The “You Don’t Look Sick” Makeover
As I came around the corner at the store with my rollator, a woman in line smiled at me. She began striking up a conversation with me asking me about myself and sharing a bit about herself. She was a personal care attendant and was amazed by how much I “didn’t look sick.” As someone with multiple neck and back injuries, she could relate to how not looking sick can be both a blessing out in the world, and a curse in the doctor’s office.
Invisible illnesses and injuries are hard thing to have, especially when you are around people that don’t understand such things exist. Many people believe that if you feel unwell you should look unwell. But after years of being sick and looking sick, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is take care of yourself.
Walking past a mirror on a day I don’t bother – I look like crap, so I feel like crap. But, on days I take 5 minutes to make myself more presentable, I feel a little better and more capable. The trouble is, after getting hit with central sensitization, during the initial stages of seeking diagnosis and finding treatments that work, we tend to throw overboard anything that is not dire including skin and hair care.
While I’m directing this post at those with a chronic illness that want to freshen up their look, these methods can be used by virtually anyone. And while it takes a little work, it’s really a simple thing to maintain – after all, we’re exhausted. But, exhausted or not, we can blend in if we want to. And……
I will not apologize for looking healthy when I am sick.
For skin and makeup care, I use Organic Coconut Oil on my face lightly every morning – wash it off at night, it takes seconds to apply and it treats uneven skin tone, moisturizes, minimizes fine lines, gets rid of redness, and makes my skin glow. It’s a quick and simple solution, and I typically stop there. If I feel like adding a little powder, or eye makeup, it’s a quick and simple add. A little Vitamin E chapstick and a little lip stain, and off I go. I make my own makeup so I don’t have any bad reactions. Also, if you have thinning eyebrows and eyelashes, filling those suckers in will do wonders.
Having a little color is key to “not looking sick” along with glowing skin an bushy lashes and brows.
Sticking to the coconut oil in the morning method can yield awesome results in one week, and amazing results after a month. It’s something I do and keep doing. It’s easy, quick, and saves me time rather than consuming it. It gives me a healthy glow, rather than the dull, dry, and unhealthy skin I had after years of neglect.
Despite my best efforts, I do have a little bit of darkening under eyes. Years of not getting restful sleep does this, and you can improve it by using the coconut out and foundation/powder, Vitamin K, but really the only 100% solution is wearing sunglasses. If you are light sensitive like me, you already wear them everywhere you go, so dark circles aren’t really an issue. But, how you look isn’t just based on your skin and hair, but also your accessories. So, indulge yourself and get some interesting sunglasses to show off. You CAN be light sensitive in STYLE!
“Not looking sick” can also mean you look like you put effort into the way you look.
I don’t have the energy to put earnings in just to turn around and take them back out at night. For years I didn’t even bother. Then I found a few earning studs I liked that have round screw backs (body ear jewelry). These are not only comfortable enough to have in 24/7, but they are made of stainless steel, so they don’t irritate my sensitive skin. You can find a lot of them on Amazon and eBay.
Like necklaces? GO LIGHT. The lighter the better. They bug the heck out of me so I don’t bother, but it’s certainly and option. Just make sure its durable enough to sleep in, or slips over the head.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will make your skin looks amazingly healthier. But, even with all the health food our skin gets pretty dry. You can minimize this by putting mineral oil in your bath water– just a little, having a little oil in your diet, and using moisturizers on exposed areas. I prefer a mix of medicated lotions like Eucerin and Dermasil. They last for the whole day.
Drinking plenty of water is also critical to nice skin. I always have a glass of lemon water nearby. Having the lemon in there improves your body’s ability to absorb the water, rather than just releasing it.
Whether your hair is healthy but neglected, or dry as a bone, this next section should help.
If your hair is still healthy from leaving it alone, but not managed, you’ll want to start training it by combing (not brushing) it in the way you want it while wet, and letting it dry naturally or with a hair dryer. As it drys, keep combing it to train it often.
If you use a hair dryer, weather your hair is healthy or not, set it to HIGH, WARM. Do not use the HOT setting – this will damage your hair. If your hair tends to be frizzy and static is an issue, use an ionized hair dryer and set it to WARM or COOL.
To tame it further, use a hair straightener or curing iron. They must be CERAMIC not metal, set it 1/3 the highest setting. For example, the highest setting on mine is 30, so I set it at only 10 or 9. Any higher and your hair will get damaged. ONLY use heating tools after you wash your hair and dry it. If you keep using it day-to-day, you will damage your hair over time.
So, if you need to use hot tool next-day, wet your hair first with a spray bottle of water and comb it through. A hair straightener will make your hair SHINE and tame it and it can be tilted to make curls. If your hair is super healthy, curls won’t last very long, so you may want to sick with a straight hair look. Grab it by big sections and go slow.
It will leave your hair REALLY SOFT and REALLY SHINY. Don’t take a lot of time doing this – 5 mins max. Get the hang of it and be quick about it. If your hair is naturally curly, the opposite applies, but a straightener can make those locks look shinier even after they curl back up.
Embrace what nature gives you, that’s the key. The people with the best hair work with what they have.
For a healthier look, get a haircut. Haircuts makes you look well kept and fresh. I always go a little shorter then I like and let it grow over the course of months. The last thing I want to do is go to get my hair cut monthly. Get a haircut that suits you, be timid or be bold, and make sure its a cut that is easy to work with, and doesn’t require styling to look “nice.” That way, on days you just don’t care, you still look like you do.
If you need some extra shine, dye your hair. There are cheap options out there and options that are made for people who are chemically sensitive. Hair dyes add multidimensional shine that will make your hair appear healthier than it actually is.
If your hair is already healthy, your hair will look ridiculously healthy (but in a good way). Find a color that is close to your natural hair color. If you must bleach your hair – use a natural bleach that is easy on your hair like Splat, followed by a blonde hair dye.
After you dye it, put a crap load of conditioner in it, wrap it up in a towel, and let it sit for an hour. In fact, if your hair is dry and dull, do this once a week until it’s awesome again. You can also use hot oil treatments. I recommend heating come coconut oil and mixing it in with the conditioner in your hand and THEN applying to hair. It distributes better.
If you still find you hair to be drier then you would like, either skip a wash or skip a shampoo. Wash hair once every 3-4 days. If I wash my hair daily or every other day, this WILL DRY MY HAIR OUT. Shampoo takes out the natural oils that you need, so shampooing less is an option for many. In fact, less and less people are actually using shampoo every year. Some make their own, or use none at all. It’s a real blow to the industry.
You can also try skipping the shampoo. A hundred years ago they didn’t have shampoo and a little less then that they didn’t have conditioner. But guess what, they didn’t have awful hair either.
Just wash your hair in warm water for a while, then cool water, dry, and style. The point is to get some oil out, not all of it. The cool water helps seal in the oil.
You can also try skipping the shampoo every other wash. Skipping shampoo ends a vicious cycle of stripping your hair of oils, leading you scalp producing too much oil to compensate, whereby leading you to shampooing it again the next day.
My hair care regimen looks like this:
- Wash hair every 3-4 days, with shampoo – but a little not a lot + conditioner (Pantene Pro V) 2-3 mins
- Blow dry or dry naturally (setting WARM/HIGH) 0-3 mins
- Style and tame with ceramic straighter (setting 9) 3-5 mins
- Haircut once every 4-6 months. ($13)
- Touch up dye job once every 2-3 months at home. ($1-$2 – Dollar Tree has the cheapest hair dye)
And that’s it, it’s actually less work then most put in, and my hair always looks like I just walked out of a salon, and my skin is glowing. I hope these methods work for you!