With nail bars, waxing salons and hairdressers shut – and no-one but your Zoom-bound colleagues and mates to see a glimpse of you anyway – are we all embracing the lockdown feral look? And can we ever go back?
As I peer down into another video call, the persistent digital reflection reminds me it’s been over almost three months since I had my highlights done, my eyebrows are growing wild and free, and a make-up free face is not done any favours by the unflattering up-the-nostrils angle of my laptop camera.
But I find it difficult to really care. Now my home has become my office, leisure space, makeshift yoga studio and restaurant, which public eyes would I be preening myself for anyway?
On the flipside, I would say I’m looking after myself in other ways better than ever. Religiously moisturising morning and night, a daily quota of time outside means I always get at least an hour of fresh air, and our limited shopping trips and mean I’m planning and eating three square meals, no longer interrupted by mid-afternoon snacks from Pret or drunk-bought fried chicken.
My now plentiful time is made even more so by being able to redirect the energy and headspace usually swallowed up by how I look to other things. Even if just daydreaming out the window. Or debating whether to bake banana bread or apple pie.
So how is lockdown changing out relationship with how we maintain and feel about our appearance? In this NYT piece by Ruth La Ferla, she highlights the idea of femininity as a performance, questioning how our self-image is impacted by the lack of an audience.
She draws on the experiences of a range of women, some whom are not only embracing the lack of need for a bra or high heels or to spend inordinate amounts of time and money in nail bars – but questioning why they ever bothered with these things at all?
So what about you? Are you letting yourself go and enjoying it? Or is it driving you mad? Will you revert back to your old ways once lockdown is lifted or have they changed for good?
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on #ThisMuchIKnow on 23rd April 2020.