Self-care, quarantine edition

Self-care, quarantine edition


 have been trying very hard to keep these columns light, for the most part. No one needs to have the obvious pointed out to them. The isolation, the loneliness, the fear of the unknown — all you have to do is watch a news conference and the anxiety levels can rise to medication-induced proportions. So, again, I try to keep it light, probably more for my sake than for yours, but we will say it is for your sake.

As some of you know, I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to self-care. And when I say self-care, I don’t mean taking showers and keeping sanitary. I have been washing my hands like a crazy person long before it became fashionable to sing “Happy Birthday” twice before drying my hands with a paper towel. To me, washing my hands after coming back from the supermarket, or anywhere, was just common sense. So when I say self-care, I mean the whole beauty regimen thing. I am not a beauty, so who needs a regimen?

For years women have gone for manicures and pedicures. Full body waxing, electrolysis, laser hair removal. Massages, cryogenic dips — and then there was the maintenance for the hair just on their heads. Highlights, lowlights, semi-permanent color, permanent color, blow outs, keratin treatments — the list can go on and on. Salons were always filled with women who come in daily, weekly, hourly for all I know. And then there was me.

You see, I was raised in a house where the mother, who is the role model for the young impressionable daughter, never got manicures and pedicures because her mother never did. My mom would do her nails and toes herself. In fact, the only manicure I ever got was the night before my wedding. My mom got one too, and then she got an infection from the manicure, which fed into the whole reason why we never went for manicures in the first place. So that was the end of that.

And as for hair color, my mother took to using a comb that looked like it was a giant mascara wand and she would color her hair with that. Thinking about it, it probably got all over anything her hair touched, but if you weren’t paying attention to that, it looked pretty natural, for the most part. Once we experimented with color in a box, and even with following the directions, her hair turned a lovely shade of purple. Which you only really noticed if she was outside. Oh well.

When I started going gray, I was mildly traumatized. It is an obvious sign of aging, and no one needs to be smacked in the face with a “you are getting old” paddle. I started coloring it when my beautiful boys started making comments. They have enough things about me to comment on. I didn’t need my hair being added to the list.

I hated it. I don’t like other people touching me — Husband #1 and I were once asked to leave Lamaze class because it all just freaked me out. (Insert inappropriate comments here.) But getting my hair colored was a necessary evil. I was kind of excited about not having to get it done because of this whole quarantine situation, but then the roots started growing in. I tried spraying them with this “root touch up” product. But as the roots got longer and I started using the spray more, my hair had the consistency of a greasy brillo pad. So very gross.

A friend of mine had sent me a picture of one of her sons coloring her hair, so I went and ordered the product she used at You get to fill out this whole questionnaire and you can even send them a picture so they can match your color! Woohoo! and when you get it in the mail, everything has your name on it. “Banji’s Root Concealer.” “Banji’s Conditioner.” I felt very special.

And since Son #3 had volunteered to help me, he became my stylist. Poor kid. I was taking out all of my frustrations on him. But he really did a great job, considering that we had no idea what we were doing and now we know that my head fits into the kitchen sink. As for the hair color, it certainly looks better than it did before — but I am pretty sure that Son #3 has checked “colorist” off of his list of possible future professions.

Hope you are all staying healthy and maintaining your sanity. Tune in next week for quarantine math problems. It’s gonna be a doozy.

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