The Feminist Beauty Project

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5 things you might do if you're a makeup lover living with a chronic illness

BEAUTYElizabeth NichinComment

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means and looks like to be a makeup & beauty lover living with chronic illness(es). I read a Buzzfeed article by Arabelle Sicardi a few months ago that got me thinking about this whole topic, and it definitely inspired this post. And just in case you haven't watched Jordan Bone's "My Beautiful Struggle" HERE is the link. You're welcome.

I am a firm advocate of makeup as a form of self care and resistance toward many systems of oppression, harm, and domination, and that includes systems that marginalize individuals living with chronic and mental illnesses, physical and mental disabilities, and numerous other illnesses and disabilities.  

I myself live with both chronic and mental illnesses and have been contemplating how those aspects of my identity intersect with my love and use of makeup. While I do identify my makeup use as a form of self care, some days it's a struggle for me. And that's okay.

This post is is in no way an implication that every person living with a chronic illness does these specific acts. Nor does this post imply that these are the only acts that a person living with a chronic illness might partake in.


September is suicide awareness month. If you’re in the US you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255. If you’re not in the US, click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.

You are enough. You are magic. You are beautiful. You are imagination. You are creativity. You are exactly where you need to be. 


READ EVERY INGREDIENT LABEL, AND EVERY LAST INGREDIENT ON IT

This is something that I ALWAYS have to do, no matter the product. There are many reasons that someone living with a chronic illness must check ingredient labels. As someone who lives with allergic contact dermatitis, I cannot come in contact with any of the four ingredients that I react to. Many people have allergies, intolerances, sensitivities or irritants that they must avoid. And that means spending a great deal of time in cosmetic and drugstore aisles reading the tiny print on the back of a box or researching products and their ingredients online before trying them out. It isn't an option to just walk into a store and buy anything on the shelf.  

CARRY YOUR OWN HAND SOAP, PRE-MOISTENED WIPES, AND SANITIZERS IN YOUR BAG

Living with allergic contact dermatitis means that if I don't know what ingredients are in the bathroom soap at a restaurant, I could be putting myself at risk by using it. I often carry my own hand sanitizers, hand soaps, or pre-moistened towelettes in my bag to ensure that I am not exposing myself to anything potentially hazardous.

WORRY ABOUT BEING IN PUBLIC SPACES

So this is somewhat related to number 2. Since public spaces are often spaces where people with chronic illnesses must negotiate their health, it can often be a cause for concern to leave home. That means going to the store, going to a friend's house, going to work or school, or going out for brunch often come with some level of worry. If I use the soap in a restaurant, I worry that I will break out in rashes. For people living with multiple/chemical fragrance sensitivities (MCS), being in public means worrying about fragrances and chemicals in the air.

KEEP YOUR MEDICATION(S) ON YOUR VANITY SO THAT YOU'LL REMEMBER TO TAKE THEM EACH DAY

This is a tip that my mom gave me recently. She suggested that since I do my makeup (or at least put on moisturizer) every day at my vanity, that I ought to leave my medications there so that I won't forget to take them. My medications are something that keep me feeling well, so it makes sense to link that with one of my favorite self care strategies.

ORGANIZE YOUR MAKEUP & BEAUTY STASH AS A FORM OF SELF CARE 

Organizing my makeup, washing my makeup brushes, and cleaning out my vanity are all forms of self care for me. I find these activities to be relaxing, and they help me to calm my spirit and focus only on the moment and what I am doing.


Do you live with a chronic illness? What does your beauty routine look like? How do you practice self care? Tell me in the comments below! 

in lipstick & solidarity, 

e