Apr 20, 2020 - Partners

Charlotte experts offer advice on ways to maintain your self-care routine at home this month


This content was created in partnership with Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery.

On March 25, NC Governor Roy Cooper made the difficult decision to close businesses where social distancing is difficult — or impossible — to maintain. Among the affected businesses were salons, spas, and other places we rely on for personal care.

Though there are bigger issues right now than missing out on your weekly manicure, that doesn’t mean those acts of self-care aren’t important. Haircuts, facials, massages, and manicures don’t just make us look good, they help us feel good.

We chatted with some local self-care experts for some advice on at-home solutions to keep up appearances. After all, no one wants a disastrous DIY bangs situation.

Stefanie DiTomas, esthetician at Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery

Criswell & Criswell are experts in all things skincare, so they understand that it’s important to maintain your routine in the absence of office visits.

“You don’t want to fall behind in your skincare just because you’re not leaving the house,” Stefanie says. “Amping up your skincare at home during this time is going to help us at least stay on track.”

Stefanie recommends being vigilant about three particular steps in your skincare routine: exfoliation, hydration, and sun protection.

Exfoliation helps remove dead skin in order to unclog pores, help other products penetrate deeper, boost circulation and lymphatic drainage, and more. This step can be done in the morning or evening and should be repeated a few times a week. For a gentle product that still packs a punch, try Neocutis’ Neo Cleanse Exfoliating Skin Cleanser.

Hydration, which is a separate step from moisturizing, is key because the right product will actually encourage your skin to produce its own hydration. Be sure to use a hydrator that contains copper peptides, which acts as an antioxidant for your skin. Stefanie suggests Obagi’s new Elastiderm Facial Serum.

SPF is still crucial even if you’re just taking your dog out for a walk. Stefanie recommends Revision Intellishade, an SPF moisturizer tinted with natural minerals that melt into your skin to create an even tone. Plus, it has skin-firming peptides.

If you have some extra time on your hands, you can take your routine a step further with a face mask. Stefanie suggests using your skin type as a guide for frequency but said hydrating masks can generally be used more frequently than exfoliating ones. Some treatments, though, are better left to the professionals.

“I never recommend doing anything that is for ‘professional use only’ at home, even if you can track it down. I wouldn’t recommend any chemical peels or anything with strong active ingredients.”

Pro tip: Criswell & Criswell is offering virtual consultations if you’d like to learn more about these products, or any treatments they offer. Plus, they can even ship products to your house after the consultation.

Kenna Ehman, stylist and co-founder at Kenna Kunijo hair salon

If you’re missing out on your regular coloring appointments, Kenna warns not to reach for the drugstore box color. “Once a metallic dye is in your hair, it can be really hard to get out.”

It could also cost up to $800 to fix an at-home coloring gone wrong. Instead, Kenna Kunijo is offering curbside pickup for root touchup and toning kits so you can maintain your look from home, safely.

Photo via Kenna Kunijo

After sending the stylists some pictures of your hair, they’ll formulate a solution for you and you can do a contactless pickup of everything you need, including access to video tutorials to guide you through every step.

If the thought of skipping your monthly trim is making you look at your kitchen scissors differently, listen up:

“The service-based industry, the ones that are one-on-one and can’t take the business online, those businesses are really struggling. I would urge people to hold out and support their stylist,” Kenna says.

Now is a great time to experiment with different updos. Kenna Kunijo plans to release YouTube tutorials to help you play with your grown-out style, plus they already have one up about training your hair (now is the perfect time to do it). You can also use a moisturizing treatment to seal your ends while you wait for your next trim.

Jenny Gandhi, DMD at Pearl. Dentistry Reimagined

Since you can’t go in for your regular cleanings and whitenings, it’s extra important to take care of your teeth. Your best bet is to get a great electric toothbrush – the pros at Pearl. recommend the Sonicare brand.

“Simply put, the electric toothbrush cleans via thousands of tiny vibrations and can clean better than what we can do with a manual toothbrush over a 2 minute period,” says Dr. Jenny.

Pearl. Dentistry Reimagined. Photo by Laura Sumrak.

As for your routine, brushing both morning and night is important. This will also help you get your day started if you’re no longer heading to work. Dr. Jenny says flossing before bed is a must because “our salivary flow slows as we sleep, which allows bacteria to attack more so than during the day.”

She’s also a big believer in using a tongue cleaner/scraper in the morning and at night to clean your tongue. “There is a lot of bacteria present on our tongues that cause a bad odor.”

If your smile needs an extra oomph, opalescence toothpaste is Dr. Jenny’s top choice for whitening. Pearl. is even offering curbside pickup for it.

And one last thing: wear your nightguard. “A lot of people own a nightguard because they clench or grind their teeth at night.  Research shows that the amount of clenching/grinding increases as daily stress and anxiety increase so needless to say, this is the time when everyone needs to use their guards!”

Kiri Hahn, co-founder of The Daily Details

At this point, most of us have probably found a way to either peel or soak off our gel polish or dip nails. If you’re like me, you’ve been slowly chipping away at them ever since you heard the salons were closing.

Photo via The Daily Details

“Although it’s not the ‘break’ you likely intended from your beauty regimen, it is a great opportunity to give your nails a breather,” Kiri said.

She recommends two options for your new at-home nail routine:

  • Keep them au-natural with a weekly buffing and filing to stave off any breakage. A clear base or topcoat can also add a layer of protection and give you a hint of shine.
  • View this “break” at home as an opportunity to try out some fun color combinations. Start by finding nail inspiration to model after. Painting your own nails is never perfect, but it can make you feel more like yourself. Plus, it’s a great way to show off some at-home self-expression (that can easily be removed the next day if you go overboard).

“Regardless of what camp you fall in, with the continued practice of washing your hands non-stop throughout the day – it’s likely that your cuticles are getting dried out.”

To fix this, Kiri recommends rubbing in some coconut oil, olive oil, or even hair oil on your nails and cuticles before you go to bed.

Photo via Victoria Galvin

Victoria Galvin, lead massage therapist of Mood House (coming to Dilworth late summer/early fall 2020)

Working from home probably means you’re sitting way more than usual, which can take a toll on your body – especially since you can’t get a massage to work out all of the kinks.

One option is self-massage, which Victoria says is “an extremely beneficial act of self-care that we can incorporate daily.”

Self-massage is a simple, inexpensive way to take some time for yourself. “All you need is lotion or oil and your own hands! A hair tie for anyone with long hair, relaxing music, essential oils and a really comfortable place to sit would all take this act of self-care to the next level,” says Victoria.

Here’s a simple self-massage routine you can follow:

  • Start at the top of your neck with both hands and, starting with light pressure, glide both hands down to your upper trapezius. Repeat this motion a few times.
  • Next start with the right side to work on first, using the left hand, take your pointer and middle fingers and repeat the motion from the top of your neck down into your upper trapezius with an increase of pressure and a slower pace. If you find trigger points – “knots” – in your trapezius, hold those two fingers on that spot and breathe for 30 seconds.
  • Then move your fingers back and forth and side to side over the area for a minute. Take a minute to stretch the right side using your left hand: pull your left ear to your left shoulder.
Photo via Body Talk with Bee
  • Next, run your left open palm slowly down the right side of your neck, down to your upper trapezius and squeeze along your trap moving toward your shoulder.
  • Repeat these basic moves as much as needed or time allows and then move onto the left side. After your left side is complete, finish how you started with both hands moving down your neck using lighter pressure.

Brittany Skala, Meditation Guide & Energy Worker at Body Talk with Bee

If you’ve never meditated before, now is a great time to start. A meditation practice can help you find peace with stressful situations and it forces you to take a moment of stillness for yourself.

“Just as it’s important to care for our physical body through movement, stretching, etc., it’s important to care for our energetic body through energy work, meditation, breathing, and stillness,” says Brittany.

Here’s a simple, at-home meditation Brittany recommends:

  • Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit or lay down.
  • Close your eyes and begin to connect with your breath. Notice where you feel it in your body. Pay attention to where your breath travels- does it stay in your chest or does it move down into your stomach? There is no right or wrong, just notice.
  • Starting at the top of your head, begin to mentally scan through your entire body. Notice any areas that feel stiff or ache. Notice where you’re holding tension and where you feel totally relaxed. Do this till you’ve gone all the way down to the tips of your toes.
  • Take note of an area or two that you feel needed the most attention. What area hurts the most? What area feels the most tight? Keep that area in mind.
  • Now, imagine a beautiful light of gold is shining down from the sky, reaching all the way down towards the top of your head. This light travels through your body, reaching the area that you marked in your mind.
  • As you inhale, imagine this golden light surrounding this area of your body. When you exhale, imagine all the pain, negativity, inflammation, worry, fear, stress, etc. leaving your body through the bottom of your feet. Continue this as long as you like- inhaling as the light grows brighter and exhaling as the pain and tension leave you.
  • You may want to place your hands on this area of yourself, imagining that healing, golden light coming out of your hands and surrounding this area of yourself. Inhaling as the light grows brighter and exhaling as the pain and tension leave you.
  • Continue this for however long feels right for you. When you feel ready, bring your hands back to your sides, release the image of the golden light and notice how you feel.
  • Bring your attention back to your breath and open your eyes to finish.

If you’re looking for ways to support local experts like the ones featured in this story, consider pre-booking (and paying) for your next haircut, facial, massage, or whatever it is you can’t wait to get back to.

Need some more at-home self-care inspo? Check out Criswell & Criswell’s Instagram.

This content was created in partnership with Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery.


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