Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
This is a basic guide of products I use as a woman with chronic illness to help keep myself looking 2% decent, instead of 0% decent. Some of these products have saved my spoonie life. In this blog I talk much about body image and self-esteem, so I decided to write a post about how to cultivate that with easy things I do on good days. These are the bare minimum steps I do on good days when my chronic illness lets me. I will include links to Amazon, because what chronic illness warrior doesn’t love Amazon?
First, please acknowledge I have oily skin and short, curly hair cut into a pixie. I typically wear the pixie natural so I will include ways to wear your hair natural and ways to straighten it (the easy way!).
1.Jinri Hot Air Brush
A hot air brush is basically an electric hairbrush that acts as a hair dryer, straightener, and brush. I use the Jinri because it is 1 inch around the barrel which is good for short hair. All you need to do is get out of the shower, brush your hair with this, and your hair will be silky smooth like a salon blowout. If you have longer hair, I recommend the 3 inch Revlon Hot Air Brush
The Jinri is about $35, while the Revlon is around $55. Those of you immersed in the beauty word may be familiar with Dyson and Drybar, but those cost hundreds of dollars. Spoonies generally are short on cash with all of our medical expenses, so I want to make this list pocket-friendly.
2. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Double Combo Shampoo and Conditioner
This is only for ladies with curly crazies! As a curly haired vixen, this is what I use on my hair every day. It’s great whether I want to use my Hot Air Brush or wear it natural, which I will give a tutorial below. If you want to find this in person, the Cantu Shampoo and Conditioner can be found at Walgreens and CVS.
3. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, 12 Ounce
I always put the Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner whether I use my Hot Air Brush or not. Because I have a pixie, I use a dime’s worth on one finger and run it through my hair. This stuff is powerful! When I want to wear it natural and air-dry, I use the same amount, and run it through my hair. Then I brush it while wet. Next, I take sections of my hair and twirl it up into twisted sections with my fingers to hang loose in defined locks. When I do this, it looks like dread locks when it is still wet. Then I let it air dry, and I receive perfect ringlets. Just make sure you don’t use too much of this – if you have chin length hair, it’s okay to use two dimes on two fingers, shoulder length, a penny. Beyond that never use a glob because I haven’t had shoulder length hair since 2005.
Another tip is that if you don’t want to twist your hair and need to go to bed, is to use the prescribed amount, brush your hair while wet and wear your hair in braids while sleeping.
4. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner, 8 Fl. Oz
When I get out of the shower, I use this Neutrogena toner on a cotton pad on a good day. A very good day. It helps keep the acne under control. Now I’m no beauty superstar. I use this maybe once a day, twice a week, but it helps.
5. Pan Oxyl Pack of 5
Pan Oxyl was recommended to me as a teenager and it’s the only thing that does anything for my acne and body acne. This is for my oily skinned chronic illness warriors. Note the price tag on this – but it’s a pack of 5 Pan Oxyls, and they are really hard to find in real life. The only place I’ve been able to find them is some CVS. I used to apply this with a sponge, but I recommend simply using your hands. Sponges can hide bacteria.
6. Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Facial Moisturizer with Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Medicine, Pink Grapefruit Acne,4 fl. Oz
Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Moisturizer is the only moisturizer that works for my spoonie oily skin. Yes, oily skin needs a moisturizer. Now I won’t claim to be high functioning enough that I do all of this every day – this is just for good days. Below I will show you how to accomplish these self-care tips with some chronic illness hacks.
7. Sit Down, If You Can, To Get This Done
Without purchasing anything, if your toilet is near a shower or a sink, sit with the lid of your toilet closed while you apply toner, moisturizer, or shea butter.
If there are outlets near a chair or your bed, use your hot air brush there and place a small standup mirror where you can see it. Who says you have to use hair styling products in the bathroom? It’s dangerous and frankly, I never did before I became chronically ill.
If all else fails, and you need help brushing your teeth, consider a Sonicare and a backed medical stool to use in your bathroom if it’s large enough. The closed toilet seat hack still applies if you need help brushing your teeth (such as not being able to stand for any period of time) and cannot afford the medical stool or lack space.
Again, let me say that I too have days when it’s hard for me to get out of bed, brush my teeth, or shower. I hope I don’t sound preachy, these are just ideas for good days – days that are almost in the normal range, but us chronically ill girls don’t want to push it too hard and send us into a pain flare.
If you have any more tips, please comment below.
And now, a recap:
Pocket full of starlight: You are not your body, and you are not who you look like.
Pocket full of darkness: Looking good can take too many spoons.