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Look Good, Feel Better

I’ve cried at my reflection more times than I can count.

As a gal with a chronic illness, the horror of staring into my bulging eyes, grey skin and tired dark circles so purple and bruised that it looked like I’d been hit in the face, made me scared to shower for fear of catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

But with a bit of concealer, blush, lashings of mascara and some eyeliner, my corpse-like face stopped looking so close to death, and gave me the courage to walk out my bedroom door.

That’s one of the very many reasons I love makeup.

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Retro CV, Hazel Grace style, circa 2011.

Though I rarely feel as bad as I did in the above photo, bad days still happen often.

When I feel like shutting all the doors, pulling the curtains and diving beneath a pile of blankets so heavy no one will ever find me, I take a moment to face my reflection, and be kind to it.

With brighter, more defined eyes, colour in my face, and bruises concealed, I feel human, and I am ready to be part of the world with the confidence illness all too often steals.

With this in mind, Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is something I am immensely passionate about, and will forever sing the praises of.

LGFB is an Australian program, that offers a free service for cancer patients, to teach them how to manage the way their illness and treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy affect their appearances.

Women, men and teenagers are taught everything from proper skin care to makeup application, and head-wear demonstrations.

The program is by no means huge, and is managed by a small team of staff, and volunteer support from cosmetic specialists, makeup artists and hairdressers, giving their expertise to help these sick individuals regain some confidence.

Without government funding, the program relies on the support of corporate and community support, one partner being Priceline Pharmacy.

Though there are many ways to get involved with the wonderful program, a new makeup brush collection now available from Priceline is an exciting new way to support the cause.

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Blush brush with Hourglass Incandescent Electra blush

The high-quality, synthetic, twelve brush collection is cruelty-free, allergy-free and suitable for sensitive skin.

15% from the sale of each brush will be donated directly to Look Good Feel Better, helping the estimated 10,000 people who will take part in the program this year.

I’ve purchased the blush brush, and the angle blending brush. Though bigger than my usual blush brush, is excellent for applying blush. Picking up just enough pigment and then buffing in perfectly. Works perfectly for bronzer, or just plain ol’ powder, too.

The angle blending brush is great for blending out eyeshadow edges, or even buffing in concealer.

If you feel like adding some brushes to your arsenal, I cannot recommend these more. Not just for the good cause, but the undeniable quality.

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Angled blending brush with Charlotte Tilbury The Vintage Vamp eyeshadow palette

Not too long ago, someone online wrote a pointed comment towards me, claiming that my money spent on makeup could be better spent on mental health care.

The fury that pulsed through my veins as I read that was enough to drive a woman to break things.

Image is directly related to wellbeing and confidence. It is hard enough to suffer any kind of illness, whether that physical or mental, and lose the state of health so many people take for granted, without losing the appearance you’ve had your whole life.

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Chronic illness can changed the way people see themselves, whether they like it or not. That “I look like crap” feeling doesn’t leave.

Every now and then my usually invisible illness rears it’s ugly head and becomes visible to me. Suddenly I want to hide myself away, I feel embarrassed to walk in public. I remember people staring at my thinning hair, falling out in chunks, my bone thin frame, and my face so devoid of colour it was frightening.

So if something as small as buying a few makeup brushes can help women, men and teenagers living with cancer across Australia feel good about themselves, and wake up each day with confidence, then it feels like the least I can do.

Look Good Feel Better brushes are available online here, or in stores. 

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*These were all purchased with my own money. 

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22 things I’ve learnt in 22 years

  1. There’s nothing wrong with caring about your appearance. If you want to take an hour in the morning to do your makeup, do it. If you like wearing tight dresses, go right ahead. If collared shirts are your thing, don’t listen to that girl you’re seeing who ribs you about it. Just because you like to feel good about yourself, doesn’t mean you’re vain.
  1. If in doubt, wash your hair.
  1. It’s important to make time to play musical instruments, and enjoy music. Don’t talk about how you’d like to learn to sing, or play the drums. Go out and buy the damn instrument, and get the damn lessons. It’s a lifelong skill, and in 30 years when you can still find the same level of enjoyment through music that you do now, you’ll be thankful you invested time and money.
  1. Family members don’t always have to be there, they don’t owe you anything. Just like anyone else, they can disappear if they really want to. So appreciate the ones who are here, and don’t ever take them for granted. Conversely, just because someone is family, doesn’t mean they deserve your respect.
  1. No one owes you anything. So don’t go expecting things.
  1. There are few things as refreshing as simply going outside. For extra special bonus points, go for a walk, or to the beach, or a walk on the beach.
  1. Don’t spend money you don’t have. But don’t forget to treat yo self.
  1. It is important to listen to other people, and heed advice from those who have either been in similar situations, or have the benefit of outsider perspective. Be intricately aware of your own fallibility.
  1. Doing things for yourself, or being a little bit selfish, doesn’t make you a bad person. It is necessary to think of yourself if you’re ever going to be capable of helping anyone else.
  1. There is no substitute for hard work. But there is also no substitute for talent.
  1. Crying is one of the most beautiful, natural things in the world. Don’t be ashamed for releasing the emotion. Its whole purpose is to help when you’re feeling shit, so go on and enjoy.tiLL3
  1. There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. Do what makes you happy! Be proud of every little idiosyncrasy that makes you so gosh darn unique, and revel in the beauty of individuality.
  1. There is nothing better than a best friend.
  1. Asking for help does not demonstrate weakness. It’s a sign of strength, courage and maturity. Even though it almost never feels like it.
  1. It’s important to step outside your comfort zone, and do things that scare you. Start a degree, go on exchange, become a commentator, start a blog. All these things may seem impossibly hard at the beginning, but I can’t remember a risk I’ve taken that didn’t pay off somehow.
  1. Natural brows are best. Eyebrows make the face. Don’t go too thick. Don’t go too thin. Pluck and wax minimally. Bold brows may be on trend, but practice filling in those motherfuckers to avoid looking more Bert from Sesame Street than Cara Delevingne. Also, Claire, be thankful for those naturally nicely shaped brows. Be really, genuinely thankful.
  1. Scars are just scars. The flesh is so genuinely unimportant in comparison to the other parts of a person, and as cheesy as it is, the right people will love you for the right reasons, deeply and unconditionally.
  1. It is never, ever okay to abuse or put up with abuse, whether emotional, verbal, physical, or financial. The good never, ever, ever outweighs the bad in an abusive situation. If you feel like you have to lie to cover up the bad parts of someone, then you need to gtfo.
  1. Seasons change. Things might feel enduringly, unbearably painful, but in every hard situation in my life thus far, things have either improved, or I have come to accept the situation for what it is, and proceeded to move forward onto better things.
  2. Appreciate the moment, right now, this very second. Time goes stupidly fast, and forever wishing away the day results in nothing more than depression at the lack of productivity and perceived happiness. Be mindful, be present, just be.
  1. No one is as perfectly jubilant as they appear in their online presence. Absolutely fucking no one. Don’t sit at home, staring at the computer, and hating yourself because of your comparison to your “friend’s” profiles. Never forget that the Internet is a carefully curated space.
  1. A cup of tea is always a good idea.
  1. You need to be kind to yourself. You are your own worse critic, by a long, long way. You have achieved so much, and every day you need to take a moment to appreciate that. You are so much more capable than you feel. You truly can do anything you put your mind to.
  1. I still have so much to learn.