Not feeling so good during breast cancer? Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the person looking back in the mirror. Breast cancer treatments may rob you of your hair (eyelashes and eyebrows included), complexion, nails, and muscle mass. Not to mention that your weight may fluctuate dramatically during and after chemotherapy. All of this makes “normal” feel distant and unattainable.
However, self-care is critical when fighting something as big as cancer. It’s worth it to take the time to figure out what makes you feel good during breast cancer.
So if a little TLC, fashion, and beauty tips are what it takes to step outside with confidence and to feel good, DO IT. These tips are not one-size-fits-all, but sift through them and find the right ones for you. When you’re exhausted and barely getting outside, you probably won’t be interested in doing all of them. The trick is to figure out which ones make you feel good and do them every chance you get.
9 Beauty Tricks To Make You Smile During Breast Cancer
1. Throw away your old make-up.
Okay, so this might not put a smile on your face, but not getting any weird infections will! Here’s the thing: cancer treatments leave you vulnerable to infections. All that mascara you’ve put on your eyelashes a hundred times? That was before you started chemotherapy or radiation. Your eyes were going all over town, picking up little bacteria everywhere. Now that bacteria is sitting there on your mascara wand, just waiting to hang out on your eyelids again. The problem is, unlike before, you’re not going to fight it like you used to. So throw it out and buy a few select beauty items that you love and will make you smile every time you see them.
2. Put some color on those lips!
Still in pajamas? Exhausted? Lips chapped? Come on, choose a lipstick or lip gloss color that you love. Splurge a few extra dollars to get one with ingredients that don’t make you paranoid (such as one like this). Skip the rest of your beauty routine if you need to, but take two seconds to enjoy the before-and-after of a little lipstick. Then smile and enjoy that smile.
2. Pamper your skin.
Chemotherapy and radiation dry skin out and can leave it red and blotchy. A good skin regime can help fight some of the effects of cancer treatment. Start by drinking plenty of water to help rehydrate your skin. Pamper, pamper, pamper. Lindi Skin has developed a line of skin care specifically for women going through cancer treatments.
3. Try a new haircut.
Go short and chic with your hair. Some people lose hair during chemo and some don’t, but if you do a preemptive strike, the changes will be less dramatic. Also, less hair will be available to clog the drain. Go bold and dramatic and make a statement with your hair. You’re strong, you’re alive, and you’re fighting hard. If your hair has thinned or fallen out, make your statement with your wig. Choose a wig that stands out. Maybe try blue or pink, definitely something daring.
4. Give your nails some attention.
The effects of chemotherapy on your nails is harsh. They may become dry, brittle, and even fall off. Cutting your cuticles is out of the question, because it could leave you vulnerable to infection. Instead, take some time to moisturize your nails. Brittle, fragile nails are often the result of dry nails. You may want to try out Solaroil Nail and Cuticle Oil or even soak your nails in olive oil. If you find yourself longing for color, it’s critical you check the ingredient list. The last thing you need is more toxins. For a safe source of organic nail polish, check out Karma Organic Spa.
5. Highlight you face strategically.
If you brush blush over cheekbones and out towards the ears it will give you a vibrant, healthy look. To combat a puffy face due to weight gain from chemo, try some contouring with bronze or brownish powder. If you’ve lost weight and your face looks drawn and thin, try a light-colored concealer cream. It can help to enlarge areas. Again, be sure to check your ingredients. Burt’s Bees is a safe source for organic make-up without toxic ingredients.
6. Go with the flow of your eyebrows.
Be aware of the natural shape of your brows. Not everyone loses their eyebrows, but they may thin out. Try filling in or create eyebrows using “feathery strokes” of color with a brush-on eyebrow color kit or a pencil. Follow the natural line making the brow fuller on the inside corner, thinning as it moves out. Choose an organic eyebrow pencil that matches your natural hair color (or skip that if you’re totally hair-free and choose any color that makes you smile!).
7. Add some thickness to your eyelashes.
It’s also possible that you’ll lose some or all of your lashes. If you lose them all you can try fake lashes, or you can make thinning lashes look full, by using an eyeliner pencil. Try applying a thin line along upper and lower lids. Apply organic mascara, which will restore a lush look to thinning eyelashes. Be sure to change your mascara every two to three months to avoid infection. Try applying first to the top and then to the underside of lashes. Brush the tip of the wand back and forth across the lower lashes.
8. Choose organic.
Find products that are natural, paraben-free, sulphate-free and synthetic fragrance-free. Try going organic. Organic means that the plant ingredients used to make the products have not been exposed to pesticides or other chemicals. Using organic products reduces exposure to some potentially hazardous compounds (that’s why we’ve been putting links to organic products throughout this post). You’re facing enough without adding more toxins to your body.
And Finally, Tip #10: Seek Expert Advice to Look and Feel Good During Breast Cancer
Experts offer complimentary group, individual and online sessions that teach beauty techniques. By helping women feel better about themselves, LGFB also helps them face their diagnoses with a greater confidence.
Looking for one of these workshops? Try their website or contact your local American Cancer Society, which should have a calendar of workshops available in the area. LGFB workshops are always free of charge.
If you just want a few quick tips or don’t feel like going out to a workshop, LGFB has several beauty guides available online that help with anything from makeup to nail care. There have many easy to follow virtual makeovers and instructional videos available with the click of a mouse.
Don’t be shy. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves– especially women battling breast cancer or who are going through breast reconstruction. This is the perfect resource to get some new ideas and some professional tips, and it’s the perfect time to feel a bit stronger in your own skin.