Whether you’re still rocking the stay-at-home sweatpants, top-knot and bare-face look, or you’ve reemerged into the outside world, breathing in a rediscovered dose of fresh air and socialization, it’s a good time to take inventory and reinvigorate and recommit to your self-care routine. Caring for your skin, nails and hair is always in style, especially if you have paused seeing professionals for the expert services and pampering they provide. Some of Santa Fe’s personal care professionals suggest strategies you can use at home until you’re ready to resume booking appointments.
With many gyms closed and exercise classes canceled, people have gotten really creative with their at-home workouts. Esthetician and skincare expert Shar Jimenez of Mist says faces need a home workout too. “It’s called Pilates for the face!” laughs Jimenez as she describes a handheld device that uses microcurrents to lift and tone the skin while stimulating circulation. “You know when you sit in the mirror and hold up your skin with your hands and wish it could stay like that? Well, that’s what this device does.” If getting a facial treatment isn’t in your plans, Jimenez says home products go a long way. She suggests starting by exfoliating regularly. “A gentle but active exfoliation keeps skin fresher, younger and glowing. That allows the rest of your products to do their jobs. Without exfoliating, you’re just piling creams and serums on top of dead skin,” explains Jimenez.
In Jimenez’s experience, male clients tend to do as little as possible when it comes to skincare. She says they often just use the bar of soap in the shower to wash their faces, but that’s much too harsh. She suggests men use a gentler cleanser. She also encourages both men and women to use sunscreen diligently: sun exposure is the skin’s main culprit and even a small amount of exposure to ultraviolet rays can be damaging, especially at high altitudes. And that’s not the only light to worry about. While computer screens have become the most popular virtual hangout spot, Jimenez warns the blue light of the screen can actually zap your skin. She recommends using a blue-light-blocking sunscreen to protect your face.
Even though your hands and feet aren’t necessarily seen on a Zoom call, nail experts say it’s important not to neglect these important body parts. “Every day, we touch food and put our hands near our mouths. You want to make sure you clean your nails and take care of your hands,” says Felicia Garcia of Creative Nails. “Your feet, they’re your base. They take you everywhere and deserve some sort of pampering.” Garcia advises using either a cuticle tool or your own fingernails to push back your cuticles each time you get out of the shower. This will prevent the cuticles from building up. She also suggests lightly filing your nails regularly, so they don’t grow too long and start breaking. During her own self-isolation, Garcia relied on a brush-on nail strengthener. She says it helped her nails grow longer and stronger than ever before.
While nail and cuticle maintenance and hygiene are priorities, Garcia says those who want to apply polish themselves should have some good corrector tools on hand, no pun intended. For instance, there are tools to help you keep the edges neat and clean, and ones to remove polish from a single nail in need of a redo.
Without regular pedicure appointments, many people develop calluses on their feet and rough, dry heels. Garcia emphatically endorses the use of a foot file both before and during a shower. “Oh, my goodness, I can’t emphasize that enough! The foot file makes such a big difference.” Garcia adds, “When people say they don’t want to bother scrubbing at home and that’s why they come to me, I ask them if they wait for a dentist visit to brush their teeth. The same rules apply with your feet.”
Hair and Now
While salons are open for cuts and color, wearing masks makes it challenging for men to get a traditional straight razor shave or beard trim. Barber Jude Vigil says, “Without these services, a lot of men’s faces are left feeling itchy and looking frizzy. I highly recommend products like balms, oils and shampoos. That will help the itching and tame beard hair.” Vigil works alongside his father at The Center Barber & Beauty Shop. Opened in 1954 by Jude’s grandfather, this custom barber shop still retains that old-fashioned barbershop charm. Vigil laments some of the homemade haircuts he’s now seeing.
Stylist Julianna Myers agrees. “You may think a little do-it-yourself trim can’t do much damage, but you’d be surprised,” she says. Myers, along with her sister and mother, runs Chrome Salon & Blowout Bar. She knows how emotional people are about this lapse in their haircare. She advises, “Put down the scissors” and says not to despair: there are many ways to love your locks, even if you’re not yet ready to head back to the salon. She recommends her clients spend their time at home on care and maintenance, but leave the coloring and cutting to the pros. “I know it’s such a temptation to cut off a little bit of the ends or grab that box of color at the grocery store. But chances are, the damage caused by these choices will take your stylist several visits to correct.” She continues, “Those boxed dyes use harsh chemicals and poor-quality ingredients. To cover gray, use a spray or crayon that washes out rather than permanent options.”
Instead of do-it-yourself fixes that could end disastrously, Myers suggests getting creative with scarves, hats, bandanas and clips. Braids and buns work well too. She also recommends that clients stop using heat to style their hair, including hair dryers and curling and flat irons. Heat makes the hair dry and brittle, and it can fade the color more quickly. After washing your hair and adding styling product, Myers suggests putting it in a braid. If you can do a French or Dutch braid, even better. You can sleep on a braid, wear it around for a day or so, and when you take it out, you’ll have waves that look like you’ve spent the afternoon in a salon chair. “Just shake it out and you’ll look so polished,” says Myers. “I call it mermaid waves.” In a community where people spend so much time outdoors, Myers suggests using hair products with SPF to prevent color from yellowing or drying out.
Can’t Make This Up
Also a trained makeup artist, Julianna Myers strongly encourages wearing sunscreen on your face every day, and believes when it comes to makeup, less is more. She says a tinted moisturizer is the way to go. It’s lightweight, gives just the right amount of coverage and allows you to still look yourself. “The best look is natural with a little bit of shimmer on the cheek bones. For more mature skin, try a matte blush instead of the shimmer so as not to enhance wrinkles.” She concludes, “The goal, no matter how old you are, is to look fresh, bright and light.”
When you look good, you feel good. Revitalizing and recommitting to your home self-care routine will not only boost your appearance, it’ll also lift your spirits.
Alana Grimstad is an experienced, award-winning journalist, writer and photographer based in Santa Fe who loves to meet interesting people and is honored to share their stories.