Let’s re-evaluate our attitudes and assumptions.
COVID has turned our daily routines upside down. Along with all the other significant repercussions, we’ve also changed our beauty regimens and views of beauty itself. As a naturopathic doctor who focuses on treating skin, I’ve seen some surprising new relationships with selves emerge from the experience. Here’s how “natural beauty” is taking on new meaning.
“I don’t think I appreciated how much effort goes into getting ready each morning,” Patrick, a courtroom lawyer, says. “Without external motivators driving me to do it, it feels like an immense chore or burden.” Patrick’s not alone. Many of my patients have discussed their new stripped-down grooming: Along with time efficiency often come feelings of liberation.
While many are skipping full makeup, they’re choosing to focus on healthy skin. Self-proclaimed beauty enthusiast Alison says, “Staying at home, I haven’t been wearing makeup— just focusing on great, hydrating skin care. My skin feels so much more hydrated and calmer.”
Samantha, a loungewear designer, agrees with Alison. With the onset of COVID, she too “started spending more time on skin care and at-home treatments rather than makeup and stuff like that.”
Lockdown inspired us to take beauty into our own hands—and it’s been empowering.
“In a funny way,” says Samantha, “this moment has actually made me want to be a bit more indulgent and adventurous in how I use beauty in my daily life. I’m trying to teach myself to French braid my hair (which I’ve never been able to do) [and] playing around with DIY treatments.”
Patrick likens it to the recent baking craze. “The pandemic has forced me to expand my skills into new areas, like cutting my spouse’s hair. Like the folks making sourdough bread, I enjoy the satisfaction of doing it myself.”
High-skill treatments have been hard to replicate. “I definitely miss my micro-needling sessions,” says Alison. “For it to work effectively, you have to go regularly … I was getting great results. It’s also expensive, so you just want to make sure to go consistently to get the most out of your investment.”
Beyond their skills, we may miss our beauty providers themselves—and they miss us. Sandi, a makeup artist and esthetician, says, “These appointments were just as much about self-care as they were about beauty. I also have longstanding friendships with all the women who care for <me> in this way. I miss them … [and] as a makeup artist, I miss serving others.”
The new beauty normal
Many of my patients talk about wanting to continue their more self-loving, relaxed beauty approach indefinitely. This may become easier for many, as a lot of companies have announced that working from home will stick around after the pandemic.
Samantha already understands this: “I transitioned into working from home about six years ago, so I’ve already had the pleasure of experiencing what it’s like to relax my grooming and style routine for a casual, at-home work life. It’s actually a huge part of why I started my (loungewear) brand, Soft Focus.”
She adds, “Not brushing your hair and wearing old PJs all day definitely loses its luster. And I still want to feel like the best version of myself.”
It’s not just about doing less; it’s also about reimagining how beauty can work for us and the new life we want to live. Says Samantha, “You know what’s such a treat? Doing a face mask or taking a shower midday. I’m so into that!”
Amen to that.
Lockdown beauty tip: go easy on the sweets
Baking became big during lockdown, but moderating sugar intake may help our skin from the inside out. Excess glucose in our bloodstream prompts skin tissue damage and aging through a process called glycation.
All-around beauty supplements
|Supplement||Find it as …||What you need to know about it|
|collagen||powders, liquids, softgels, gummies||Sourced from ground fish, chicken, cow, and pig tissues, collagen may improve skin’s elasticity and perhaps even reduce wrinkles.|
|essential fatty acids (EFAs)||softgels, liquids||Researchers suspect that DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil) and EFA-rich evening primrose oil may help those with eczema.|
|hyaluronic acid||capsules, liquids; topical creams, serums, mists, cleansers, other skin-care products||Hyaluronic acid is thought to help skin remain hydrated and supple; lubricate and cushion our joints; help with wound healing, including for those with diabetes; protect cells by acting as a powerful antioxidant; and help with ear infections.|
|NAC (N-acetylcysteine)||liquids, powders, capsules||NAC is an antioxidant that may help slow down skin aging, speed up wound healing, and help clear inflammatory acne. NAC is generally safe and well tolerated.|
|probiotics||capsules, softgels, powders, liquids, gummies||Scientists and dermatologists have found some potential benefits of healthy bacteria to help rebuild the skin barrier, treat dermatitis, fight acne, and heal wounds.|