Why I’m Still Styling My Hair During the Stay at Home Orders

Even as some U.S. states began to open up post-COVID-19 lockdown, I’m not so sure about jumping back into life as usual. As infections continue to spike in some areas and demonstrations against the state-sanctioned brutality of Black and brown people threatens to undo some of the work we’ve done to curb the spread of this terrible pestilence, there seems to be no reprieve from our upended world. Medical experts are even warning that we might experience a second wave of this in the fall. It feels as if nothing will ever be normal again.This rings especially true if you’re living in the epicenter of the virus: New York City. The summer I envisioned full of boat rides and brunch hopping has essentially been canceled. Sure, more things may open up in the summer months, but whether I and the rest of the community will even want to participate in such revelries is a different story. COVID-19 has filled us all with tremendous loss. The loss of comfortability, of lofty plans, and for me, the loss of a family member. My daily routine is all off. My springy floral-print dresses remain hung up in my closet — I don’t really have anywhere to wear them. I stay in loungewear or athleisure all day, unheard of for me. Picnics in the park have to be done with gloves, masks, and copious amounts of hand sanitizer. It’s a lot. Too much, even.Courtesy Jihan ForbesSo, in a nightmarishly topsy-turvy world, I have to cling to the few things that make me feel normal. One of those things? Actually doing my hair. When I started staying in around early March, getting my hair done was the least of my worries. A lot of Black women expressed concerns online and in my personal correspondences about having to care for their natural hair themselves as salons temporarily closed. I didn’t have such worries, as I typically do my own hair. I have a weekly wash day routine, and while it may not be as involved for me as it is for others, it definitely takes up a larger chunk of time than I would prefer.My hair-care and styling habits have not changed — and that’s on purpose. I didn’t tuck my hair into a protective style once it was announced that we would be working from home for the foreseeable future. I knew I would have to wash and condition my hair weekly as usual, but given that there wasn’t really anywhere to go, I realized that I probably didn’t need to actually style my hair. No one was going to see me save for on Zoom calls, and I could easily wrap up my hair in a turban if it was a mess.

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