How a Year in Isolation Changed My Beauty Routine

How a Year in Isolation Changed My Beauty Routine

Along with the word “unprecedented,” the phrase “new normal” is probably one that you’ve heard flying around, or used yourself to describe the current state of things. It seems to be the best way to sum up the last 15 months of our lives. Things are vastly different from what we’re used to, and they won’t start to resemble anything close to our pre-pandemic lives for a long, long time. I’m fine with never going back to what was considered normal, as there were so many broken aspects of our society that we averted our gazes from, choosing to survive as best as possible instead of challenging the status quo.

The way that we care for ourselves is one of the many aspects of our lives that has evolved since the pandemic began. If you’ve noticed recently, there’s been a lot more emphasis on self-care in the beauty sphere, emphasizing the need to practice it intentionally and with great care. A new trend has been born out of this evolution already—skinimalism. A year spent cooped up indoors coupled with a few other factors has birthed a new dedication to caring for skin so that it doesn’t need to be covered up by makeup. Even though I’ve been a beauty buff for years now with a solid Rolodex of effective techniques and holy grail products, the pandemic has changed the way that I approach my skincare and beauty routines in general. Here are some of the most notable.

Even though I’ve been a beauty buff for years now, the pandemic has changed the way that I approach my skincare and beauty routines.



Nothing forces you to take an honest look at the state of your skin like a few months without makeup. When you begin to get more comfortable with the sight of a bare face staring back at you 24/7, you might be more inclined to dedicate more effort to sort out any skin issues.

I had a stubborn acne scar that had taken up residence on my left cheek for the better part of six months, but never really focused on clearing it up because I could always camouflage it with super coverage concealer. Constantly staring at myself in the gallery of faces during many, many Zoom calls and noticing the little flaws that marked my face pushed me to demand more of my skincare products. I also began to pay a lot more attention to the minute changes in texture, clarity, and hydration.

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Skincare as Self-care

I’ve always been pretty good at researching products before I purchase and using them responsibly, but something about all the extra time and my need for an outlet has transformed my daily routines into a more relaxing experience. A 45-minute sheet mask session feels less like an additional chore at the end of a busy day and more like a chance to reflect and unwind before bed.

sheet mask in shower


Easing into Exfoliants

After years of trying to introduce chemical exfoliants into my routine without much success, I’d all but given up. While everyone was making sourdough, shaving their heads, or painting accent walls, I focused on the goal of using chemical exfoliants successfully, introducing alpha hydroxy acids through a painstakingly slow process that spanned weeks. The outcome is that my face can now handle two times weekly applications of my favorite overnight peel, my skin looks amazing, and I’m more confident in my ability to take care of my skin.



Elaborate eye makeup quickly caught on during the pandemic for an obvious reason: Because we were all mandated to wear masks, only the upper half of our faces were visible to others. Lipstick lovers quickly became eye shadow artists, and fans of the natural look embraced color. Eyeshadow is one of my favorite aspects of makeup, so I have a pretty decent collection of palettes and pencils. Towards the end of the last lockdown, I started to experiment with gemstones, stamps, and bright pops of color. It’s a pleasant way to express my creativity and makes the transformative power of makeup even more fun.

pandemic changed my beauty routine


The Art of Transformation

A lot of people who wouldn’t have been caught dead without a full beat pre-pandemic have embraced the barefaced look and don’t see themselves ever going back. I’m the total opposite. I still hunt for the perfect shade of peachy blush for an Igari-style look and adhesive rhinestones to elevate even the most casual outfit. I appreciate the radiant glow and bouncy texture of my moisturized, healthy skin, but I also sigh over a buttery bronzer and metallic cream shadows. I haven’t abandoned one thing for the other, just learned to slow down and take in every step.


Taking the Plunge

For a long time, I wanted to loc my hair, but FOMO always prevented me from following through. What if I got bored of having my hair in one style? How would I know how to take care of my hair properly in this new style? In the first week of the pandemic, I said, “Why not now?” because it seemed to me that there was no better time to experiment than during an anxiety-triggering global crisis. Not only would I be accomplishing something I had wanted for a while, but it would serve as a project to distract me while we waited to see how things would play out. Almost a year and a half later, I’m immensely pleased with my loc journey and can’t wait to learn even more about my hair in this new form.

What are some of the ways your beauty routine has changed since the pandemic began? Are you really into sheet masks now? Have you learned to give yourself salon-quality manicures at home? I’m excited to learn how your beauty journey has changed.


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