We often talk about beauty routines and makeup being the bright spot in these otherwise dark days of the pandemic. For some women (and men), it’s the only way to feel like they have some control in an uncontrollable situation. Putting on a face and doing one’s hair has become therapy, entertainment and skills training these days.
And our ESSENCE teammates have enjoyed their share of getting glammed up—even if it’s to be together apart.
Some staffers have upped the ante on their skin care, while others have played extensively with their palettes. And for the bold, quarantine has been the time for a dramatic change by way of big chops, texture transitions and fun hair colors.
For a few, paring it down from their usual elaborate looks has been their biggest transformation. And still, each woman is bringing that Black Girl Magic in her own special way.
Check out how some of ESSENCE’s empowered women are doing beauty during quarantine.
All photos courtesy of ESSENCE staff.
Joi-Marie McKenzie, Senior Entertainment Editor
"I tend to keep my blow-outs and sew-ins on a constant rotation. But due to COVID-19 that’s just not possible. Although I’ve been 100 percent natural for more than a decade, I hate doing my natural hair. It requires arm muscles and patience that I just don’t have. This quarantine, however, has given me renewed strength in taking care of my own strands. It’s also given me confidence to let my coils shine. Pray for my future twist-out, y’all!"
Brooklyn White, Girls United Editor
“I dyed my hair brown because I wanted a subtle change. Just a little something for me. I’ve also started realizing how much I love lashes and that olive oil is probably my favorite way to keep my scalp moisturized.”
Nandi Howard, Assistant Fashion Features Editor
"Quarantine has me trying all sorts of things with my makeup. I've never been a fan of eye shadow but, I gave the Fenty blue eye pencil a try and paired it with a dark blue mascara from Dior. I fell in love with this combo and can't wait to wear it out. One thing that I put on my face every day for an extra glow is the Glossier Future Dew Serum. My absolute fave."
Imani Nunez, Digital Graphic & Motion Designer
"In many ways I see my hair as my crown, and naturally I loved wearing it out—large and taking up space. During COVID-19 NYC lockdown, I am showing my hair love in other ways and taking the time to do more deep-conditioning twists."
Allison McGevna, Deputy Editor
"For the first few weeks of quarantine I wasn’t wearing any makeup at all. But in the past week, I decided I wanted to treat myself to a little bit of normalcy. So I put on my robe, go out my candles and music and did a full glam. Though I have really come to enjoy bare skin, I’ve also realized that my first love will always be a glam moment."
Ashley J. Hobbs, Digital Producer
"One of the reasons I cut all my hair off was curiosity, to do something that's not immediately reversible and live with the results. It meant I was going to have to get to a whole new level of self-love. Nothing to hide behind."
Miranda Johnson, Social Media Manager
"I’m a lash lover and now that we’re on a stay-at-home order, that leaves very little time to get dressed up or put on makeup. While I spent the first few weeks makeup free, I’ve started to get slightly dolled up for my grocery store runs to bring some normalcy back into my life. Quarantine can’t keep a lash lover down."
Kirsten West Savali, Executive Producer
"Short haircut growing out + physical distancing + a niece who leaves hair in your cabinets = this ponytail!"
Tanya Christian, News & Politics Editor
"During quarantine I decided to transition to heat-free styling. After years of regular straightening, I felt it was only right that I use this time to give my hair—and the hot tools—a much-needed break. Instead of pulling out the blow-dryer and flat iron after a wash, I now grab for my Aunt Jackie's Don't Shrink gel or Camille Rose's twisting butter. It's been fun experimenting with new looks. Plus, I know my tresses are happier and better for it."
Tiffany Ashitey, Executive Producer, Podcasts
"Three things essential to my basic beauty routine are a vitamin C serum to brighten, a charcoal mask to cleanse and a standout lip color to pop. Actually, make that four things: I stay with an eyebrow kit."
Shalwah Evans, Associate Beauty Editor
"If I do nothing else I put on a lip, every day, even under my mask. And I don't discriminate when it comes to colors or finishes. I'll try everything!"
Niani Patterson, Account Manager, Digital
"During this quarantine, athleisure and bonnets have been the main staples of my outfit every day. However, I’ve decided that I am going to make an effort to look presentable even if it's just to sit on the couch. Thank you, TGIN Twist and Define Cream for helping me achieve my goal of not wearing my bonnet all day."
Jordan Benston, Editorial Project Manager
"New hairdo, who dis?! Three hours well spent!"
Yesha Callahan, News & Politics Director
"My guilty beauty pleasure before coronavirus took over the world was getting my nails done by Miho Nails or Vanessa Cooper. But alas, that monthly treat is now gone. At first I settled on doing my own nails and tried to be an artiste, but now I’ve filed them shorter and reshaped them and just rock a plain clear hard gel coat. Thankfully, they’re still healthy and strong!"
Jasmine Grant, Associate Lifestyle & Relationships Editor
"During quarantine I’ve really been focusing on skin care and trying to address some long-standing hyperpigmentation issues I've been dealing with. For the days where I need to be on point for a video call, my Dior Forever foundation does the trick!"
Stephanie Hodges-Dunivan, Executive Producer, Video
"Before quarantine started I was always too afraid [to try] funky colors in my hair. But since the lockdown I’ve been experimenting with DIY colorful box braids and I LOVE THEM!"