Beauty and the Beast Named Covid-19: Local pros share tips for at-home hair, skin, and nails

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Because even during a pandemic, you wanna feel good, look good.

Brassy hair, chipped nails, and thirsty skin—what the heck is a girl (or guy) supposed to do without a professional salon open anywhere in, um, the entire state of California? Turn your home—bathroom, kitchen or bedroom—into salon chez moi.

Fear not, we've enlisted three local experts to help you get your groom on. Each of our rockstars specialize in different areas, but they all agree that now is not—we repeat not—the time to do anything drastic. Rather, focus on maintaining your normal beauty regimen wherever possible. When something unexpected comes up (i.e. a breakout, broken nail, or split-end emergency), approach with calm, caution and a can-do attitude.


Bang Trim Tutorial + Hair Care Help from Pony Salon's Corinna Hernandez

To trim your bangs, or not to trim your bangs, that is the question.

Corinna, what say you?

Keeping it real, Pony Salon owner Corinna Hernandez believes you should only grab those shears as a last resort. "It takes a long time to learn to cut hair well. But a little, tiny trim couldn't hurt too much. Keep trims minimal (a centimeter at most) to be sure you're not getting into the complicated design of your previous haircut, and you should be fine," she says. (Check out her easy-to-follow bang-trim tutorial.)

As far as color goes, mini root touch-ups on the part and hairline are fine…if it will make you feel better about life, Hernandez jokes. She suggests reaching out directly to your colorist for help, and to minimize looming disasters. Of course, if you're a long-time home colorist, have at it (and lucky you).

When it comes to overall tress-care during shelter in place, Hernandez has a less-is-more approach. "The very best thing you could do is let your hair rest during this time. Wash once or twice a week, use a favorite moisturizing masque and let it air dry. Wear it up or braid it on days you don't wash, or try ponytails or buns. Let it grow. Could be fun to try a new look (when you get in to see your hairdresser again) with this new growth," she says.

Washing hair less, however, means you have to wash very well, stresses Hernandez: "Add shampoo at scalp first and then ends. Massage and scrub for a minute, put head under water and move away quickly, and massage and scrub scalp again. Repeat, then condition."

Even though she's a brilliant hair artiste, Hernandez has found herself feeling down in the dumps and not her most attractive during these hoodie-and-PJ days. Her solution? A little glam, dahling.

"I will brush my hair, add a beautiful serum (I like the one by Iles Formula) to the ends and give myself two braids, or I'll try something I normally wouldn't—and it's an instant pick-me-up! A little lip balm and a wonderful moisturizer for you skin helps to make you feel alive again. My absolute favorite is Monastery Made's natural line."

Lately, Hernandez, who offers professional education to hairdressers as part of her business, is turning to tutorials by teddicranfordhair for fun styles and idigyourhair for amazing scalp and hair treatments.

// Pony Salon, 6012 College Ave. (Oakland), pony.salon.com, @corinna.at.pony

Skin Care: SF Aesthetician Lori Anderson's Advice for Maintaining a Routine at Home

(Courtesy of CelleClé)

Stay calm and moisturize.

Extra TLC is key to keeping skin happy and healthy right now. Beloved SF aesthetician Lori Anderson is precisely the right person to explain how to dole out said tenderness.

Staying in a routine as much as possible is paramount. Carve out five minutes in the am and pm to cleanse, treat and moisturize your skin. "At the very least, this should happen," Anderson says. "But, keep in mind your skin might be drier than usual due to dietary changes and using the heater more. In this case, you may want to apply an additional hydrating serum, such as one with hyaluronic acid," she adds.

Staying indoors can affect the skin in other ways: "Too much exposure to high-energy light can accelerate aging, research suggests. Known as high-energy visible light, it's a natural part of sunlight but is also emitted from electronic devices. Increasingly more skincare companies are developing products that will address the issue of environmental stressors. CelleClé is on the cutting edge of this technology."

Stress itself can also age your skin—in a matter of days. But leaning on alcohol, caffeine, salty foods, etc., is not the answer and only make things worse (grimacing face emoji). So what to do? A good place to start is to prioritize your overall health, and diet is one of the most important tools for healthy, vibrant skin. "Eating a fruit- and vegetable-rich diet and drinking plenty of water will give your skin a nice glow. You might have to get creative in times like these, given we're limiting visits to the market," Anderson says.

Loss of vitamin D and depression can also come with hardcore hermiting. "It's important to take some time for yourself outdoors. Obviously protect your skin when doing this to the best of your ability. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin. It's all about balance," she explains.

To give your skin a boost, take a cue from Anderson, who does 15 minutes of cardio exercise or more, then cleanses her face for at least one minute and rinses with 20 splashes of lukewarm water. "Then, apply an exfoliating serum or mask, followed by a few drops of oil or hydrating serum. Massage product into skin while steaming your face over a bowl of boiling hot water for about one minute. Don't sit too close because you can cause damage to your respiratory tract and skin. Apply cold water to a clean washcloth and press into skin and wipe around a few times. Final step: Apply moisturizer and eye cream," says Anderson.

As far as products Anderson is loving right now, CelleClé DetoxyBright, an effervescent oxygenating mask that brightens and smooths, andvMultiglow A are tops on the list (and available for purchase on her website). But even if you don't have any fancy skincare products around, you can get into the masque game with just a few ingredients from the kitchen: "Use plain organic yogurt, mashed organic avocado, and some lemon juice to hydrate and brighten the skin. If your skin is sensitive, you can leave out the lemon juice," Anderson says.

// Lori Anderson Skincare, 1801 Bush St., Apt 113 (Lower Pacific Heights), loriandersonskincare.com

Nail Care: ​DIY Tips from The Nail Hall Founder Jen Hall

Nail Hall founder recommends keeping nails bare during shelter in place, but for those who must have polish, she suggests nude shade from Flora 1761.

(Courtesy of @thenailhall)

Grin and bare it.

You have permission to go naked. This, from nail expert Jen Hall, founder of The Nail Hall, a San Francisco nail bar with a nontoxic ethos and devoted following.

"There is no better time to go au natural than while self-isolating! Think of it as going makeup-free or doing a cleanse. It's a time to reflect on what you are putting in and on your body. Then, when your salon re-opens you can go get that long-awaited mani," Hall says.

Overall, it's a good news/bad news sitch regarding nails and hands. Staying indoors means that our hands aren't being exposed to harmful UV rays or cold weather that can chap and dry the skin. "But vitamin D is good for our skin and fresh air feeds our soul and keeps us feeling sane...so make sure to spend a little time outdoors, maintaining social distancing protocols of course," says Hall.

These days, Hall herself is keeping her nails short and, yes, polish-free. Short nails are easier to maintain, plus long nails can harbor bacteria and are more prone to breaking—a real issue with all that extra cooking and cleaning. "Also, staying hydrated and taking your vitamins will strengthen your nails from the inside, and using a moisturizing hand cream and cuticle oil will keep your hands soft and nourish nails," Hall adds.

To make sure you don't forget to hydrate every time you wash your hands, keep a bottle of lotion next to the sink. "I use pure organic shea butter or coconut oil after a shower, as they lock in moisture and hydrate all day. I do the same on my hands after each wash to prevent parched, cracking skin. Try to stick to products that are nontoxic or have a list of clean ingredients for the safest, healthiest option," she says.

For those experiencing mani withdrawals, here's Hall's step-by-step guide to DIY-ing it.

  1. Remove polish. (At The Nail Hall, we use Zoya's non-toxic 3-in-1 polish remover, which removes polish, preps and conditions nails.)
  2. Clip and/or file your nails followed by a light buff over the top and around the edges to smooth them out.
  3. Apply cuticle remover and gently push back cuticles using a wood stick or cuticle pusher. Avoid cuticle cutting at home—you don't want to nick yourself and become exposed to bacteria and infection. (Leave the heavy lifting for your nail tech when your salon re-opens.)
  4. Exfoliate your hands and arms with a scrub to remove dead skin cells and soften skin.
  5. Wash your hands and apply a moisturizer to hands and cuticles.
  6. Using the wood stick, clean any remaining residue under the nail and re-buff nail edges if necessary.
  7. Wipe off each nail with polish remover or isopropyl alcohol to clean off any excess oil on the nail. Now you are ready to paint. Or not paint. If you go the color route, Hall's loving Flora 1761: "The gorgeous shades are inspired by botanicals, and they're free of the most harmful ingredients contained in nail polish."
  8. Apply your base coat. Base coats nourish nails, protect against staining, and provide a smoother polish application, which prevents chipping.
  9. Apply your first coat of color making sure to get as close to the cuticle and sides of nail as possible. Be sure to lightly swipe along the tip of the nail (called capping the free edge). Don't overload the brush. A thin layer of polish will be easier to apply and dry quicker. Wait at least two minutes before applying the next coat.
  10. Apply your second coat of color in the same way. If you are using a sheer or lighter shade you might opt to do a third coat for more even coverage. Again, wait at least two minutes between coats to allow them to set.
  11. Apply your top coat. Top coats give you a high gloss finish, seal in the color and protect your manicure from chipping.
  12. Clean up any messy areas around nails with a clean-up brush dipped in polish remover or cotton wrapped around tip of wood stick dipped in polish remover.
  13. Give ample time to dry—the longer you dry, the longer lasting the mani!

// The Nail Hall,1401 Mission St. (SoMa), thenailhall.com, @thenailhall

Final thoughts: Please support these beauty pros and all the ones in your life. Buying gift cards for future services, products, and even just checking in to say hi can do a world of good in these precarious times. #7x7shopslocal

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