Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Woman Needs Quarantine Grooming Tips

DEAR HARRIETTE: Working from home for all these weeks makes me realize how reliant I had become on service providers like hairdressers and nail technicians. I know that sounds unimportant, given the circumstances, but in my work, I am on Zoom calls every day, all day long. My co-workers can see me, and I am looking a little rough around the edges. I don’t really know how to do my hair. And my nails are busted. I tried to redo them, but I have acrylics, and they kind of crumbled. I am what my kids would call a “hot mess.” How can I get it together when I really don’t have the grooming skills that I need? -- Unkempt

DEAR UNKEMPT: You stand with thousands of other women and men who have come to rely on outside services to keep their appearances in check. For many men, that weekly barbershop appointment has been on hold for months. Same for people who have standing hair or nail appointments. Clearly, you have to pivot to self-care.

Let the internet be your guide. Use these simple instructional words to search for nail removal tips: removing acrylic nails at home safely. The most important word there is “safely.” Be patient. If you rush with the nail removal, you can damage your weakened nails. The directions typically say to soak your nails in acetone polish remover for 20 to 30 minutes. Add another 30 if the coating is hard to remove.

For your hair, it all depends on the texture, length and style of your hair. If you can pull it back in a bun or ponytail, you have an easy solution. If you need chemicals to soften your hair or color to dye it, you may want to order those products if you think you can carefully follow the directions. Look online for instructions for doing hair with your texture. You may also want to call your hairstylist. Some salons are offering tutorials for their customers.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My family has planned a vacation for this summer, and we have all been looking forward to it. We rented a house in the Dominican Republic, and about a dozen of us are planning to travel to be together. Now I’m not so sure we are going to be able to go. Who knows when the travel ban will be lifted? But even if it is OK to travel by June, I’m not sure if we will feel safe enough to board planes and travel internationally right after being quarantined at home for so long. What do you think we should do? -- Family Vacation

DEAR FAMILY VACATION: Many people are canceling or postponing big trips because of the uncertainty of the future. As lovely as your trip sounds, it seems unlikely that you will be able to take a big group on this journey in June. Rather than waiting until the last minute, when the airlines are already in crisis mode, you may want to get your money back for now and schedule a trip for next year, when things have settled down more.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)