For some, looking in the mirror has become increasingly disappointing these days.
Many of the businesses New Yorkers rely on to stay groomed remain closed more than three months after the pandemic caused the city to lock down.
It has been a tough time for business owners, but some on Staten Island have gotten creative as they try to stay afloat and keep their customers groomed.
Esthetician Dominique Malandro told us business was booming at her salon before the virus hit.
“I’d take anywhere from seven to nine clients a day,” said Malandro who has owned Facials by Dominique since 2015. "March 16 was my last day, and I work six days a week so that’s a lot of clients.”
Malandro said she quickly came up with a plan b. She started creating at-home facial kits, which include face masks and cleansers. She then shared them on Instagram and has since sold more than 100.
"I had clients who needed to come monthly to keep their skin on track so I didn’t want to leave anyone hanging,” Malandro said.
Many barbershops and hair salons have reopened as part of Phase Two. But according to the state’s reopening guidelines, personal care businesses that require customers to remove face coverings will have to wait until Phase Three, which is set to begin Monday, July 6.
Malandro said the last few months have been tough on her and those in the same line of work.
“I know a lot of beauty professionals that have to pay mortgages and rent. Thankfully I live at home and don’t have that stress on my shoulders but it’s still stress of not working, not being busy. I have no income at all,” Malandro said.
Charlene Arroyo, who started the Port Richmond business Keep it Current Facials about a year ago, told us she's having a different experience.
“I’ve had many breakdowns where I’m like I’m going to lose my business,” Arroyo said.
During the lockdown she has used her Instagram following to get the word out about her at-home facial packages, which are customized to suit different skin types.
But she is worried that even when she can reopen, her business will not come back immediately because many of her clients no longer have the disposable income they had prior to the pandemic.
“Everyone is out of work for the most part,” Arroyo said. "I felt like people might not have the means that they used to and might cut out facials."
With weddings, graduations, proms and other large gatherings canceled or postponed, makeup artists are also feeling the pressure.
Catherine Mignano, a 22-year-old freelance artist, said before the pandemic she did makeup for brides and worked on films.
It’s anyone’s guess when that work will return.
“With this industry if you stop working for a minute everything stops,” Mignano said. It is an industry where you constantly have to keep hustling in order to get where you want to go."
Mignano said she’s been making money by selling an eyebrow serum she created.
“I came up with this concoction. I did some research to see what’s the best oil to stimulate hair growth. I found vitamin E, castor oil, lavender and tea tree and I was like let’s test it out!” Mignano said.
She said she sold out of her first batch of 24 just two days after she started selling it on Instagram.
Mignano feels the response to her growth kits will keep her name on the minds of those who are looking to book makeup artists when New York City starts to make its way back to normal.
“I kind of branded this. I feel like now people hear about it and they know it’s from me. They might see my name and be like ‘oh that’s the girl with the eyebrow stuff,” Mignano said.