Home solutions for a dose of lockdown grooming
Before neglect turns into a situation that requires medical intervention, here are a few lockdown lenitives for your wellness woes
- Published 12.05.20, 9:56 PM
- Updated 12.05.20, 9:56 PM
- 5 mins read
We can only imagine the condition of the hands of those who, during the Covid-19 pandemic, strictly adhere to the precautionary advice, to wash ones hands, to a 20-second singing of Happy Birthday each time one feels they have come in contact with a possible source of transmission.
Now add that washing to the myriad water-centric household chores being in quarantine entails, and what you’ll get are dry, sore, crinkly-skin hands that look decades older than they actually are.
Extreme dryness can quickly escalate into skin cracks, just the kind of crevices bacteria and viruses love settling into. The nails too, if neglected, get brittle and prone to breakage, cracking down mid-centre of the nail-plate, exposing the tender nail bed; it’s a painful experience best prevented. Before neglect turns into a situation that requires medical intervention, here are a few lockdown lenitives for your wellness woes.
An antidote to distressed nails that stringent washing hygiene may bring, is some TLC delivered through a DIY manicure. This quarantine period is a perfect time to strengthen and build up your nail-plate health, as you can go nail polish free, allowing for it to breathe free and soak in some healing sunshine.
- Ready the tools, duly disinfecting them: a glass bowl into which your hand fits, a file, clipper, cuticle cream, nail polish remover, cuticle pusher (I advise against cutting your own cuticles) nail brush, thick moisturising cream and cotton pads.
- Remove all traces of nail polish with a non-acetone polish as this helps to not dry out your nails further.
- Clip your nails to the shape required.
- File your nails without forceful aggressive movements, but instead, gently, with single strokes, file out the rough edges left by the clipper.
- Soak your nails and hands in a glass bowl filled with soapy warm water; this shouldn’t take more than three to four minutes. The process will soften the cuticles and loosen anything unclean trapped under your nails. Wipe hands dry.
- Apply cuticle cream to soften the cuticles so they can be gently pushed back. Pushing them back roughly or with too much pressure can leave the nails prone to infection, so be cautious.
- Apply a hand moisturiser.
Gel polish removal...
Items needed: Acetone, a nail file, cotton balls, small aluminium squares, a cuticle pusher and buffer.
- File your fingernails till the shiny seal of the gel polish is removed, making sure you don’t file down to the nail-plate.
- Saturate a ball of cotton wool in acetone.
- Put the soaked cotton ball on top of your buffed nail.
- Wrap your finger in a small square of aluminium foil to keep the cotton ball in place.
- When the polish is soft, gently scrape off. If stubborn bits remain, buff off making sure to not scrape the natural nail.
Drying your hands and feet with a towel post every wash is de rigueur as fungi thrives in a damp environment.
Should you notice toenail fungus, evident through a toenail turning white or having yellow spots, an odd odour, or turning crumbly, see to it asap! If no medical care is immediately available, try these remedies…
Hydrogen peroxide foot soak…
Hydrogen peroxide is a potent anti-fungal remedy. Soak hydrogen peroxide on a swab of sterilised gauze and then wipe it over your infected toes or toenails.
Or mix 6tsp of hydrogen peroxide to 10 cups of cool water and soak feet for 10 minutes. Rinse with tepid water and dry.
Apple cider vinegar/vinegar foot soak…
Vinegar is a gentle anti-fungal that can be mixed with water to create a foot soak. Mix one cup of vinegar to two cups of warm water and soak feet for 20 minutes daily. Rinse and pat dry.
Soaking the infected nails in an epsom salt solution can bring relief from foot fungus and overall tiredness. Mix 1/2 cup of epsom salt in one litre of warm to hot water and soak feet for 15 minutes. Rinse off and dab dry.
Those used to pedicures will find the lockdown a tad trying because the build up of callouses on the heel could mean the developing of painful cracks, a condition that persists if ignored.
- Soak your feet in lukewarm, soapy water to which 1/4 cup vinegar has been added, for 20 minutes.
- Use a foot scrubber or pumice stone and with rhythmic moves, gently remove thickened skin.
- Wash away the dead skin, and use a cotton towel to soak up water and dry feet completely.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the affected area. Moisturise the entire foot.
- Clothe in a pair of socks.
The maximum number of client calls received by our salon during lockdown are to do with waxing and eyebrow shaping. The eyebrows are a vital part of ones face as the correct shape can complement face shape, and through the magic of illusion, actually make it seem more symmetrical. Overarching, flattening or erroneous plucking can both, alter the expression entirely and make the face look heavier, longer, thinner, even when it’s not what was desired! While it’s best to leave finer patterning to the professionals, there are emergency lockdown techniques to get the eyebrows in shape by just tweezing out the strays that fall out of the outline acquired through the method below:
How to work toward setting a structure for the shape of the eyebrow?
The starting point: Should align vertically with the outer part of the nostril. Tweezing away from this line could make the eyes look smaller and the nose larger. Mark this point on the brow.
The arch: This is the highest point of the eyebrows and should be about 2/3 of the entire length of the eyebrow, away from the starting point. Its position should never be altered, this point opens out the eye area and is like a mini facelift if properly determined and highlighted correctly. Again, using the outer edge of the nostril as the starting point, move the pencil away from it to the highest point of the eyebrow. This is the arch. Mark this highest point. The shape desired, subsequently, be it rounded, flatter or arched, should be achieved by clearing hair only from under the brow.
The outer end: Using the outer part of the nostril as a starting point, move along the brow till you arrive at the point that aligns diagonally with the outer corner of the eye. Mark this point. Then link these focal points with an eyebrow pencil. Fill in, how thick or thin you would want your eyebrow to be, with a pencil or eyebrow pomade. Tweeze out any strays that fall outside this outline.
1. Wear gloves for all household chores involving water.
2. Lather the hands with moisturiser post each wash.
3. At night, just before you sleep, mix some vitamin E oil into your massage cream and wear cotton gloves to allow the moisturiser to be absorbed in.
4. DIY manicure.
5. Foot soaks to prevent fungus.
6. Pat hands dry after each wash to prevent fungal infections.
7. As the nails on the hands and feet are sensitive now due to continuous washing, treat them gently.
8. Hand creams with cocoa butter and shea butter ingredients work well as the thick creamy consistency forms a perfect barrier.
9. Let your nails soak in some sunshine!
10. Being locked in means you can practise drawing your eyebrows to the exact shape required; also remember there’s a fine line between vanity and insanity, so don’t obsess too much over its shape.
Priscilla Corner is a senior hairstylist with the UK Hair Council and co-owner of the June Tomkyns chain of salons. She can be reached at @junetomkynshair on Twitter and @priscilla_corner on Instagram