beauty

'Beauty salons are open. But, despite being a former regular, I won't be returning.'

When I heard that beauty salons across NSW would be closing their doors, I went into a mild panic. But what about my nails? What about my hair? Oh God. What about my eyebrows?

It wasn’t long before I was consumed with fear that I would slowly transform into The Grand High Witch from that scene in The Witches that gave me nightmares for most of my childhood. You know, this one:

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Would my co-workers start questioning why I’d turned my camera off on video calls? Would my fiancé start wondering who the hell he was engaged to?

I was so concerned about not looking like myself that I even considered rushing out to my nearest nail salon mid-working-from-home to have my gel polish removed at a minimum before they shut for the foreseeable future.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t because the coronavirus was and still is a very serious risk. Perfectly polished fingernails weren’t going to save me or those around me if I got unwell.

Here’s how you approach self care, according to your star sign. Post continues below.

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But what happened when I jumped off the hamster wheel of never-ending beauty treatment appointments was something rather beautiful in its own way; I realised I didn’t really need them. At least not at the frequency I was committing to them pre-self-isolation.

Why? Because self-isolation had forced me to stop, take a step back and seriously assess what I was spending my money on. It made me overhaul my expenses in a way that I hadn’t in a long time. It’s incredible how quickly you will hand over a little plastic card when you think it’s buying you something more valuable and that’s time.

As someone who was working full-time before the coronavirus pandemic, was rarely at home and you know, busy, busy, BUSY, I justified my spending by telling myself that my time was more valuable and could be better used elsewhere. When self-isolation handed the clock back to me, I turned into a person that I didn’t even recognise.

 

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I removed my own gel polish and did my own nails instead of going to a salon. I started cooking and baking food that was shockingly edible instead of going to a restaurant or ordering takeaway. I exercised at home and outside by going for long walks instead of going to the gym.

It’s actually pretty incredible what you can do when you have absolutely no other option. And doing all of these things helped me save a decent amount of money in the process. Something that would come in seriously handy when my role was unexpectedly made redundant just months later. Because that’s the problem with pandemics, you think your life is stable until suddenly, it’s not.

When the winding back of restrictions meant that salons could reopen on June 1, my Instagram feed was full of business owners celebrating the reopening of their doors and sure enough, bookings filled up fast. My eyebrow artist alone isn’t available until mid-August, that’s two and a half months of constant plucking, tweezing and waxing of who knows how many customers per day.

There’s no doubt the demand is there yet while this news should have made me scramble for my phone and potentially break my finger in an attempt to get an elusive appointment for myself, it didn’t. It instead reinforced that I didn’t need to jump to get gel polish and that a home job would do just fine.

If you’ve gone and filled your diary with beauty appointments, that’s fine too and I’m not here to judge you for that. It’s not to be underestimated what a bit of pampering can do for not only how you look, but how you feel. That’s important as well. We should, of course, also be supporting local business as much as we can within our own means.

But for me, I won’t be returning to a beauty salon anytime soon. Like the saying goes, the best things in life are free and in a world that’s still grappling with the repercussions of a global pandemic, it couldn’t ring more true.

Valentina Todoroska is a freelance writer, editor and former primary school teacher. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Feature image: Instagram/ @valentinatodoroska

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