Think because you’re going through chemotherapy you can’t look good this holiday? Think again!
This isn’t the time to stay home and hide. You need the interaction with your friends and family to remind yourself that you are still valued and loved, and to get your mind off your cancer treatments.
Still, I know how it feels to have a bald head, dry skin, dull skin, and missing eyelashes. Who wants to go out like that, right? Here are some tips to help you disguise these little issues so you can look in the mirror and say, “Okay, that looks pretty good. Let’s go!”
Start with Good Skin Care
Your skin really suffers during chemotherapy. I’m sure you already know that. Though you can disguise dryness and dullness with makeup (I’ll tell you how below), you can also help your skin to heal with the following steps:
- Gently cleanse: Forget yesterday’s harsh washing. Use only lukewarm water (not hot), safe cleansers with natural ingredients, and pat (don’t rub) dry. Unless you have oily skin, wash just once a day, at night. In the morning, just splash with water, or use an oil-based cleanser.
- Moisturize: Chemo skin needs much more moisture than normal skin. Moisturize several times a day, and make sure your product is free of potentially harmful chemicals. Use my Ingredients to Avoid when shopping, or try CV Skinlabs Calming Moisture for Face, Neck, and Scalp, which is made specifically for sensitive, chemo skin.
- Protect: Chemo skin is super sensitive. Sun exposure can cause lasting damage, even in the winter. Protect your skin with clothing (hats, gloves, long sleeves), and wear sunscreen always. (Zinc oxide is safest.)
- Nourish: At night is the time to deeply nourish your skin. Try an oatmeal bath, and use CV Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm on cuticles, lips, elbows, knees, and other dry areas.
Choose Your Hair (or No-Hair) Style
When going through chemotherapy, you may lose your hair. Some people don’t, but if this is an issue for you, you’ll want to decide which new style you want to go with. Any will work for the holidays-choose the one that best fits you.
- Find the best wig: I give you tips on finding your best wig on my post. The most important thing is to take your time, and choose the one that best fits your style and that you feel comfortable in.
- Choose stylish scarves: Hats and scarves can also be a lot of fun during the holidays. I remember experimenting when I was going through chemo and I actually had a lot of fun with it. I have some tips on choosing scarves on my post, but don’t forget that you can also experiment with hats.
- Care for your scalp: Whether or not you decide to go au naturelle or not for holiday get-togethers, you’ll need to care for your scalp. The skin is sensitive and prone to all the problems you have on your face-dryness, itchiness, rashes, and the like. Find tips on my post for scalp care, and try CV Skinlabs Rescue & Relief Spray for a quick, cooling mist when you need it.
Liven Up Your Face
Even if you’re caring for your skin, you may have dryness or under eye circles showing up during the holidays. Here are some tips to cope.
- Pimples: A yellow-based concealer in a color close to your foundation is best for hiding breakouts. Apply sparingly-work from the center out, and blend well at the edges with a makeup wedge. Go easy on the powder of you’ll have a noticeable light spot.
- Scars: Use a small concealer brush and cover all areas by using a yellow or golden concealer to hide redness. Then, apply foundation. If the scar is still showing, dab a bit more concealer on top and blend.
- Facial swelling: Use a foundation a tad darker than your regular skin tone (or a bronzer) and blend it on either side of your nose. Use a slightly lighter color on the bridge. Use a soft blush on the apples of the cheeks, and extra bronzer along the jaw line. Apply slices of cold cucumber or potato on the eyes to reduce swelling. If your lips look swollen, stay away from shimmers and glosses. Use a deep shade of moisturizing lip color.
- Pale, ashy skin: Try bronzers in suntan browns and golden shades-find a shade that “warms” the skin, not “colors” it. Try a highlighter just above the cheekbones and maybe in the center of the nose.
Tend to the Eyes
For many of us, our eyes are our most important feature, but if we’re missing eyelashes and eyebrows, we may feel like doing anything but showing them off. Try these tips:
- Under eye circles: Use a concealer with a warm (pink) undertone to counteract blueness. Pat some moisturizer under the eye first, then apply the concealer with your ring finger.
- Eyelashes: First of all, avoid false eyelashes unless it’s a really special occasion, as they can be irritating. Try lining the upper lash line and smudging it to give the illusion of lashes. On those occasions when you want false eyelashes, I have some tips here.
- Eyebrows: Eyebrows provide shape to the face. If you’ve lost yours, you can use stencils to draw them in. Find tips here.
Work Your Attitude!
What looks best on anyone, no matter their condition? Inner joy and confidence. So make a point to rev up your good feelings with these tips:
- Spend the night watching funny movies with your friends.
- Do something nice for yourself every day!
- Treat yourself once a week to something special, like a night out, good book, walk in the park, or new recipe.
- Make a list of all your good qualities you still have despite chemo.
- Make a list of everything you’re grateful for.
- Turn on some fun, happy music.
- Spend some time with a favorite pet.
- Call someone who always makes you feel good about yourself.
How do you prepare for the holidays? Share your tips!