Concealing The Shadows Of Illness and Pain

I’ve never been big on wearing makeup. I was a tomboy growing up so enhancing my looks – as most teen-aged girls did – wasn’t something I had a lot of interest in until I was in my twenties, and started to care about my appearance and my appeal to the opposite sex. Even when I started to invest more time in my appearance, I didn’t wear a lot of makeup. I wore the bare minimum because I didn’t like the look or feel of too much product on my skin. I covered up blemishes with a bit of foundation, applied a small amount of eye-makeup – usually without mascara to avoid racoon eyes – and a pale shade of lipstick or coloured lip balm. It usually took less than 10 minutes to “put on my face” before I went out, which I felt was more than enough time for me to preen in front of the mirror each day.

On weekends or days when I didn’t work, I didn’t feel the need to wear makeup. I didn’t bother to put anything except moisturizer and lip balm on my face when I went out. It always felt like too much work to put so many products on my face if I didn’t have somewhere to go. Why spend so much time outlining my eyes if I was only going to the grocery store? Who would care if I didn’t’ perfectly pluck and pencil in my eyebrows? What difference would it make if the apples of my cheeks didn’t’ have the rosiest shade of an artificial blush? Not to mention how often I absentmindedly rubbed my eyes, chin, or forehead and smudged colours together or on my clothes.

Lately, because of my illness, my feelings about makeup are changing. The dark circles under my eyes from a lack of sleep, the washed-out colour of my skin from anemia and too little sunshine, and the breakouts caused by my medications make it obvious that I’m not well. I know how vain that sounds, but I don’t like looking sick all the time. The way I look is starting to affect my mood and because I can’t make myself better overnight, I decided to do the next best thing: invest in some makeup to camouflage the effects of my illness. After watching some videos online – and realizing that I know very little about makeup products or how to apply them – I decided to get some expert advice about what products I should use to look less sick.

This weekend I had an eye-opening experience that has changed my opinion about makeup forever. When I went to the drugstore to restock some toiletries and over-the-counter medications, I made a stop in the cosmetics department. I asked the sales associate what she would recommend to hide the dark circles that are ever-present under my eyes. She asked me how much coverage I wanted. I told her I want as much as I can get while still looking natural. She looked at me under the harsh fluorescent lights for a moment then went to grab a couple of tubes of product. One was a concealer the other was a BB cream. I’ve never used either product before.


The sales associate tried the concealer first. She matched the shade as close to my skin colour as possible. She put a few small drops on a makeup sponge and dabbed it on the skin below my lower eyelids then blended it into my skin with a small makeup brush. A few minutes later, I was stunned when I looked at myself in the mirror. The dark circles under my eyes were barely visible. My friend R was with me and could hardly believe the transformation. I finally stopped looking in the mirror long enough for the sales associate to put the BB cream on the rest of my face. When she finished, my face looked flawless and healthier than it has for a long time. The sales associate described it as a “dewy” glow. I like the word dewy. It makes me think of fresh fruit.

I left the drug store looking and feeling brighter with the help of a couple of tubes of makeup. The improved colour of my skin – even if it came from a tube and washes off – was all that was necessary to convince me to buy something. I bought the concealer because on its own it made a huge difference. Reducing the appearance of the dark circles under my eyes took five minutes and it made me look healthier instantly. If I decide I want the complete “dewy” look, I can always pick up the BB cream later. Now I have to teach myself how to apply the concealer so I get the same results I paid for, which isn’t a big deal when I think about how great five minutes of effort can make me look.


Colbie Caillat – Try


3 thoughts on “Concealing The Shadows Of Illness and Pain

  1. I love that song so much, and the video is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience with makeup and how your views on it are changing. My views on getting manicures changed in a similar way too. I was more on the tomboy side growing up too, and I still don’t like to wear makeup/jewelry, but I realized that feeling pretty and attractive really does something to my mood. In college, I realized that a fat pair of fake shiny studs from Claire’s made me feel more grown up (in a J Crew kinda way haha), and then after college, I discovered gel nails (they last for 3 weeks!) and was hooked. I used to make fun of my gf, who loves to get her nails done every 2 weeks. I felt like these habits were vain, not to mention expensive. But honestly, even with just my nails are done, those ready-to-conquer-the-day and yea-I-look-like-a-grownup feelings make it all completely worth it. On days when I’m down, I make it a point to get my nails done. Looking put together can really make you feel put together. It’s amazing how you can trick your brain that way into feeling better emotionally and physically. I’m glad you found this booster in a bottle of concealer! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂
      I was raised with the mantra “if you look good, you feel good” so the way I dressed was, and still is, something I put a lot of effort into. However, I’ve continued to be resistance to the things I consider “too girly”, including getting manicures. Although I agree that sometimes such small things can have a huge impact on your mood and overall state of mind.
      I’m glad that manicures can give you that boost 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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