As the United States slowly emerges from pandemic-induced hibernation, you may be concerned about your appearance. After all, many people have lived in PJ pants and gone without their usual beauty routines for days on end.
While it’s fine to continue snuggling up in sweatpants or tossing your hair up in a messy bun instead of breaking out the hair dryer, here are some ways to treat yourself if you’re looking to get your usual hair-and-grooming groove back.
Whether it’s a tried-and-true skin care regimen, how often you wash your hair, or the cosmetics you’re curious about, beauty is personal.
That’s why we rely on a diverse group of writers, educators, and other experts to share their tips on everything from the way product application varies to the best sheet mask for your individual needs.
We only recommend something we genuinely love, so if you see a shop link to a specific product or brand, know that it’s been thoroughly researched by our team.
Emsculpt NEO is the first FDA-cleared non-invasive procedure that builds and tones muscles while burning fat, combining radio frequency heating and focused electromagnetic waves into one therapy.
Mild electrical currents are transmitted through a paddle to the body part you’d like to focus on: abs, glutes, calves, or upper arms. Emsculpt says the sensation is comparable to a hot stone massage.
Emsculpt recommends a series of four treatments spaced about a week apart for prolonged results. The company also suggests that you don’t work out the muscles you’re focusing on during your treatment to avoid over stimulation.
There are currently about 600 clinics around the United States that offer Emsculpt NEO. Celebrities, like Megan Fox and Drew Barrymore, are supposedly fans.
If you’re working out your abs, don’t eat right before your treatment. And if you choose to focus on areas where muscles are weaker, the feeling will be more intense.
They look just like tanning beds, but the thousands of high-intensity red, blue, and infrared LED lights in these high-tech infrared light beds stimulate white blood cells and increase collagen production, helping your skin heal itself.
At Next Health, you can choose between seven different frequencies. The 292 hertz frequency is recommended, as this is what resonates with your outermost tissue to assist with wound healing and skin repair.
Many professional facials offer an LED light therapy step, but an infrared light bed takes it to the next level, surrounding your entire body with pinpoints of light.
You’ll get into the sanitized bed nude (or with undergarments on if that makes you feel more comfortable) and close the lid. Then, you can simply lay back, and relax for the 30-minute session.
The lights in the bed are very bright, so eye coverings are mandatory.
If you can’t find an infrared light bed near you, there are also handheld LED devices you can purchase to use at home, like the Repêchage LED Radio Frequency and EMS Skin Tightening Machine.
Dermatologists generally encourage clients to avoid laser treatments during the summer months. Treatments, like IPL (intense pulsed light), BBL (broad band light), Clear + Brilliant, and MicroLaserPeel, usually require downtime and make the skin more sensitive to the sun, which is harder to avoid during summer.
However, LaserGenesis works differently.
It’s a high-powered laser that doesn’t affect the epidermis. So it seems like a gentler laser, but you still get great results.
This micro-pulsed laser treats the appearance of pores, skin texture, fine lines, wrinkles, and redness.
“LaserGenesis is great for skin health,” says Dr. Tahl Humes, the medical director at VITAHL Chicago. “It can be used to treat all skin types… including [those who have darker] skin.”
With LaserGenesis, the only post-treatment effect is a light pink glow that fades within a couple of hours, whereas with Clear + Brilliant, patients may experience redness, swelling, discomfort, and itching for a few days.
“Pretty much everybody can do a LaserGenesis, and it’s a super safe treatment,” Humes says.
This versatile conditioning treatment is just what your hair needs before hitting the beach.
“Summer is so rough on hair for many reasons,” says Cassandra McGlaughlin, the director of education at Common Beauty. “The issues I see more frequently are excessive dryness, frizz, breakage, and discoloration. Sun, saltwater, chlorine, and more frequent washing are common factors that wreak havoc on hair health.”
Crystal Cashmere works on all hair textures to restore a supple texture and healthy natural shine. Finer hair types can just use the lightweight crystal serum, while medium to coarse hair types should layer on cashmere fusion as a second application to seal the cuticle.
“If the client has mild damage and is in need of hydration, I use the Crystal Serum. If they need some strength, I use the Cashmere Fusion, too,” McGlaughlin says.
She recommends clients receive an in-salon full reconstructive protocol, available at salons across the country, and follow it up with weekly treatments at home for longer-lasting benefits.
Also known as a lash perm, lash lifts are a natural looking, lower maintenance and less expensive alternative to eyelash extensions.
Curling rods, glue, and a lifting solution are applied to your natural lashes to give them a permanent curl. Different-sized rods can create a subtle sweep or more dramatic angle, depending on your preference.
It’s a quick and painless process with results lasting approximately 6 weeks, depending on your natural lash cycle.
You need to be careful during the first 24 hours after the treatment to not get your lashes wet, so the curl sets properly. After 24 hours, you can apply mascara as usual — although you may not even need it, and you certainly won’t need an eyelash curler anymore.
If you have lighter eyelashes, you can combine a lift with a lash tint to darken your lashes, too.
“Lash lifts are especially popular during summer for people who don’t want to wear mascara,” says Keri Chandler, an aesthetician at Good Fortune Soap in Chattanooga, TN.
You’ll want to find an experienced aesthetician, like Chandler, who has the patience to meticulously separate each lash on the rod to ensure an even curl and avoid any wonky spider leg lashes.
Also be aware of potential side effects, like rash, redness, and inflammation.
For your next manicure and pedicure, request a waterless service for a more hygienic and longer-lasting polish.
“Water is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria that can remain in the bowl — even after the water is drained,” says Rachel Apfel Glass, the founder of Glosslab.
A waterless manicure includes the same steps as any other manicure, just without soaking your fingers. Whether you’re using gel or regular polish, waterless manicures and pedicures last longer, too.
“The natural nail plate is like a sponge, one that takes over an hour to dry fully,” says Julie Kandalec, the founder of Julie K Nail Artelier in New York City. “Why would you polish a nail with moisture in it? The nail then contracts later, but the polish doesn’t, so chips are much more likely to happen sooner.”
At some nail salons, like Julie K Nail Artelier and Glosslab, all services are waterless.
“I’ve done waterless manicures for over 15 years,” Kandalec says. “It’s faster, more eco-friendly, and more mobile. The polish lasts longer, and it’s also better for the natural nail to prevent splitting and peeling.”
Summer is fast approaching.
After such a long time of sweatpants and messy buns, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to these extra-special beauty treatments.
After the last two years, you deserve it.
Amber Gibson is a freelance journalist specializing in luxury travel, food, wine, and wellness. Her work appears in Condé Nast Traveler, Robb Report, Departures, Bon Appétit, and Travel + Leisure.