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Ibiza holidays

Ibiza lockdown diaries #13

Professional hair and make-up artist Louise Maxwell

A hippie at heart, professional hair and make-up artist Louise Maxwell had been on a relaxing retreat in India as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded around the world. She arrived back to an island that was completely different to the Ibiza she loved, with harsh lockdown laws, her work completely halted. She says now every day is like waking up in a dream.

For professional hair and make-up artist Louise Maxwell, spring is when she starts planning ahead for the summer season of weddings, private clients, commercial and editorial shoots. She also rents out her home, which means a lot of preparation for the high season. Louise was returning from a retreat and holiday in Goa, India, when the news of the Ibiza lockdown came through. “My flights were cancelled three days before I was leaving,” she says of the sudden travel restrictions. “I re-booked flights with other airlines. It took four flights to get home.”

Arriving to Ibiza – where she has lived and worked for the past 15 years – was a shock to Louise. “Goa was relaxed, Mumbai was chaos but very few people, London Heathrow was business as usual,” she explains. “Then Barcelona was unbelievable. Completely empty. Arriving in Ibiza was the most shocking. As I reached the exit door of the aircraft, Guardia Civil were there distancing everyone. Being picked up from the airport and sitting in the back of my own car – that was like a joke. I could sit in a stranger’s taxi, but I couldn’t sit next to the person I was living with. I have never been in a situation that was so oppressive.” Finally, back home, she chooses to focus on things with a feelgood factor, including more conscious and community-based ways to work in the future.

Describe your current Ibiza lockdown situation?
I have been at home in Sant Agustín, where I have cleared, cleaned, sparkled, and fengshui-ed. Normally I rent my house at this time, as the season has begun. While I was away, a friend was looking after my house and our cat and also getting the villa ready for summer rentals. He now can’t leave the island to go back to UK until further notice, and I can’t rent the house out.

What is your daily life like now?
There’s a feelgood factor to my days. I am up every morning working out either on my TRX or doing yoga to motivate me for the day before getting showered – with a facial or body scrub – and dressed. I am working on new website and organising my files and images. I’ve done a massive spring clean! I am a firm believer in meditation, and I have finally found time to be quiet. The new ‘staying in’ thing is quite literal – it’s time to go inwards and look at ourselves. I believe we have the power to make a difference. It’s just knowing your part to play in it.

How are you feeling on a personal level right now?
I am good. I am focused and not just on work. The Kundalini retreat and holiday I just took with my daughter and friend was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Who or what do you miss most right now?
I miss my children. They are both in London. My son lives in a warehouse building, where there are 30 creatives all living together. Hard to social distance. My daughter recently finished university and was just about to start a new job with a virtual reality company.

What’s been most the challenging thing for you throughout this experience?
Being confined. I like being out and about working, seeing friends and going to the beach.

Has there been anything about the lockdown experience you’ve enjoyed?
I have enjoyed being at home. Taking time out for myself. Doing all those things that you never have time to do.

How do you keep in touch with the outside world?
I find mass communications like the news quite alarming and prefer to educate myself with alternative forms of media. Social media is great to dip in and out of, but I don’t look at it too much. I like to listen to podcasts and astrology for my news. I’ve kept in touch with friends and family via FaceTime but my friends generally don’t want me to see them – probably because they haven’t done their hair! Haha!

What’s been entertaining you during this period?
I listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos by Luke Storey, Josh Rogan, Lee Harris, Bruce Lipton and Kaypacha. I like to listen to anything to do with health and wellness. I love a conspiracy theory (though I don’t believe everything I hear) and it’s a wormhole of interesting people and new ways of moving forward. I’ve been reading How Soon Is Now by Daniel Pinchbeck, and The Joker was the best movie I’ve seen for a while.

What’s been educating you?
All of the above and my intuition.

What’s made you laugh during this time?
A one-off show on BBC called Alma’s Not Normal. Had me laughing out loud. Hopefully they will make it into a series. True British humour.

What are your eating habits like these days?
I have followed a healthy lifestyle for years with a bit of fun thrown in. I have never been at home long enough to get into cooking, but the lockdown has certainly improved that. I stay away from gluten and buy organic where possible. Peel fruit and vegetables (against my wishes – if it’s not organic, a lot of pesticides are used in Spain). Wine is obviously a go-to! Just not too much of it. Water is the biggest problem. I had my water supply cut off by a local farmer. I had no Aqualia [official local supplier] water either. I had no legal rights, so I spent numerous hours finding out what to do. Finally, I had to have water tanks installed in my garage. My neighbour’s well is now dry. I think we need to be extremely conscious on how we use water. It opened my eyes.

Are you factoring exercise and movement into your time spent indoors?
Always! I have a list of yoga, Pilates and personal trainers, who are all are really good. It’s been great going online to join in classes and check in with others too. Some of my favourites include Kundalini Yoga with Soul Adventures, Cosmic Flow Yoga with Kim Booth, Love Pilates Ibiza, personal trainer Mirella and breathwork with Alchemy of Breath.

Have you set yourself any goals during this period?
I have been looking at new ideas within business. I would also like to move as I no longer want to rent my house. I would like to have a home I can live in all year round and create a space where I can have all my books, art, wardrobe and a studio to work from.

How has the lockdown impacted your business and industry?
All areas of my work have come to a halt.

How do you manage stress during such uncertain times?
Reading, meditation, exercise, breathwork. I am a bit of a hippie at heart and love sound healing, vibrational healing and the Moonwash programme at www.goddessa-ibiza.com. Along with podcasts and YouTube, there’s not enough hours in a day!

What are your hopes for Ibiza in the future?
I have heard many people say how nice it would be to have less tourists, less boats, less new hotels. We are going to have that this summer. Personally, I think there were too many people coming here. Too many new hotels. Buildings left half-finished for years! High rental prices. Hopefully Ibiza will appreciate this time and look after the people who need it. It will give the sea a chance to heal (no cruise liners) and for the people who live here to enjoy it. The problem is the economy. Without tourism what will happen to our businesses?

Do you have any fears for the future of the island?
My only fear is that the rules and regulations will kill the free spirit of this beautiful island. I have faith in Mother Nature. If we look after her, she will look after us.

What about your own future – how is that looking right now?
I have been researching natural beauty for years. For me, it’s the way forward. Now is such a great time for hair treatments, face masks, exfoliating, skin brushing and being make-up free. It’s a good time to use up all those products that you keep buying and look to products you can make in your kitchen. Ibiza is full of wonderful natural plants you can use. I’ve got a new website coming soon too: www.louisemaxwell.com.

How do you feel Ibiza has come together (while staying apart) as a community?
It’s quiet where I live so don’t hear or see anyone, so it’s good to see the local food shops are open and seeing some friendly faces. Always great to chat during online classes to see how everyone is feeling and what they are doing. It’s great that the doctors and nurses are getting the support they deserve.

Have you seen/felt any differences within your direct local community?
My neighbour contacted me to see if I was OK getting back from India and if I needed anything. That was very much appreciated. On the other hand, my neighbour on the other side had a jackhammer going for seven weeks! And I love it when people leave their excess fruit by their gate for passers-by to take. Simple things.

Is there anywhere else you’d rather be quarantined than Ibiza?
I’d love my family to be here. I just wish the powers that be were a little less aggressive in their manner. I feel safe in Ibiza, but the restrictions have made people scared. Not being allowed outside for weeks is not good for anyone. Mentally and physically.

What are you most looking forward to when the restrictions are lifted?
Going to the beach and getting in the sea! Then lunch at La Escollera.

Is there anything you might miss?
The peace… Clear skies… and knowing that the environment and animals are having a chance to breath

Any other reflections or lessons you’d like to share?
I wake up every day thinking I’m in a dream. We see satellites filling the sky, but no one talks about it. Everyone is talking constantly about the same thing: Death. It’s not surprising that people are feeling slightly off kilter!

I believe this time is about community spirit, working together and helping people. Not separation. I have built a collective of the best hair, make-up and wellness experts on and off the island over 15 years. We all know each other and support each other. It works. Over the years, I’ve swapped my skills with others for treatments, paintings, yoga, dining out, and more. If you have something to offer others, then it can be a good way to help each other and does not involve money. Obviously we need money to live and pay the tax man, but I think this time will show us how little we really need and what’s important to us.READ MORE ABOUT LOUISE MAXWELL