SELF-SERVICE

All Done Up With Nowhere to Go

Editor in chief Michelle Lee opens our November issue with reflections on the act and the art of self-service.
Michelle lee sitting down and smiling at camera while wearing a white floral dress
Courtesy of subject

It's been a month since my last at-home pedicure and nearly a year since I set foot in a nail salon. Prepandemic, I would have cringed to be seen in public with what I'm witnessing now — the cracked remains of a pale-pink Paintbox polish barely hanging on. But I've been home. Outside of my family, the most that anyone has seen me has been from the rib cage up on a 13-by-16-inch screen. (I joke that my go-to quarantine workwear is a fashion "mullet": business on top, sweatpants on the bottom.)

So, I'm left wondering whether it matters if my toenails are painted prettily if no one sees them. If a bottle of OPI Big Apple Red falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound? It turns out the answer for me is yes.

Spending more time at home has made me think a lot about the beauty rituals I perform for the approval of others versus those I do for myself. For instance, I'm still devoted to doing hair masks two or three times a week, but I've dramatically simplified styling to a 15-second half-topknot. My skin-care routine, meanwhile, has remained a solid self-care practice. And I've discovered — happily! — that I love the act and art of putting on a full eye makeup look, even if there’s nowhere to go. Our lives may have changed during the pandemic, but that hasn’t diminished our love and enthusiasm for beauty.

At the same time, the way we shop and engage with beauty has certainly shifted. The fun, interactive, in-person part of beauty shopping — swatching, smearing, and spritzing in stores — has been put on hold indefinitely. So we set out on a mission while developing the November issue of the print magazine: How could we bring the experience of the beauty store into your home?

You'll notice this special edition issue of Allure looks different. We've broken down the magazine into sections: makeup, skin care, hair, and fragrance. And we partnered with the YouCam Makeup app to enable virtual try-ons for a lot of the looks, including in our beautiful cover story spotlighting rising star Kesewa Aboah and four other models, using products from some of our favorite Black-owned beauty brands. I hope you’ll find a lot of new tips and products to bring into your home.

As for me, I finally ended that monthlong hiatus and gave myself a much-needed pedicure. I can't say I have the skill of a professional just yet, but I’m getting better. Call it a toehold.  


Read more stories about at-home beauty:


Now watch YouTuber Shalom Blac share her 10-minute routine:

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