For those used to luxuriating in salons, now waxing, hair dye and facials have come home and online.
Over the last couple of weeks, some shoppers have been stocking up on more than just soap and pasta. For those who are able and healthy and who look at self-care like home improvement — necessary to maintaining both standards and self-regard — a different type of staple has become essential to get through the socially distanced days ahead.
Take, for example, Ariane Goldman, the founder of Hatch, a maternity label with boutiques in NoLIta and Los Angeles. This month she bought boxes of dark brown hair dye for the first time since she started coloring her hair some years ago.
“You’re wondering, literally: ‘When is toilet paper going to be available?’ ‘Is there going to be food for my children?’” she said. “Right up there, top of mind, was, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to run to CVS before the hair coloring runs out.’”
Although she plans to return to her favorite salon, she found dyeing her hair easy and effective.
“At least I can make myself look as normal as possible in my own eyes,” she said.
Ms. Goldman is scarcely alone, among the type of people who go to salons. Madison Reed, a company in San Francisco that specializes in hair color, said that last week it had more than six times the number of new online customers as the week before. Sales of Color Wow brush-on Root Cover Up increased 200 percent last week, according to the company; Leonor Greyl Soin Repigmentant, a conditioner that helps intensify hair color, had a 200 percent spike from one March weekend to the next.
Before salons closed, some colorists prepared and packaged their clients’ customized shades to use at home. Sharon Dorram, whose Upper East Side salon has been shut since March 17, put together what she calls a Color to Go kit, which includes disposable gloves and typewritten instructions.
“It’s just so they can have their roots touched up,” Ms. Dorram said. The sets proved so popular, at $125 plus shipping, that the salon ran out of bottles and the FedEx boxes to pack them in.
Rita Hazan sent some of her clients’ kits as well, complete with a mixing bowl to blend color with developer and video directions via email. Prices were the same as they would have been for a salon visit, ranging from $85 to $250 depending on the stylist who prepared the formula. Last week, the salon shipped more than 100 sets.
The facialist Joanna Vargas has a different way to treat her clients from a distance: On Saturday, she began offering Skype consultations for up to one hour with aestheticians from her two salons.
She has also posted free tutorial videos on Instagram, demonstrating a range of techniques, including basics like face washing, with her 7-year-old daughter as the model. Sales of her at-home products, like face masks, are up, she said. Some nail salons are offering free instructional videos as well. Olive & June, the chain of upscale nail salons in Los Angeles, just introduced what it’s calling Mani Bootcamp, a three-week series of daily tutorials on Instagram Live.
Last week the salon posted daily videos on that platform too, with chatty advice from the founder, Sarah Gibson Tuttle, that were addictive to watch.
Paintbox, which has two Manhattan salons, has been using Instagram to share instructions on how to remove a gel manicure, a clunky process that requires patience, tin foil and dexterity. Vanity Projects has also posted pointers on Instagram. And Tenoverten is posting content along those lines too, including an upcoming video with tips on giving oneself a pedicure, another daunting task for many salon devotees.
The need to remove long-lasting nail treatments is more than just aesthetic. Wearers of some types of nail extensions can sometimes expose themselves to a health risk.
“If they see a cracking or something on the sides of the nail, if the nail’s deteriorating, you could get water trapped in there and get a fungus,” said Rita Pinto, the owner of Vanity Projects, which closed its salons in Manhattan and Miami last week. The easiest way to tackle the problem is to simply cut off the extensions and wait things out until salons reopen.
Hair removal is another task that people are braving at home. Flamingo, a depilatory brand that is sold online and at Target, has seen a rise in sales of its face-waxing kits. Parissa, which specializes in natural wax, sold nearly twice as many brow-waxing kits last week as the week before. Its website includes detailed videos, also posted on YouTube, to guide waxers through the process.
The mood-enhancing boost of using at-home products like these can be more than just aesthetic. “These are very uncharted times,” said Larissa Jensen, a beauty industry adviser at the NPD Group, the market research group. “There’s a lot of nervousness and anxiety happening out there. Anything that we can control and feel better about, this is really where beauty shines.”
“I might not be seeing lots of people, but I’m looking at myself in the mirror,” Ms. Goldman said. “That’s enough for me to say that I want to at least look presentable and feel my best.”