Looking Pretty in a Pandemic


By Tammy Davis


Part Eight of The Corona Chronicles
Part Seven here
Part Six here
Part Five here
Part Four here
Part Three here
Part Two here
Part One here


Week eight, and things have gotten ugly. Head to toe, we’re looking rough. From the dark roots of our hair to our dry, rough heels, we all look a little ragged.

Should manicures and pedicures count as essential business? You bet your pumice stone, they should.  Nobody wants to see grown-out acrylics and weeks-old gel on a woman’s nails. When we have a reason to wear something other than bedroom slippers and tennis shoes, and we want our toes to look cute. We need to book those appointments sooner rather than later.

Professional waxing and tanning make everybody’s body look better, but Corona put a stop to all that. We are a pasty, prickly lot right now. SC ladies hopped on I-20 West faster than you can say “deep, golden glow” when Georgia relaxed their restriction on salons. Women stampeded into strip-mall salons that they would never have visited before Corona. Desperate times bring desperate actions, particularly as bathing suit season draws nears.

I’ve never had a facial, much less any work done, so Corona hasn’t impacted my beauty regime, but my higher-maintenance friends are freaking out. Most fillers and treatments are not one-and-done procedures. Once you start it’s hard to stop, and these women don’t like it when the government takes their injections away. They need their fix, and they need it fast.

Some women are self-conscious about their skin.  Some want to make changes to their bodies.  We all have our areas of concern.  For me, it’s my hair.  I hated my hair long before Corona.  Eight weeks of not going to a salon has made a bad situation almost intolerable. I’ve worn a ponytail so many times lately that when I take the elastic out at night, my hair doesn’t even fall down. It stays in a permanent ponytail position. Thank goodness I did highlights and lowlights the last time I colored my hair.  That helped the grow out. It’s a different story for my friends with all-over color. The hard line on their head serves as a cruel reminder of how long we’ve been locked down and locked out of the salon chair. Those women can measure the days by the width of the landing strip on their scalps. It’s not a pretty sight, and it gets worse each day.

Savvy stylists have started making house calls. Social media shows families lined up in driveways waiting their turn for a trim. Women kneel on kitchen stools and dunk their heads in the kitchen sink so their girl can apply toner and glaze. Blow outs now happen at the breakfast room table. These speak easy salons do not provide the same level of service to which we’ve grown accustomed, and it shows.  We’ve all looked better.

Women want to look beautiful, but Corona has made that harder to do. We are trying to self-tan at home without too much streaking.  We’re keeping our nails short and natural. Luckily, there’s no shortage on nice razors, so we can be smooth enough. The Botox lounges will be back in business and busier than ever before too long.  All in all, we’re doing alright, but we can’t take it much longer. We can control our attitude and hearts to make sure our insides stay lovely, but we need a little help with the outside.  Nothing wrong with a little enhancement now and then.

We are learning a lot about the females in our life right now. Turns out our true colors aren’t always so true, and sometimes natural beauty is anything but.

It’s not easy being pretty in a pandemic. Manicures and pedicures, facials, and spray tans. Highlights, low lights, blow outs, and up dos. We like it all, and we are way past due. We long to sit in a salon for some self-indulgence. Until then, we’ll keep doing our best, trying to look pretty in a pandemic.



Tammy Davis is a southern writer living in Columbia, SC. For parts one-seven of The Corona Chronicles, visit tammydavisstories.com. She can neither confirm nor deny that she has driven across state lines or been involved in any unauthorized beauty practices during the last eight weeks.