I am quite vain. I have always been into my looks, make up, hair, clothing, and generally looking my best. I’ve even got it in the back of my head that my vanity and pride in my body was part of what made me get cancer. I know that’s silly but it feels like karma. I know that breast cancer treatment, and then the meds I’m going to be on for 5 years afterwards (hello menopause, you’re early!), are probably going to ruin it. Regardless, I am doing my best to maintain my body and my appearance.
I did not do cold capping, but only because my hair is quite fine and thin, and I knew that even a moderate amount of shedding would leave me very unhappy.
I love my hair, I’ve worked very hard on having it just how I liked it (which was quite a process with curly fine thin slow-growing hair, but I did it!). Now that hair is gone, it won’t even start growing back for about three more months, and it will probably be at least a year until it is a length that I am happy with.
Oh well. Chemo is a badass cancer killer, right?
I have to say that as heartbreaking as it was to lose it, I do not mind how I look bald. I had assumed it would be awful and I would want to hide it all the time, wearing wigs and hats. Turns out I only wear wigs when I am out with my friends or family and want to look “normal” (for their comfort) and I only wear hats when I need to because my head is cold. Usually I go bald. It was hard to do the first time, but once I experienced the comfort of not having something popped on my head and pressing into my skull all day long, there was no going back!
I actually think I look beautiful. I work hard on my eye make-up and my eyes are the focus of my face. I have gotten so many compliments. Some people are just nice I’m sure, but I have friends that know how important looking my best is to me and would tell me honestly if I should be wearing a wig! When people see me bare-headed for the first time, they look amazed, in an honestly positive way. Or so it seems to me, if I am wrong I will keep the delusion thankyouverymuch.
Some beauty tips for those facing chemo and/or hair loss, should you want them:
1. If you normally wear waterproof mascara and/or eyeliner, switch to washable, one that will wash off easily when you wash your face with a gentle cleanser. You want to be gentle with your eyelashes to slow down loss. So far I have all my lashes, but I know that might change.
2. As soon as you realize you’re going to be doing chemo, start getting in the habit of enhancing your eyebrows with a pencil or powder. I did this, and by the time my brows started really thinning was such a habit for me to colour in my brows that I barely noticed. Now, people compliment my eye-brows all the time and tell me how great it is that I haven’t lost them at all, but they are actually thinned to about half and the outer edges are gone! As a sidenote, even when I had all my brows they look so much nicer with a bit of shading, I will probably never go back to not doing this!
3. Eye-liner is your best friend! Line your upper lids somewhat thickly and under your lower lashes lightly. If you do nothing else but this, your eyes will stand out and take the attention away from your head. Add some light eyeshadow under the brow line and you are good to go. I’ve heard liquid eyeliner with a bit of a cat-eye tip camaflauges lost eye-lashes. I will let you know if and when the time comes!
4. If you use anti-aging or some other specialty skin products, you may want to consider changing to a gentle sensitive skin product. As soon as I started chemotherapy, my skin started to feel tight and irritated, I decided that the anti-aging retinol products I was using were too harsh and switched to sensitive skin products and it improved ASAP.
5. If you don’t normally use concealer, you might want one! I broke out a bit after chemo and from what I’ve heard that’s not unusual. I also was reaquainted with a mark on my head that is normally covered by my sideburns. I don’t always cover it up, but I probably should!
6. If you don’t normally use lipstick or coloured lip gloss, you may want to consider it. I find that my face looks very washed out without the definition of hair or lips, and also having coloured lips takes attention downword from my head. It also seems to give my whole face colour, and makes me look healthier.
7. Blush too!
8. Earrings! They show so much more when you don’t have hair, even if you are wearing a hat or scarf. So try to remember to wear them every day, and treat yourself to some pretty new ones! This morning one of my earrings broke in the car, I was on so upset I almost cried! I bought some new ones on my lunch break though, all better.