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5 Beauty Tips for Fellow Spoonies

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As my fibromyalgia has progressed over the years, I’ve found that my beauty routine has evolved along with it. This makes perfect sense; my life has changed, I have changed, so why shouldn’t this change too? The biggest change to my beauty routine is probably in the way I think about it. I realize now more than ever that it’s all completely optional. Keeping up outward appearances can take a lot of energy, after all, and energy is something I have to budget wisely. Still, there’s something I find very therapeutic about doing my hair, makeup and having some control over my body. Here are the some of the aspects of my nuanced beauty routine:

1. I exclusively wear waterproof eye makeup.

As someone with long-time allergies, waterproof mascara always seemed like a good idea. In recent years, however, it’s become necessary that my mascara, eyeliner and anything else I put around my eyes be waterproof. This is because, unfortunately, I have become more and more prone to crying. I’m tired all the time, and I’m in pain all the time, so I’m a lot closer to tears than I would like to be at any given moment. I’ve found great products that are very affordable, and I’ve learned to apply them in such a way that I can dry my tears and five minutes later, you might never know I’d been crying. I curl my top lashes and apply a coat of waterproof mascara to my top and bottom lashes. Then, I apply a felt-tip waterproof eyeliner to my top lash line only. This eye-makeup combination has held up through more crying sessions than I would care to count. It’s worth noting that any makeup will smudge if you rub it hard enough, so do your best not to touch your eyelid or top lash line. When I dry my tears, I just dab gently at my lower lash line. (This, by the way, is why I don’t apply liner to my bottom lashes. Even my holy-grail eyeliner can’t hold up to that much moisture and that much rubbing.)

2. I cut my hair short and haven’t looked back!

A couple of years ago, bobs and lobs (long bobs) were first coming on the fashion scene in full force. They flooded my Pinterest feed, and my intrigue was piqued. I finally worked up the nerve and got my longish hair chopped off just above my shoulders – and I loved it! Even though I got it done for purely aesthetic reasons, I’ve come to realize it has other benefits as well. For one, there’s a lot less hair, which means it takes a lot less time (and energy) to wash, dry and style. Another great benefit is how much easier it is to style the back of my hair. I think anyone who styles their own hair knows that awful arm fatigue that seems to inevitably go along with it. For someone who experiences pain and fatigue anyway, this added strain can be more than just annoying – it can be unbearable. With shorter hair, I usually don’t even have to touch that hard-to-reach underneath layer on the back of my head. The top layers are so much easier and quicker to style, I’ve not even once seriously thought about growing my hair back out.

3. I’ve embraced my natural hair texture.

I am so grateful this particular trend is en vogue right now. Once upon a time, I would have been horrified by the idea of going without any heat styling tools. Now, though, I rarely use them for anything more than taming that one cowlick in my bangs with a straightener. I’ve become the low-maintenance, air-dry-and-go kind of girl I never suspected I would be. Part of that is because my current haircut works a lot better with my natural texture than what I’ve sported in the past. I still have to use product to tame my tresses, but that’s to be expected when you have wavy hair and live in a humid place like Alabama!

4. I use natural, hypoallergenic products.

I don’t know if this is specifically because of my fibromyalgia, but I have very sensitive skin that needs to be babied as much as possible. It seems like lot of people with fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions also struggle with things like allergies, eczema, dry skin, itchiness and sensitivities. There are so many brands now that offer hypoallergenic products, and products made from simple, natural ingredients. They don’t have to be super expensive, either! It’s also worth looking into simple, homemade solutions. One of the best things I’ve ever done for my skin is use a homemade honey and sugar mask/scrub. It’s a miracle worker! I won’t recommend any specific products, because everyone’s skin is different. The idea is to find what works for you, and when in doubt, keep it simple!

5. I do what I want!

In my opinion, beauty routines shouldn’t be a chore. They should be fun! They should be a chance to explore and experiment, and exercise your bodily autonomy. A lot of the time, I feel like I have no control over my body. It hurts, and I can’t do much about it. I struggle to stay active and exercise, and that affects my weight – I can’t do much about that either. But what I can do is dye my hair purple, or platinum blonde, or fire-engine red, or any other color I want. I can cut my own bangs, the kind fashion magazines tell me don’t suit my face. Why? Because I want to! I can change the way people see me, shift their focus away from my fatigue and toward my brightly colored hair. I trim my own hair, I color it myself, I style it, and do my makeup, and I like to think I’ve become quite good at it. Every layer of makeup is another step toward preparing for a day out. Picking a new hair color and planning it all out is the perfect distraction when I feel terrible. It’s fun, it’s therapeutic, and it’s empowering! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

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Thinkstock photo via JANIFEST.

Originally published: November 3, 2017
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