Spoon Theory Beauty: How to Look Great When You Feel Like Crap
Beauty forums are by far my biggest source of inspiration for blog topics, so when I came across a reddit post titled “Advice for a spoonie for her daily routine?” I immediately saw what she was asking and knew it was something I wanted to talk about here.
If you don’t know about spoon theory, it’s a fantastic explanation of how everyday tasks can feel for people with chronic illnesses. Things that sap your energy and make you feel low-key shitty (or majorly shitty) all the time. I’ve been dealing with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and bouts of depression for most of my life, so the first time I read about spoons I was like ‘ah, yes, that’s exactly how it is.’ Fortunately I’m able to manage those pretty well with medications now, but of course there are still times when spoon conservation is a real concern.
Obviously I can only speak from my own experience, but these are some of the beauty hacks I use when I wake up with the feeling that I might not have the energy to get through the entire day.
Another note: it should go without saying, but my little tricks aren’t meant as away to avoid doctors. Getting any illnesses treated will go waaaaay further than some random little beauty tips.
It’s ok to skip it
Seems pretty obvious, right? But it’s true. Most of the time getting up and putting some work into my beauty routine is an important step in making me feel human but if I’ve had a bad night’s sleep or know it’s going to be a stressful day, sometimes it’s just not in the cards. If that extra 20 minutes of sleep is going to have a better payoff than the ‘I look fab’ feeling, I have no problem with rocking a ponytail, bare face and unshaven legs.
This could probably be a whole post in itself, especially for curly hair. Keeping the hair routine to a minimum is practically a way of life for me, because think about how much time and energy it takes. My bathroom mirror is up high enough that I have to stand up to see in it, and any sort of straightening/teasing requires me to hold my arms above my head for more than 30 seconds. Even on a good day I don’t usually want to deal with that!
The biggest thing that’s helped me is getting a cut that lets my hair do its own thing without too much interference from me. The pixie I sported for the last year or so was amazing for that – I’d just let it air dry then fluff it a little bit. Now that I’m letting my hair grow out, getting a dry cut (from Melanie @ You’ve Got Curls, for anyone in the central Kentucky-ish area) has been huge in helping me speed up styling time. I do use a hair dryer on it most days to get a little lift at the roots, but that’s it – none of the elaborate curl shaping I used to do to make sure it didn’t look wild.
Focus on skincare
The better my skin looks, the better I feel about days when dealing with makeup is just too much. Staying moisturized helps a ton, and so do occasional calming masks to help bring down any redness (I’m currently loving the REN Evercalm Ultracomforting Mask for that). Also in the evening, what’s more relaxing than laying back with a sheet mask and a couple of chilled tea bags on your eyes? You can also apply neck tightening cream if you have firming skin around the neck.
Take a seat
Way back in the day I used to do my makeup standing up at the bathroom counter. That was before I got my eyeballs lasered, so standing the whole time and leaning over constantly to check my work was exhausting. Plus I had no countertop storage, so I had to drag everything out and put it away every time. Getting a dedicated makeup table was amazing – I can sit the whole time, and if I don’t feel like putting everything back away immediately that’s alright. If you think you don’t have enough room for a vanity you may be surprised – at our old house mine was literally shoved in a closet.
On a similar note, there’s a lot to be said for picking the right tools to use for your makeup. Lighter, short-handled brushes don’t take as much physical effort to use, blending sponges weigh practically nothing, and choosing the right brushes for your products will cut down on how long it takes to apply.
Prep the day before
Sometimes it’s not even the ‘putting makeup on my face’ part that’s a pain, it’s deciding what products to use – what foundations play well with my skin right now, what colors of eyeshadow/blush/lipstick coordinate, finding everything. It sounds like a really small thing, and it is, but it still dips into the spoon stash. Putting everything out the night before (clothes too!) at least takes away that step when I’m rushed for time.
Make it permanent
For a long time the most tedious and annoying part of my makeup routine was drawing in my eyebrows. They barely exist, and getting them to match/worrying about accidentally wiping them off was kind of a drain. I eventually decided to get them tattooed on and it’s been great getting to skip that step.
Go with the bare minimum
After drawing eyebrows, the next most tiring and time-consuming part of my makeup routine is foundation. So when I’m not feeling it, I just don’t do it. So there! Some concealer, blush, mascara and a quick swipe of eyeshadow & lipstick is enough to make me feel put-together without going to to much trouble. My lazy day go-to’s post from a little bit ago very much applies here.
Fellow spoonies and busy people – what are your best tricks for paring down your makeup routine to make it more manageable?