While I am going through treatment for cancer, beauty seems to be irrelevant. Oh, I still care about looking presentable, but I have no hair. I have no eyebrows. I have three eyelashes, stubbornly clinging to my eyelid, and my eyes are watering constantly due to the chemo. My fingernails and toenails are falling off, and the skin is peeling from my hands and feet. Those are just little things, I know. The bigger picture is always at the back of my mind. All those things will pass, eventually.
But in the meantime? I can't wear makeup. I can't paint my nails or go get a pedicure. My beauty routine right now is a three minute shower, followed by...not much else. Since my fingernails started loosening up, I haven't even been able to put on jewelry without assistance. I've gone down a couple of sizes since all this started, but I'm waiting to buy new pants until after chemo. Just to celebrate.
Still, not much of a beauty routine...except that I do have some beauty products that are helping.
The good folks at Influenster.com sent me something free to try out, and it's really cool. Neutrogena Naturals. These are towlettes that one can use to remove makeup, if you happen to be wearing any, and they can be used to clean the face. The hope is that you'll use these instead of washing your face, and conserve water.
Another beauty product that I've found helpful has been Bag Balm. This is something that farmers use on the udders of cows, but it works for hands too. At night I slather my hands with the stuff, then put on cotton gloves. It has helped with some of the more severe cracking and peeling, especially between my fingers. I think that it's the lanolin in the bag balm that does the miracle magic, and I love it. I ordered my Vermont Bag Balm on Amazon.
I can't use lanolin on my face, but I have been using this Clinique product, Turnaround Overnight Radiance. It's a moisturizer, and it's helped keep the dry, leathery skin that sometimes accompanies chemo far, far away. When I was younger, I used to use Clinique's Turnaround cream,
and this version of it has seemed to help keep my skin hydrated enough to get me through the day. Sephora sells this stuff for $12.50, which is pretty reasonable.
Using sunscreen during the day also helps, as does wearing a wide brimmed hat, particularly when I go to my son's soccer games or am outside longer than five minutes. But I did that before I had cancer, because my skin is white enough to be seen from space. My favorite sunscreen is, of course, Neutrogena, particularly their stick versions. I find the sticks seem to go on my skin better and blend in easier.
My lips are extra chapped right now because my mouth has all those sores in it and that makes me drink extra water and lick my lips. Don't judge. To combat that lovely cracked lip look, I use Sally Hansen's Overnight Lip Recovery, which is truly a godsend. It doesn't evaporate likes some lip balms. It actually is still on my lips when I wake up! My lips never had it so good. Plus, a tube typically lasts a long time. Which is great, because this stuff is also the hardest to find, and it is a bit pricey. I searched every Walgreens and CVS locally, in addition to Walmart and other stores near me, with no luck. So I finally ordered it from Amazon.
These are the products that are keeping me sane right now, at least as much as a cancer patient can be considered sane. I may look a hot mess, but this too, shall pass. My hair will start to grow back, new fingernails and toenails will show up, and the cracks in my skin will heal. I'll be back to my old neurotic "Do my shoes have to match my eye shadow?" self in no time, I promise.