Life&Style Writer Georgina Bissett argues that social distancing is heralding the return of the natural look
I don’t think a day goes by at the moment without seeing someone shaving their head, giving themselves a new fringe, or trying a new hair colour while in isolation on their social media. Beauty in the time of coronavirus has sent people to new, experimental places. Perhaps you are trying something you have always wanted to do, but never had the time or just taken the plunge, or maybe it is a case of getting rid of all of your hair to avoid inevitable bad roots or haircuts from an unwilling family-member-turned-hairdresser. Often head-shaving on social media is done for a laugh, challenge or for charity, being seen as a lighthearted change – but for others it could signify a powerful shift in our beauty standards.
If there was ever a time to experiment with your appearance, this is it. By trying and testing new looks, you can find what works best for you without seeking public approval. Risk taking can be done in the safety of your own home, therefore being a personal journey into beauty and self-care rather than something which will be judged as you walk down the street. You can express yourself and find what feels most comfortable before having to go out in public with a botched trim or dodgy box-dye job. After lockdown, you can step out with a tried-and tested hairstyle, or makeup look which deviates from your usual, but you have had the time and opportunity to master something new. It will ultimately be a stronger look for you as you can consolidate your appearance as something you have done for yourself in your own time, rather than following a trend or anyone else.
Conversely, many people are choosing to ditch the styling tools and makeup to go back to their natural beauty, rather than maintaining beauty standards which turn out to be time consuming and unrewarding. Hair and nails can grow out again and our pores can breathe during a break from makeup. When we step back from our everyday routines, it can be striking to notice what we actually see as important or ‘worth it’ in terms of our everyday beauty. We could use this time to appreciate our natural beauty, rather than constantly try to keep up a maintenance cycle which, if it doesn’t make us feel good, is unsustainable. Perhaps we will become so used to seeing ourselves makeup – free that we will continue to slow down on the beauty front after being isolated, as we won’t want to return to it, giving the natural look a renaissance.
This is also an opportunity for us to think about how much of our beauty we outsource, with many people having nails, eyebrows, lashes and hair done professionally, and whether we can now learn to do it ourselves and save some money. The time has never been better to learn a new skill – so perhaps hairdressing or new makeup looks could be a good use of our time, saving money in the future, and coming in very useful in our everyday lives. Who knows, maybe giving your brother a buzzcut will remain a monthly fixture.
I believe that people’s responses to coronavirus isolation will probably be polarised, either relishing being able to ‘dress up’ again, and experiment with beauty looks, or getting used to and learning to love their natural looks. They may have found a new signature look through experimentation, or enjoyed using the time usually taken for getting ready to go out in different ways. A principal source for reflection is taking the time out to think about what we do for ourselves, or what we feel is necessary in order to get ready to go out in public. Ultimately, I feel that this is a time to go back to basics, appreciating your natural look, going for something new, or enjoying getting dressed up again to go out.
Find out how else beauty standards are shifting during the pandemic…