If you’d have asked any of my friends just a few months ago whether I’d be writing a ‘lifestyle’ skincare post, they’d all have laughed.
I am, admittedly, almost entirely incompetent when it comes to all things hair and makeup related – although I know many disability bloggers who are killing in that area – expressing themselves in the most creatively beautiful ways. I always seemed to go in another direction – my ill-health made me ditch my love of pretty dresses in favour of jumpers and leggings (luckily I’m re-embracing fashion again!) and often made me neglect even simple skincare. On a bad day, I’d be lucky to run a face wipe over my skin and brush my teeth, let alone thinking about even cleansing, toning, and moisturising.
A few years ago, I developed a histamine intolerance that left me literally only able to use water for a year. As time has passed, I’ve become more able to use products again, but it’s still incredibly hit and miss. The more ‘natural’ ones may cause me to react (although the reaction would always be a rash-less itch, feeling incredibly sick, or in the case of my beloved Chanel lipstick, like I’d been punched in the face).
When I looked in the mirror, I could see my ill-health. My skin was peeling off, I had a lot of discolouration, I looked (as my boyfriend will now admit) grey. So whilst I may be lacking in the talent (and patience) to do much about makeup and hair (although after 15 years of hair straighteners I am finally embracing my curls), I thought that it was time to stop neglecting my body, and start investing some time, love, and yes, money into how I looked. Little did I know, it would help me feel more comfortable, confident and secure in my body than I ever had before.
So when my best friend Lucy briefly introduced me to the concept of Korean skincare, I dove head first, and quickly became a total convert.
You may have heard of their infamous 10-step routine (which I’ll go into in detail next month). Yes, it seems excessive, but boy oh boy do I love it.
Three or so months in, I look like a different person. I’m literally glowing. My skin is hydrated, my stress wrinkles have all but disappeared, as has the vast majority of my hyper pigmentation. I remain pale as all get out, and my panda eyes haunt me (although my friend swears they’ve decreased), but the difference is so drastic that I can’t stop staring at my face in the mirror.
But the biggest change is in how I feel about myself.
When I feel bad, I often neglect myself more, only showering when I’m seeing someone, often turning into a sweaty cocoon in bed until I’m forced out. I used to hate looking in the mirror and seeing the hollowed out shell of a person my illnesses were turning me into, no matter how much I ‘got on with things’ on the outside.
It may sound shallow, but finally learning to take time to look after, and look good for, myself has been such a wonderful surprise. I personally find it hard to love my body that’s constantly battling pain, subluxations, unknown symptoms, crazy hormone swings and weight fluctuations. But by taking out time twice a day in front of a mirror to treat my body with love and care, instead of anger and frustration, I’m learning to accept it more every day.
Of course, we’re all different and a big skin regime may not do anything for you. And maybe it all sounds a bit wishy washy, but I don’t really care. It’s something that has helped me feel just a little bit lovely (and I look FABULOUS), and I’m going with it.