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Women with CVID and chronic illness often go through life dealing with the never-ending nerve pain of symptoms from autoimmune disorders like Fibromyalgia or pushing through the energy-sucking, bone-tired feeling of Chronic Fatigue. In my case, in addition to these lovely autoimmune disorders, I endure constant pelvic and back pain from Interstitial Cystitis; dry, sandy-feeling eyes, nose and mouth from Sjogren’s Syndrome; and joint aches and pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What most people, including my extended family members, don’t see is what’s left of my thinning, scraggly hair or the huge circles under my eyes from nights of poor sleep.
What is also not seen is the hard work, time, and energy involved just to look “normal” when I know I have a family celebration coming up or I want to attend a choir concert at my son’s school. As a mother, I want my sons to see me looking presentable most of the time so they don’t worry. I’m not talking pearls and heels here, just, well, “normal.”
Over the course of the last couple years I’ve discovered some products by trial and error that help me look and feel better. Try them out! My best products for women with CVID may not work for you, but who knows you might just find a gem!
I’m fair complected. I’m German-Irish so I have pale, thin skin that exaggerates the purple circles under my eyes (lucky me). I only tried this stuff about a month ago and it’s my single favorite make-up item I use almost every single day that I feel well enough to wear make-up that is! (Plus, it’s super inexpensive!) If you’re fair-skinned like me with pink undertones (the skin around your eyes, nose, mouth tends to look pink or reddish in color), try the #402 Peach Neutral shade.
This concealer also comes in green undertones and more yellow undertones for other skin colors. Here’s a great post I found that helped me decide what color to try and don’t worry, you can always return or exchange the concealer on Amazon within 30 days in most cases if you order the wrong color.
2. SPRAY TAN + JERGENS NATURAL GLOW FIRMING DAILY MOISTURIZER + JERGENS NATURAL GLOW INSTANT SUN SUNLESS TANNING MOUSSE
It’s a fact of life…everybody looks better with a little “glow” and for fair-skinned Zebras like me, I look and feel a lot healthier with a tan! That is why spray and self-tanning top my list of the best products for women with CVID!
Since I’m so over the use of tanning beds because I’ve already had a lovely little bout of Basil Cell Carcinoma, I spray tan! Check out your local tanning places online first to discover which ones have spray-tanning booths (most do nowadays) and their price per spray tan. Since I spray tan at least once a week, it was more cost effective to join their basic monthly subscription “club” which allows me unlimited spray tanning.
Here’s a few tips though if you are a newbie to spray tanning (from me and from my expert gals at my local tanning salon):
- Unless I’m wanting that “bronzed” healthy glow right way for an event that day/night, choose the clear (no tinted bronzer) spray. Don’t worry! The color will develop over the next 6 to 24 hours and I find it lasts longer. Plus, it doesn’t get all over your clothes, bed sheets, etc…like the tinted bronzer spray.
- Don’t choose the darkest spray tan color. It will look fake and we are just trying to look healthy and glowing, right?!
- Try to spray tan when you aren’t wearing a full face of make up because the spray color will just sit on top of the make up instead of soaking into your skin.
- Shave, shower and exfoliate in the shower with your shower puff or exfoliating body scrub before you spray tan. Doing this the day before if preferred, but sometimes it’s the day of for me!
- Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! So, moisturize with body oil or lotion after you get out of the shower so your skin will evenly absorb the spray tan color.
- This is probably blasphemy, but I don’t get the moisturizing spray, extra leg passes, blah, blah, blah…that most tanning places will try to upsell you on. If you do shave, shower, exfoliate and moisturize thing before you don’t need all that extra stuff and you’ll save money. (Oh, and I don’t buy the lotions they sell there that claim to boost the length of your spray tan. They’re too pricey!)
- Spray tan naked! Why not?! No tan lines and your undergarments won’t get covered in the solution!
- You will most likely find a hair net in your spray tanning room. Pull your hair back into a messy bun with a ponytail holder and put the hair net on. Obviously, this will keep the color off of your hair! However, for a more natural tanned look, pull the front of the hair net back about an inch from front hairline and behind your ears so that they get some color too! Make sure the hair net is also pulled up about an inch from the back nape of your neck as well.
- You will also find what’s called barrier cream in your spray tanning room. Put this on last. Apply a good amount to the bottoms of your feet, back of your heels, and in between and on top of your toes. Then, apply a good amount to the palms of your hands, inside and in between your fingers, and over your nails and cuticles.
- Once inside the booth, make sure to look up slightly when facing front so the under side of your chin gets sprayed. Then, look down slightly when facing back so the back of your neck get sprayed.
- Finally, visit the restroom before you leave and wash your hands. If you are worried about washing off the color from the tops of your hands, at least wash the insides and your fingers just in case the barrier cream didn’t work so well that day or you missed a spot.
In between spray tans or when I’m not feeling well enough to get out and get my tan on, I use both Jergens Natural Glow Firming Daily Moisturizer and Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse. I put on dishwashing gloves to keep my hands from turning that orange color and I squeeze a bit of both into one glove-covered palm, spread it around into both glove-covered palms, and then apply focusing on one section of my body at a time (i.e. legs, stomach and chest, arms and shoulders, neck and face). I’ve used these for a long time, especially when I was a professional dancer, to cover tan lines plus the mousse has this amazing shimmer to it that just makes your skin glow!
3. WIGS AND HAIR PIECES
This will be a post all unto itself eventually, but I’ll provide a shortened version here. I get that a lot of people think wearing wigs or hair pieces is unusual or weird, but I’m here to tell ya Zebras that literally everyone you see in movies, online, in magazines and on T.V. are sportin’ them! Did you think they all just had thick, lush, perfect hair?!
Now, I’m used to wearing wigs and hair pieces because of my dancing career (there were no poles involved folks!). They used to be quite expensive and some still are; but today you can find quality human and synthetic wigs and hair pieces that are realistic and inexpensive. For these reasons, wigs and hair pieces make my list of best products for women with CVID!
Here’s a list of the wigs and hair pieces I use as a blonde, but they all come in many other hair colors too:
Christie Brinkley 17″ Long Heat Friendly Wrap Around Ponytail Hairpiece 3 Prong Comb – I use this when I wear hats (which I wear a lot!) or alone if I want a ponytail because the hair piece completely covers my thin, little pony and looks more natural when wore alone. This is synthetic hair that you can use a curling iron on.
Hair2wear Natural Hair Wrap by Christie Brinkley – This is a messy bun that you just wrap around your own “mini bun” if you have one or pin in place. This looks very real too!
I have found that any wig I try with Raquel Welch’s name on it is top notch quality! The above three wigs are made with heat-friendly, synthetic fiber so you can use a blow dryer, curling iron, straightener, etc… on them! This wig looks so natural and considering most real-looking wigs cost upwards of $2000.00, you just can’t beat it!
Donut Chignon Clip in Hair Bun Extension Blond Ballerina Synthetic Hairpieces Drawstring Updo Hair Piece For Women– This provides for an easy hair do and looks cute and trendy right now!
OneDor 24″ Curly Kanekalon Premium Synthetic Lace Hair Wig (Gradient Bleach Blonde) – This is a wig that covers your whole head and the soft, realistic-looking synthetic hair is attached to a lace (looks like netting) cap that helps it look more realistic. This is by far one of my favorite wigs ever and you just can’t beat the price! I own three already and now I’m so excited to see that they have a new color out too – Caramel Highlights!
Jon Renau Easi Hair “Drew” Wig – This wig is one of my most realistic looking wigs. The hair can be heat-styled and has a lace, monofilament top that allows for multi-directional parting. Because the hair is synthetic it can frizz at the ends, but this wig has lasted over a year for me and I am still wearing it.
Follea Human Hair Wig – This wig I was fitted for at Bravada’s, an awesome wig store in Kansas City. I was told it is the most luxurious wig you can buy because the hair is European. The hair truly is so soft and I can style it with any heated tools I want in any way I want! This wig is more expensive, but will last forever if cared for properly!
I don’t know what it is about this stuff, but it just makes my skin look amazing! It has a little bit of shimmer to it and it just makes my skin look flawless! On days that I feel well enough to wear makeup, I wear this magical cream as my foundation.
I first used this bronzer because I received it as a free sample with another order. It adds a subtle glow to my face and just makes me look healthy. I apply it to my forehead, temples, hollows of cheeks, top of nose, around mouth, under chin, down neck and onto chest so it looks natural and blended.
CVID Zebras have trouble fighting off fungal infections including yeast infections. Uh, Yuck! I have found that using these regularly help me ward off yeast infections.
Using hemorrhoidal cream on puffy under eye circles is an old trick used by pageant ladies and dancers! It helps reduce the puffiness from lack of sleep! It works!
Luckily, my eyelashes did not fall out when I lost the hair on my head; however, I have light eyelashes naturally. I have used this eyelash dye kit for a couple of years now and it allows me to ditch the mascara on my “low” days. Plus, it lasts forever so I’ve only ever bought it twice!
I naturally have very light blonde eyebrows and they are sparse these days. When I wear makeup, making my eyebrows visible and natural looking is one of the most difficult tasks for me. This eyebrow tinting kit defines my eyebrows for me! I don’t even have to bother with an eyebrow pencil and/or any of the other whole host of eyebrow products out there now!
Well, this is my list of best products for women with CVID all of which I actually use and can not live without! Even though I have CVID, I am no different than many other women in wanting to look and more importantly feel better when I go out in public or even at home on one of my “high” days. (I classify my days as high or low depending on how I’m feeling.)
What products have you discovered that work for you? Please comment and share!
This Zebra needs all the help she can get!
Stay strong my Zebra friends!