncertainty, it is important we take care of ourselves in ways we did not know were possible. Maintaining physical appearance through daily workouts and self-care is the perfect way to boost confidence and even feel productive in a time where productivity feels limited. So crack open that box of hair dye, cut those old jeans, or put on that workout gear and start your journey.