There’s a psychology behind wearing makeup and even though we may not like it as women it does work. When you need to rally, it can really help to put your game-face on and even one or two things can help.

If what you have to do is foundation do it quick. However, if that is what you have to have you also have to have something to bring some color back into your now mostly flat face. Using a multi-tasker like the Vapour Beauty is awesome because it was designed for exactly this, multi-purposes. Blend, blend, blend! If you don't have time now you can always blend in the car. Not while you’re driving of course!

Eyelids. And don’t forget lips. Ok, let’s get a little more foundation under the eyes. Covering up any of those dark circles is going to help make you feel much more awake and put together. If you must use mascara, make it quick, make it messy. Woo! And there we have mascara. Now some people really love to just do mascara. That’s fine.

And last but very not least for us chemo girls, especially if you’ve lost your eyebrows -I haven’t yet, I can’t tell if they’re thinning, we’ll see. Don’t be super precise. You know those big brows are in anyway. Oh yeah! And when you’re eyesight starts to go you start getting your makeup everywhere. My oncologist recently said, “Don’t go get any glasses or prescription contact lenses or anything like that, you’re eyesight’s literally going to change in like two weeks. And then it’ll go back again! So why bother?” And then since my -my hands are dirty we’re just gonna loosely take off the edges. Voila!

So you can do one, two, three, four of these steps -any one of them except foundation does have to come with some color and you can be out the door in, I don’t know, two minutes? Is that asking too much? One -one minute. You still have to get dressed. Anyway, the point is to give yourself this uplifting feeling of having some color on your face and possibly giving yourself a little once over to erase some blemishes that are popping up. Whatever it is that you don’t feel confident about you make that your one priority of putting something on. Making yourself feel beautiful so that you can get out that door. It can bolster your own confidence when you look in the mirror and see yourself in a way that makes you feel more beautiful. It’s not about making you more beautiful. You already are that. It’s about feeling beautiful so that you can face the world.

We’re socialized to seeing makeup on a woman’s face as an aesthetic improvement. Although, that’s not necessarily the case. However, being sick changes how you look. And it can, in some cases, dramatically decrease how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about our own beauty. There are all kinds of things that can happen when you’re sick the least of which is becoming pale. Sometimes you can be extremely flushed. Certain things when you’re undergoing chemo and your white and red blood cell count are going all over the place is that you can have a really low platelet count, which means that you’re likely to bleed and that will happen internally and you’ll bruise very easily.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want other people coming up to me on the street and saying, “Oh Jen! I’m so sorry.” We want to go out into the world and feel like we are beautiful, we’re confident in who we are, we’re ready to do what we need to do and if you’re sick, especially if you’re going through chemo, you’re really really not feeling your best. Being dead tired is a big part of having cancer. There are other things that can happen to your skin that actually do make wearing makeup helpful, so that when we go out into society people don’t perceive us as being sick. When we put our faces on, we don’t look as sick as we feel. And when we go out into the world and are interacting with people that helps them to treat us as if we were just normal that gives us the confidence in those interactions and in rallying to get those things done.

From Harper’s Bizarre, 1946. “The Red Badge of Courage”. Every year has it’s own courageous gestures. The knight through down his sword. The gallant through down his glove. The señor Cooley took his pinch of snuff. There’s a modern gesture to be added to the list. A purely feminine gesture. When a woman has lost her lover. When a girl has lost her job. When a doctor has told his fatal news. When the luck is leaving, the dinner party flopping, the birth pains beginning, the scandal breaking, the storm striking, the other woman sailing by in triumph, the sudden streak of lipstick across the lips spells ‘courage'. It is not done frivolously, but resolutely, desperately, defiantly, even gaily and with the dash and dignity of a courageous heart. Before the dim dressing table of the night club. In the none committal mahogany mirror of the doctor’s waiting room. In the hushed half-light of the night nursery. In the smart hard glitter of the descending elevator. Proud fingers wield their weapon. The act reinforces the spirit. The streak of red steadies trembling lips. For one poignant moment. The little stick takes on the significance of a sword.

Red, my favorite of today. It’s called Dare. I’m going to put it on over this pinky coraly color so it’s not going to look as bold as it usually does. But as you can see it’s kind of a brownish mahogany red. Because I like it dark. Others like a more true red, something that really speaks to the courageousness that we just heard about. Lipsticks named ‘Courageous' and ‘Bold’. The Siren Lipstick line by Vapour Organics has all three of these colors and many others. It’s not something that’s new to this day-in-age. It’s a tried and true method for getting others to pay attention to us, to listen to what we’re saying and to also brighten our spirits.

So on that note, maybe a bold and bright red lipstick is all you need. 

Jen MurphyComment