For Us Low-Maintenance Girls, Quarantine is Our Time to Shine

Unable to get your hair, nails, or brows done? Welcome to our world.

Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

For a large portion of my career, I worked in the newsroom of our local newspaper, writing online articles and manning their websites and social media. The dress code was simple — wear something clean. Those of us who weren’t in management would show up to work in jeans and t-shirts, sometimes leggings and sweatshirts, prepared to spend the day chained to our desks and out of the public eye.

My normal hairstyle was a messy bun on top of my head, and not the cute kind, either. It was a brush and go kind of hairstyle, enhanced by the fact that I’d decided to embrace my grays at 38 and was now sporting an impressive strip of silver plus the awkward stripe where my natural color ended and the dyed portion began. It was hot, I tell you.

Makeup was also optional. On the days I did, it was nothing more than mascara, concealer, and blush. It didn’t look much different than the days I went bare faced, and the only one who knew any different was me since everyone kind of did their own thing in the newsroom.

After 11 years, I finally decided to try something new. I left the world of journalism for the marketing world, taking an office job in a real estate office that required more interaction with the public.

I thought the biggest difference would be the slower pace. Turns out, it was my appearance.

I was a teenager in the nineties, and I have the eyebrows to prove it. My pencil thin brows are a result of the over-plucking fad, and something I had never given much thought to until I overheard one of the girls talking about something called microblading. She had gorgeous brows — another weird thing for me to even notice — and up until that point I’d thought they were natural. I knew my salary and assumed hers was close to mine. So when I discovered she was spending $400 every few months to make her brows appear thicker, I was floored. I was even more surprised to learn this was common among all the women in our office.

And then there were the eyelashes. I’d always considered myself lucky to have long eyelashes, even without makeup. In this office, my eyelashes were almost nonexistent in comparison to those of my coworkers. I honestly had no idea women wore false eyelashes for everyday moments like working in an office or sitting at home with a glass of wine. Even more, they had these lashes semi-permanently applied on a regular basis, allowing them to wake up with popping eyes. I wore false eyelashes once, and it was enough to realize they were not for me. And yet, half inch long lashes were apparently commonplace in my new office.

I honestly had no idea women wore false eyelashes for everyday moments like working in an office or sitting at home with a glass of wine.

Then there were the procedures. Did you know you don’t have to have bags under your eyes, that there is actually a thing called “fillers” that takes care of that for you? Neither did I.

You guys, I’m a simple girl. It takes me thirty minutes to shower, dress, and do my hair and makeup before work. I have five favorite outfits that I mix and match to add variety. My go-to hairstyle is a ponytail, but when I want to be fancy I use a curling iron. I wash my hair at night so I don’t have to use a blowdryer. I get my hair cut once, maybe twice a year. It’s been years since I had a pedicure, and even longer for a manicure. If I want painted nails, I do them myself.

This used to make me different. But now that we’re all stuck at home, the beauty salons closed for weeks, the playing field is starting to even out. Roots are starting to show. Brows are starting to fade. Laugh lines are appearing.

Basically, everyone is starting to look like me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not shaming those who have different needs than I do for beauty. I know it will be a good day for many when estheticians are finally able to serve their clients. I also know how good it feels to take time out for ourselves for some self-care, even better when we can rely on a professional to beauty us up. Pampering ourselves is never a bad thing.

But it’s also been nice to not feel so out of place.

That said, this whole experience has made me realize that my feelings of being out of place are an inside job. Eventually the salons are going to reopen, and my coworkers are going to look amazing with their long lashes and brilliantly colored hair.

I will also look amazing, but it won’t be because I got eyelashes or thicker brows. I will look exactly as I do now, but I’ve embraced that even more. I love my long natural hair, silver and all. I appreciate my 42-year-old skin, even with laugh lines. I’m cool with my thin eyebrows and regular eyelashes, and I believe the magic of mascara is enough.

When this quarantine ends, beauty standards will go back to the way they were before. In the meantime, I’m embracing this whole natural world we live in, where all of us look our ages — and that’s perfectly okay.

I don’t just write articles for Medium, I also write novels. My latest novel is Numbered, a dystopian romance set in 2050.

Find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, website at crissilangwell.com.

I’m all over the place, but I try to be honest in all of it. Find my books and musings at crissilangwell.com.

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