Hair and nails image

We Scarsdalians put a lot of stock in our appearance, as evidenced by the numerous stylists, barbershops and nail salons around town. It’s no surprise, then, that our banishment from these good-grooming meccas has caused palpable distress. What’s a crowd accustomed to weekly blowouts, expert fades and glistening mani-pedis to do in a time of quarantine?

Some among us have resorted to making surreptitious calls to our favorite beauty pros, begging for an at-home visit.

“I’ve had clients who are asking me respectfully, and I am respectfully declining, although it’s so tempting,” said Julie M. Lambert, a popular freelance stylist who lives in Edgewood.

Other Scarsdale residents are taking matters into their own hands —literally. Take Lisa Eisenstein, who lives on the Mamaroneck strip: she’s begun dying her own hair. “I use a product called Madison Reed, and it’s fantastic,” she shared. “The product isn’t hard at all to use — it’s easier than making an appointment at a salon. You leave it in for the length of time it takes to watch an episode of something on your iPad.”

Eisenstein is far from alone: the Q has turned many of us into amateur colorists, stylists and nail techs. Before you pick up the shears or break out a bottle of polish, though, you may want to take a few pointers from the experts.

If women got a haircut shortly before the quarantine began, they probably haven’t needed another up till now. “A good cut should last two to three months,” Lambert said.

And there are ways to fight split ends and frizz at home: “I always tell clients to do hair masks,” she said. Lambert recommends going to Sephora.com and shopping around for one that suits your needs — she’s especially a fan of the Ouai Treatment Masque. Also, “Whatever conditioner you’re using, you could just take a shower at night and put your conditioner all over [your hair]. Wrap it up with a tight little bun and just sleep in it,” she said. “You could also do it in the house while you are hanging out.”

And what if you’re starting to look shaggy? “I recommend that people do not cut their own hair,” Lambert cautioned. “If they have to, they can always call their hairstylist and ask for some tips, but I really suggest waiting — it just never has turned out that well.” If you’re still determined to give yourself a new hairdo and your stylist isn’t reachable, there are YouTube tutorials that you can follow, Lambert said.

It’s admittedly harder for men to go without haircuts for many weeks, she added. “I would suggest getting little beard trimmers and just going around the ears a little bit and touch up his neck,” she said.

As for hair color, Lambert, like Eisenstein, is a fan of Madison Reed. Also, “some colorists are mixing up their formulas for their clients and bottling them up and making kits,” she explained. Another option is to use a root concealer spray, such as the one made by Rita Hazan.

“You pick your color and you blow your hair dry, and you put it on the area that you see is gray,” Lambert said. “Don’t spray it too close; spray an inch and a half away, then kind of rub it in a little bit and pick up the roots so it doesn’t go flat.”

Lambert also recommends getting your hands on some dry shampoo. “It’s everyone’s best friend, because it gets you through a few days,” she said. “You can use it as a texture spray and also if you don’t feel like washing your hair every day or every other day, it absorbs the oil and makes your blowout last longer.” If you’re in the mood for a beauty splurge, get the Dyson Airwrap Styler (about $550; available at Sephora.com). “If you can’t get a pro blowout, that’s the next best thing. You can curl your hair with it or you can blow it out straight,” Lambert said.

Besides hair, many of us are bemoaning the sorry state of our nails. “If you have any polish on, make sure you take it off,” advised Ann Marino, a freelance manicurist with clients in Scarsdale. “The longer it stays on, it dries and discolors the nail, and starts pitting it away, too, sometimes,” she warned. (Gel polish will likely require soaking to remove.)

Clip and file nails to make them all the same length, so they grow evenly, Marino recommended. And keep them relatively short, she added, “just so you can at least do things, because you can’t have a housekeeper right now, and people are cleaning closets and gardening.”

Linda Nguyen, manager of Hartsdale Nails, said there’s another pressing reason to keep nails short right now: “Germs can gather under them,” she pointed out.

Like the rest of our body, our nails need nourishment, Marino said. “Use vitamin E oil or a rich hand cream to hydrate your nails. Massage them in the nails and cuticles,” she advised. Nguyen also recommended using cuticle oil, if you have some, to keep your cuticles from cracking. In addition, she suggested using a nail hardener, such as those made by Nailtiques or Nail Tek, to keep your nails strong enough to stand up to all those home projects you’ve started in quarantine.

Last of all, give your nails a buff with a 3-way buffer. “They’ll look like they have a coat of clear polish on them,” said Marino, who has had to fend off customers looking for an at-home manicure. “I tell them I’m laying low, and I say, ‘Let’s just wait it out.’ Where are we all going, anyway?”

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