Looking fabulous and staying fresh while accomplishing our day as emergency medical services provider can be challenging. Our long shifts and unpredictable work environment can land us in some pretty unusual situations. Keeping your uniform appearance professional and your hair on point after crawling through a window or accident scene might demand attention to maintain. So, how can you seamlessly look and smell fabulous all day? Here are some tips and tricks from real EMS providers about what works for them.
Tip #1 Deodorant. Sure, no one should be leaving for the day without applying deodorant, however, there is a big difference between running a simple errand without deodorant and working an EMS shift. Deodorant is a must. Your partner, customers, and patients will appreciate you more without body odor. Further, the aluminum free natural deodorants tend to be less effective than the aluminum containing deodorants. Recommendation, when working a 24 hour rotation keep a deodorant stick in your station for use when needed, especially during the summer. Depending on your body chemistry and deodorant of choice, you may need to reapply it during your rotation.
Tip # 2 Eye Shadow Primer. Using eye shadow primer before applying your eye shadow will keep your eye makeup in place much longer. Also, the primer prevents your eye shadow from seeping into your eyes. There’s nothing fun about red irritated eyes while interacting with patients and customers. Recommendation, if you’re working long shifts and wearing eye make-up try eye shadow primer. My personal favorite is Urban Decay eye shadow primer. Primer is essential for hot days and for wearing eye make-up for long durations.
Tip # 3 Gel nail polish. Opting for gel nail polish over regular nail polish means your polish will generally last longer. In addition, short nails will bode better than longer nails on the job. Recommendation, for longer lasting nail polish use gel based nail polish on shorter nails. If you’re able to hit the nail salon, professionally done nails tend to last longer when compared to at home nail care. Coordinating your nails with a company color can make your uniform pop!
Tip #4 Hand Moisturizer. This beauty tip is especially helpful during the winter months and/or when frequently washing your hands. Keeping a small portable hand moisturizer handy keeps your hands moisturized and prevents dry cracked skin. Recommendation, prevent dry skin by keeping a small portable hand moisturizer with you in the ambulance and/or station. My personal favorites are Burt’s Bees almond milk hand cream and Burt’s Bees hand salve.
Tip #5 Breathable Comfortable Undergarments. Wearing undergarments and t-shirts that are breathable and comfortable is important to stay fresh and comfortable while in uniform. Breathable moisture wicking technology is a crowd pleaser. Nikki Rose, Senior Paramedic, in Ann Arbor Michigan commented that she truly enjoys body suit Spanx. She enjoys the seamless wear and the moisture wicking technology. Nicolas Diggs Senior Paramedic in Ann Arbor Michigan commented that he enjoys Airism t-shirts from Uniqlo. He explained that the material is soft, wicks well, and doesn’t stain. Further, the price point is reasonable. Sarah Helman, Paramedic in Ann Arbor Michigan, commented that she enjoys Kirkland signature wool blend trail socks while on duty because they are comfortable, wick moisture, and regulate temperature well during extreme heat and cold. Recommendation, look for comfortable, seamless, moisture wicking undergarments.
Tip #6 Fabric Stain Remover. For those agencies that choose white shirts and lighter colored uniform shirts this is a great tip. No spare uniform shirt handy? Keep a stain removing stick on hand in the truck and station. No one wants to wear their coffee all day. Recommendation, purchase stain remover pens for unexpected spills. Have your cake and eat it too! My personal choice, Tide to Go Pens. Also, something I accidentally discovered while in a pinch, the sanitizer VioNex works pretty well on certain fabrics and stains.
Tip #7 Waterproof Mascara. Why waterproof? Make-up products that are not waterproof tend to move with the presence of moisture. Waterproof mascara will get into your eyes while sleeping on shift and presto you will wake with red irritated eyes. Using waterproof mascara helps prevent this. Recommendation, if you’re working a 24 hour shift or notice that your eyes are irritated after long shifts try switching to a waterproof version of your mascara.
Tip #8 Boot Odor Destroyer. We wear our boots for long durations in extreme conditions. Even the most breathable designs will develop odor over time. Boot designs vary and certain designs may breathe better than others, however, odor will rear it’s ugly head eventually. Generally, the older the work boot the stinkier. How to cope, purchase a boot deodorizer product. There are a bunch of options, Arm & Hammer has odor fighting balls you can place in your boots at night. Dr. Scholl’s sells sprays and powders designed for sneakers and boots. Recommendation, treat boot oder regularly with a deodorizing product. In addition, breathable moisture wicking socks help combat boot odor.
Tip #9 Toothbrush/Mouthwash. Keeping a portable toothbrush and/or mouthwash handy will help combat bad breathe during long shift rotations. A lot can happen during a 24 hour shift. Consuming your favorite garlic sauce from a Mediterranean restaurant and not freshening up after could lead to some less than desirable smells. Further, consuming sugary, acidic foods over a 24 hour period and not brushing could create cavities. Recommendation, keep a toothbrush and/or mouthwash at your station and use as needed.
Tip #10 Practicing Kindness, Compassion, and Mindfulness. This may sound cheesy, but, there is nothing less fabulous than a poor attitude and lack of regard for others. The smell of arrogance cannot be remedied by deodorant. Treating others poorly does not exude beauty on any level. Be kind. Your smile is your signature.