Of course, this all began in March, when Life As It Used To Be turned topsy-turvy.
Prior to that time— though only months ago, it feels like years—my vanity essentials had been covered for decades by professionals. Really, I couldn’t imagine not going to a salon because their magic has always made me look and feel far greater than anything I might have attempted on my own.
Getting my hair right is the most important.
So, my tresses were colored once a month, courtesy of the only stylist in Southern Oregon who carried the identical organic line as my California hairdresser. They also tinted and trimmed my brows and put fun colors on my bangs, including violet, blue and green, which made me look like the Girl Clown I’ll always be. And, both waxed my upper lip, which needed attention every three weeks.
Larger waxing needs—arms and legs—used to happen every six weeks at a Vietnamese owned salon, where efficiency was key. Here in Oregon, I found a thorough and speedy hairdresser who did the same. After a sloppy bang trim from the organic stylist, this new waxer started cutting my hair, too
Mani-peds were less frequent, every two months or until the gel polish on my toes had dulled and shrunk so much (thanks to new nail growth) that I couldn’t stand it anymore.
So, even though I needed three separate folks to look my best, it worked.
Then everything closed.
An ancient adage instantly came to mind: necessity is the mother of invention.
But now, it wasn’t merely a sentence. Now, it was a proverb that had to be put into action.
First up was asking the Hubster to color my hair.
To say he was hesitant is an understatement, but I did my best to cheer him on. After pinning up my locks in several places, then draping towels on the dining room floor and my shoulders and lap, we both read the package directions several times. Finally, carefully putting on the thin disposable gloves that were inside the box, he began.
My brave spouse has done the same thing three times now, and more than a few friends say that they prefer
the drugstore color over the salon look. Also, he has trimmed my hair (which, thankfully, has no layers) and that
looks good, too.
Waxing was next, and it has been the most challenging.
The big beauty supply store in town was also closed, so I ordered a starter’s waxing kit online. I’d watched countless women over the years apply the sticky stuff and deftly strip it away, so I figured it couldn’t be difficult.
As it turns out, those folks only made it look easy.
For whatever reason, my expertise at lip waxing isn’t bad. But trying to do the same on my arms and legs hasn’t worked. I’ve made nasty adhesions by pulling the wrong way, or maybe using too much (or not enough) wax. Worse, the wax gets everywhere. Last week, a glob of it wound up in the washing machine.
When I moaned about this online, a friend suggested Nair, the cream depilatory that made its debut in 1940. I’d used this product in college and recalled the awful medicinal smell; also, it made my skin red and itchy. But there are many updated versions out today, which depending on choice, boast nourishing additives with shea butter, Vitamin E and
I chose the latter and it worked. But I also know that the process was a success because after decades of waxing, the hair on my arms is thinner, and I have less of it, than when I was younger.
The same goes for my legs, but I couldn’t get to the places I wanted to with depilatory. That’s when the Hubster came to my rescue one more time. He’s a member of Harry’s Club, which sounds like a strip joint but is a company devoted to superior shaving products. Using a special pivoting Harry’s razor, along with the recommended aqua-colored shaving cream, my legs are now smooth.
Finally, I needed to figure out my nails.
My professional in this area texted me with instructions about how to remove the gel. I gave it my all, taping large cotton balls on every toe, each soaked with industrial strength nail polish remover, for 10 minutes. But the color remained.
Perhaps sensing my despair after reporting this failed effort, the expert arrived at my back yard. There, both of us donning masks, I sat on a picnic chair while she squatted in front of me and vanquished the polish. She has offered to return for a complete pedicure, but right now, I’m staying au natural.
Here are three things I’ve learned by going DIY.
One, I’ve saved a ton of money, meaning, close to $800. Two, perhaps the Hubster will consider a new calling in the world of hair color. Lastly, while none of these routines has yielded professional results, they don’t look half bad.
Now, the question is this.
Once the pandemic has passed, will I ever return to a salon?