By Reginald Allen II
Special to AFRO

Ladies, are your hair, skin, and nail beauty routines a need or a luxury? 

Taylor Shaw, an apprentice esthetician and freshman psychology major from Baltimore, believes customers can wait a while in order to support the cause at hand, slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

The Morgan State University freshman has witnessed people defy stay-at-home orders and quarantine criteria in order to make their money or to get hair, nail or skin treatments done. Concerned with the behavior of people in her community, both nationwide and on social media, Shaw has spoken out about potential illness or death during this pandemic.

Shaw said on March 25 she got news about the order that all non-essential workers should stop business until stated otherwise. (Courtesy Photo: iStockphoto/NNPA)

Whether or not to solicit beauty care services is a buzzing topic on social media that created a stir among women about their position on personal care. Do they feel it is a necessity or something that can wait?

Consider these exchanges seen on Twitter: “Not only is it unnecessary for you to ask professionals to do your hair, lashes, nails, etc. from home,” said Lex April 6, “it’s selfish and incredibly rude.”

“Stop being selfish and asking people to do your hair at home,” tweeted Morg on April 7. “We all have to wait. You’re not any more important than anybody else.”

“Listen, I’m taking this COVID-19 very serious,” said Maiyah on April 7, “but one thing about me is I don’t care what’s going on. I’ma get my hair done.”

Over the weekend, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had her hair styled despite a statewide stay-at-home order. Lightfoot’s defense, she’s the public face of the city, and the hair stylist wore a mask.

Shaw said on March 25 she got news about the order that all non-essential workers should stop business until stated otherwise. By March 30 the D.C./Maryland/Virginia region, known as the DMV, was shut down by both governors and the mayor. 

That means deep economic pain in addition to a major inconvenience. reported that 3.6 million people work in the U.S. beauty field and that industry contributes $325 billion to the annual American Gross Domestic Product . 

Shaw has been checking up on her clients and consulting them on routines to take care of themselves while isolated in their homes. “I have been home for three weeks and have not got my nails done,” she said. “So, the problem we must face is whether it is a want or a need. Money is our kryptonite.” 

According to Bloomberg News on April 6, cosmetic sales spiked during the shelter-in-place, economic shutdown as many customers resort to do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty care. “If you do it,” said Shaw, “Do it smart. Just because you have a mask, it does not stop the coronavirus from being on you. You can bring it in your home and in anybody else’s home.” 

The writer is a Morgan State University engineering major who is also interested in media literacy.