Stylists fret about coronavirus causing personal grooming crisis
Caution and advice from stylists as people in lockdown experiment with their locks and looks
PARIS : It is not pretty but it is true. The latest victim of the coronavirus has been personal grooming.
With hairdressers, nail bars and beauty therapists shuttered by lockdowns, many people around the world are in danger of letting themselves go.
That is the fear of stylists and colourists worried about having to salvage something from the havoc wreaked on eyebrows and hair by DIY plucking, waxing, dyeing and cutting.
"Don't touch your eyebrows above all," pleaded Mr Olivier Echaudemaison, creative director of the French cosmetics brand Guerlain. "Let them grow - leave a virgin forest."
But feel free to experiment with make-up, said Mr Echaudemaison, because "if it doesn't work you just take a tissue and you start again".
"Anything with hair is a lot more risky," he warned.
British make-up guru Sali Hughes, whose Beauty Banks charity has been giving donated cosmetics and toiletries to hard-pressed health staff since the pandemic started, also cautioned about some of the wackier homemade beauty tips circulating on social media.
"Professionals are also genuinely worried... and tell me they're bracing themselves for a plethora of complex colour correction appointments when they finally reopen," she said.
So be careful of tackling those greying roots with a beetroot recipe picked up on Facebook.
Demand for some brands of hair colour shot up six times in Britain after the first week of the lockdown there.
On the other hand, English television presenter Stacey Solomon has told her three million Instagram followers that she was letting nature run free during the confinement and putting her razor away.
Let it grow, moustaches and all, declared the woman who had previously joked how her children love to stroke her "beard" and "facial fur".
Social media, however, is full of horror stories of people posting their failed attempts at cutting and colouring their hair.
French stylist Thomas Girard has been giving up to six free online courses a day to deal with this aesthetic emergency.
His advice is stop immediately if you make a mistake.
"The biggest error is thinking that you can fix your mistake by keeping cutting," he said.
As for roots, he advises just letting them go grey.
It could be seen as being body positive, he argued.
The lockdowns may have a lasting effect on the beauty industry, particularly in Asia where wearing masks during flu and cold outbreaks is common.
Cosmetic sales have plummeted by up to 70 per cent in South Korea with some women rejoicing in not having to bother about wearing lipstick.
But as wearing masks becomes a global phenomenon as more and more experts recommend it as a way of slowing the spread of the virus, some are taking them as a beauty challenge.
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One Egyptian meme has gone viral, showing a woman blending her face mask in with the rest of her makeup and crowning it all with drawn-on red lips.
Indeed, many are looking for inspiration to the Middle East, where women have centuries of experience making the best of themselves behind Islamic face coverings.
Iraqi make-up artist Fatima Aldewan even put up her Instagram tutorial on "coronavirus looks" despite criticism.
Nor did the criticism deter Jordanian designer Samia Alzakleh who has created masks encrusted with rhinestones.
But if you really want to look good in a mask, it is all about the eyes, said Mr Echaudemaison.
"There is no longer a mouth so we concentrate on the eyes", and women suddenly "take on a Middle Eastern allure".
His top tip is to go for the doe-eyed look, which he described as chic and sensual.
"Women are afraid of eyeliner," he said. "Yet it is a fantastic thing."
And his word of advice is to start "on the outside and work your way in". - AFP