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Sheltering in place has us feeling like Cousin It (with visible roots), so we called in the experts. Local spa owners and hairstylists shared their best tips for at-home haircuts, color touch-ups and (yes) a natural way to lift and tone your face.

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best virtual spa treatments chicago touch up
Mario Tricoci

TOUCH UP YOUR COLOR

Before you amass three dozen hats and scarves (and extra-wide headbands) to hide your roots, Nelida D’Alessandro, Creative Color Manager at Mario Tricoci, suggests trying a virtual color consultation with your salon (Mario Tricoci offers ones that can be scheduled here). Failing that, go for a semi-permanent dye, like Wella. These are typically user-friendly (applicator tip, no need to mix chemicals) and rinse out in a few shampoos, so the commitment is low. It also won’t damage your hair. Before you start, deep-clean your hair to remove buildup and apply a mask to highlights to avoid color transfer, then follow the directions on the box. For quick root touch-ups, D’Alessandro recommends Color Wow Root Cover Up.

CUT YOUR OWN HAIR

Yes, you can cut your own hair (if you absolutely must). John Gialluisi, Creative Director at Mario Tricoci, says you’ll need cutting or sewing shears, good lighting and a mirror that helps you see the front and back of your head. For mid-length hair, start in the back, combing hair down and grabbing it in three-inch sections between your fingers. Bring sections slightly forward to trim, cutting horizontally at a low elevation. For the sides, hold three-inch sections of hair between your middle and index fingers (keeping your palms down) and trim. Work around the head, layer to layer. Finally, for the front, brush all your hair forward, and turn your head in one direction. Hold hair between your middle and index fingers and trim ends. Repeat on the other side.

best virtual spa treatments chicago go natural
Pexels

GO NATURAL

If you’re going natural, make “moisturize and protect” your mantra. According to Michelle Dixon, Stylist at Maxine Salon, that means stocking up on products that are oil-based: jojoba, olive, avocado, coconut and grapeseed oils are your friends. Shampoo your hair once every one to two weeks, since over-washing will trigger it to dry out and break or go frizzy. Detangle with a wide-tooth comb and then apply a deep-conditioning treatment. Use a curl cream followed by an oil to lock in moisture, give curls more bounce and make them last longer. At night, push all your curls up into a high ponytail and wrap in a silk or satin scarf to protect them. When it comes to styling options, YouTube has tons of video tutorials on everything from rod and roller sets to bantu knots and simple “wash and go” treatments.

best virtual spa treatments chicago lena rose
Danielle Heinson Photography

SOAK YOUR FEET

Sandal season is upon us, and pedicures are still a no-go. Time to soak your feet. Jenny Duranski of green beauty spa Lena Rose Day Spa recommends grabbing a bowl big enough to fit both of your feet. Fill it with half a cup of epsom or Kosher salt to reduce swelling, rosemary or clove for aromatherapy and antiviral benefits, and one cup of the milk of your choice—the lactic acid naturally exfoliates dry skin. Our pro tip: After soaking, slough skin off your heels and the balls of your feet with a pumice stone.

MIX UP A MASK

You’re already cooking from the pantry, why not make a mask from the pantry? Duranski, of Lena Rose, recommends whipping together honey and a little bit of cinnamon, then slathering it on your face and letting it sit there for 20 minutes. Honey is healing and antibacterial, and cinnamon stimulates blood flow, she says, so you’ll get a rosy and refreshed glow—just in time for your Zoom conference. If you’re pressed for time, Duranski’s new house line offers green beauty products, no mixing required.

best virtual spa treatments chicago brows
Exhale

GROOM YOUR BROWS

To be honest, eyebrow-grooming sort of terrifies us. Enter Rachael Gallo, Director of Spa Operations at Exhale. She suggests mapping out your arch with an eye pencil. Hold the base of the pencil at the outer corner of your nostril and point it straight up. Mark where it meets your brow; this is where your brow should begin. Now, keep the base steady and tilt the pencil out so it lines up with your iris—mark this point as where your arch should fall. Finally, tilt the pencil further to line up with the outer corner of your eye: This points to where your brow should end.

Wet a brow brush and brush the hair all in one direction to better reveal stray hairs. Keep the points you mapped in mind as you tweeze, going slow to avoid overdoing it. To minimize pain, hold the skin taught and tweeze in the direction of hair growth. When done, apply a calming lotion, like aloe, and exhale a sigh of relief.

best virtual spa treatments chicago lume wellness
Heather Talbert

MAKE YOUR BATHROOM A SPA

Part of the whole spa experience is, well, the spa experience. To create it at home, Meredith Fritze, General Manager of Lume Wellness, suggests the usual things like setting the lights down and lighting a candle with a warm or clean scent to signal to your mind that it’s time to chill. Better yet, place a eucalyptus plant (usually available at Trader Joe’s, or you could even order one from Amazon) in your bathroom for a natural air freshener and touch of greenery. All that’s left is to turn on some mellow tunes (like this Lume-created Spotify playlist) before you sink into the tub.

hands
REMIX

GIVE YOURSELF ACUPRESSURE

Even if you’ve never tried acupressure, Giselle Wasfie, Doctor of Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine at REMIX Acupuncture + Integrative Health, says now is a good time to start. To assuage stress and anxiety, she suggests focusing on the point between your eyebrows, just a little above the brown line. This point is known as a site of tension (hence your perpetually furrowed brow). Lie somewhere comfortable and massage it in a clockwise motion to start, then try pulling in an upward motion. For easier movement and a bit of aromatherapy, apply an essential oil, like lavender, mixed with some coconut oil (since pure essential oils can irritate sensitive skin).

best virtual spa treatments chicago town and anchor
Helen Koker

LIFT AND TONE YOUR FACE

A DIY face lift?! Sorta. Town & Anchor’s Parisa Morris suggests using a jade roller or gua sha stone to roll on your face, gently pushing your skin upwards at a 45-degree angle. Not only will it stimulate collagen production, it helps better absorb your skincare products and promotes lymphatic drainage for a smoother-looking complexion.

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