Wigs, Hats, and Make Up… Oh My! Trying to Look Better, When You Feel Bad.
We have all heard the dreaded saying “But you don’t look sick?” But the last thing we want to do is walk around looking like death 24/7. It is true that when you look better you feel better, but there is a fine balance between spending tons of hours putting on full face make up, hair done, and full wardrobe ready as if the paparazzi is coming. The thought alone is exhausting. But whether we choose to do 1 little thing to look better, a whole “make over” or nothing at all it is all about doing what is right for you!
We all want to look our best, even when we might not be feeling well. I think it’s a universal desire, not just for people who live with lupus. When you add lupus to the appearance mix, it gets harder to look your best. I have days when I look in the mirror and I can’t believe the girl looking back is me. I know that on the inside somewhere there is an awesome rock star just waiting to get out. lol I’m shocked by how my body feels that I do not see an eighty year old lady. My body, mind, and soul are definitely not in sync. People living with lupus and many other chronic illnesses have to deal with many things that affect our looks, including weight gain from steroids, or weight loss from other treatments. Hair loss or thinning, moon face, and sometimes a pale complexion from having to avoid the sun are some of the appearance issues for people with lupus. I bruise easily, and I always have dark circles under my eyes from not sleeping. Of course, I can’t forget the lupus butterfly rash than can appear across the face. These are just a few lupus symptoms and treatment side effects that affect our looks.
During my life with lupus, I’ve lost all my hair twice. I know how devastating it can be. To feel better and to try to look my best, I’ve worn hats, wigs, hair extensions and different haircuts. I’ve also gotten much better at putting on makeup to cover dark circles, rash or a pale facial complexion. I’ve found that practice makes perfect when it comes to hair and make-up techniques. A fun idea is to invite your friends over for a “girlie make-up party” to share tips and to get advice. When I see hats on sale, I buy them. I do tend to like Fall or Winter style wise because you can wear such a variety of hats or scarves, ear muffs etc. that all camouflage a bad hair day. Having admitted to my hair obsession since the first time I lost my hair to chemo, I will admit that is where I am most personally sensitive but each of us have our own little insecurity. My friend Stephanie goes tanning even though she is not supposed to because she just loves the warmth, but most off all she likes how her skin looks tanned and how according to fashion tan=healthy and pale= sick. My friend Kelly can put on fake eyelashes like she is a pageant queen in 4 minutes flat! Her lashes got very thin on one of her medication treatments and never really grew back. For me my love affair with long, full hair never left, even when I lost my hair twice. I didn’t harp on it, but lord knows I didn’t love it. I wore hats, wigs and sometimes even rocked the bald look whichever mood hit me. Everyone thought I was handling it “so well” but all I really was doing was buying time for my hair to grow enough to get hair extensions. I first tried clip ins so that I did not have to make a huge commitment to them , I have tried varying types of permanent salon quality extensions and those can be expensive but I loved the quality, that I did not have to worry about them falling out and that since it was real hair I could style it as I wanted. Sometimes I took my time and straightened my hair, sometimes I just schrunch curled it, and other days when I am tired, it can be just a ponytail or baseball cap. We all have those little special beauty things we do for ourselves.
I am always the first one to try a new hair thickening product, or make up, or lotion, wigs, hair extensions, headbands or basically anything from a Sephora Dream. I am always willing to be your guinea pig on this blog to try products, write detailed product reviews and always tell the truth. I may think of things that your average beauty type blogger might not think of. For example whats the point in buying a fancy shmancy expensive bottle of lotion if as a person with chronic pain in her wrists I couldn’t open the bottle! Ha! Don’t waste your money! I may love a new lip balm that keeps my lips super moisturized especially when dehydration and dryness is a HUGE issue for millions and millions of us living with chronic illness.
Having written all this about superficial, beauty, make up and hair… It does need to be said that when I lost my hair twice I learned a vital lesson that I was not my hair. My hair did not make me the person who I am. It is not a part of my personality or character. I am creative, kind, funny, smart…but I am not hair. Hair is something I like to play with for style. Yes I do have a bit more confidence when I rock a huge head of hair with a fresh blow out, but it is not WHO I am.. not if I don’t let it. Somethings can make me feel pretty, but they are not my passion. Some beauty tricks feel nice especially on bad flare days, but nice is not a necessity. Take care of YOU, and you will always look your best…. the rest is just glitter.
What are some ways you’ve learned to camouflage the appearance effects of lupus, beauty tips, products and tricks or just to help make you feel and look fabulous? Comment below, or join in on the conversation on twitter or Facebook.
Author: Christine Miserandino
Christine Miserandino is the founder of butyoudontlooksick.com. She has won numerous awards for her writing. She has been featured in newspapers, magazines and television. She was a guest expert for Alliance Health, LupusConnect.com and community TV host for WebMD.com. She prides herself on being a patient advocate, Online Influencer, and health brand ambassador but her favorite role is that of a mommy. You can find her at @bydls on twitter or on facebook.