Last year was nothing short of a bad post-apocalyptic film; the plot twists and jump scares came by the dozen. And the moment we let out a sigh of relief, a sequel was announced. While the doomed year brought along anxiety and fear, it also gave us time to rethink and hit the reset button on everything— with self-care becoming key amongst them. With the salons shuttered down, all our professional mani-pedis, weekly facials and the much needed monthly blow-dries suddenly disappeared from our lives. Necessity being the mother of invention, we were forced to look for alternatives, paving the way for the new rules of beauty.
Until 2020, ‘wake up and make-up’ was second nature to many. The multitude of products that served a daily purpose now sit untouched. When you’re rolling out of bed 10 minutes before login to attend meetings in pyjamas or emailing clients while chomping on breakfast, dolling up seems futile. And nobody’s got the time for that (except for the occasional Zoom session, of course).
Glamorous Instagram-esque makeup rarely makes its way into reality now. The no make-up look is no longer a convoluted 10-step-process. Instead, dressing up is more about picking your make-up moments and keeping them light.
Skin-malism To The Rescue
The first step to self-care? Slather on a face mask and call it a day, that’s it! With make-up taking a backseat, skincare called shotgun at the very start of the pandemic. Time spent battling traffic was now spent learning the ABC’s of skincare ingredients—this knowledge was no longer privy to experts. This resulted in overindulgence in peels and masks, and ‘skin-malism’ entered.
Integrative aesthetician and wellness expert at Isya Aesthetics, Dr Kiran Sethi, suggests you stick to three or four simple steps. “Multitask your skin-care products and their functions more intuitively. Use actives but not too many. Layer, but not with 10 products! If you need a moisturiser, use it. If not, don’t. It’s about minimalism with results and successfully avoiding any side effects,” she suggests.
A consultant dermatologist based in Mumbai, Dr Manasi Shirolikar, says, “People no longer have the time to do 10-step routines. Also, no one needs so many products. We saw side-effects such as over-exfoliation and dermatitis from trying too many actives and using products not suited for their skin type.” She recommends a CTP routine to be the best way forward—cleanse, tone/ treat (active-based toner or serum) and protect (moisturiser and sunscreen).
When In Doubt, DIY
The disconnection from external human contact made us jacks-of-all-trades (and possibly, masters of few). DIY treatments, self-haircuts, hair removal—oh, we did it all. And if we failed, myriad tutorials were around to help us through it. #FaceMaskFridays now include masks that comprise ingredients found in the kitchen cabinets. Body hair is officially normal— the pain of removal is not worth it for just lounging at home. And for the times we do need to, epilators, tweezers, and razors do a fuss-free job.
Wellness Begins At Home
Moving life indoors also meant going digital more than ever. Confined within four walls, the two-dimensional world was the only escape everyone had. Living rooms are now mini gyms, terraces are perfect for yoga, and virtual fitness sessions are the way of life. In fact, India saw the highest increase in downloads of fitness apps last year.
Mental wellness isn’t far behind. “Apps for meditation and mindfulness, such as Headspace, have been extremely helpful in these times where most people are struggling with fear and anxiety caused by the uncertainties,” says Stuti Ashok Gupta, mental health professional and Principal: Brand & Vision at Amrutam.
As the borders shut, our long-distance relationship with international brands went on a break. And thus began the hunt for homegrown alternatives that are designed for the Indian skin. From Ayurvedic skincare to cruelty-free make-up and active based products, there was a surge of local labels aiming to meet our every need. The new rule of thumb? Indian over international, unless absolutely necessary.