"You Look So Good!" To Wear Make Up or Not?

Michelle Williams

Makeup can cover a multitude of defects; including some of the signs of our illnesses. I notice that when I wear makeup not only do I look better, but my demeanor changes as well. Makeup seems to be a little pick-me-up in the way I feel about myself, even if it is for a short time.

I realize that it may be a sign of vanity; that we should embrace what God has given us. I believe I am just enhancing what God has given me. What I mean is that I am just covering up the imperfections the many years of chronic illness has left behind and shining forth the image that God has originally created.

At the same time I also notice that people will treat me differently when I am wearing makeup. When I wear makeup I look healthier and in so doing I will get the old, “You look so good–you must be feeling better!” Don’t you just wish they would stop at, “You look so good”? When they add the other you feel like you need to explain yourself. “Thank you, but makeup covers a multitude of flaws. I really feel. . .”

Even my doctors will say something like that if I wear makeup to my appointments. When I don’t wear makeup to my appointment the doctor will ask if I am depressed. I will tell him, “No, I just want you to see how I feel as well. The yellowish complexion, the blotchy rash on my face and nose, the dark circles under my sunken eyes, the multitude of colors in my complexion. . .“

No matter what people may think or say, I wear makeup more for me. I seem to feel better about myself. I know it is just camouflaging the outward signs of my chronic illness, but at least every time I pass the mirror the multitude of times I have to go to the bathroom each day, I don’t have to see those many imperfections that my illnesses have left behind.

If wearing a little bit of makeup each day gives me a little pick-me-up then so be it. I just wish people would just stop at, “You look so good!”

About the Author: Michele Williams lives in a beautiful mountain community in Pennsylvania with her husband of 37 years who is a Pastor and Teacher at a Christian school. They have a grown daughter, son-in-law, teenage grandson and three furry children. Through the years the Lord has called them to various ministries in the United States where Michele has been involved in all aspects of church ministry in addition: Pastor’s Wife, Child Evangelism, Regional Women’s Ministry, Wellness Ministry, Speaker, Counselor and Writer.


Michele has experienced various life challenges including living with multiple chronic illnesses since 1985. Some of those include: fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, peripheral neuropathy, interstitial cystitis, IBS, chemical sensitivities, asthma, sleep apnea, and treated for SLE lupus (among other illnesses). She enjoys encouraging and informing others through her blog: Beelieve You Can!, http://www.beelieveyoucan.net


  1. says

    I have never worn makeup–not as a teen and not now as an adult. It is a combination of several things: not feeling well enough to stand in front of a mirror and put it on, not having ever learned how to put it on, and having sensitive skin. I still get those comments about how good I look without makeup on. I hate them–when they have a hidden agenda. “You look so good, why aren’t you working?” is much different than a real compliment. I wish people understood this.

    • says

      Yes, Sarah, I wish they would just stop at “You look so good.” Unfortunately I never get compliments when I do not wear make up. I don’t wear a lot either, but enough to try to cover the 25 plus years that chronic illness has left it’s cruel mark.

      My daughter is on disability due to mental illness. She will get comments as to why she does not work. They don’t understand the severe “mood” swings, depression etc… that she has with her bipolar.

      • says

        I suppose that after so many years it starts to show. I’ve had chronic pain since I was 8 years old (really severe pain didn’t start until two years ago, though) and I am now 25 years old. So I imagine that someday it will “catch up with me” and I will start to show signs of not feeling well. That just hasn’t happened yet.

        I know a lot of people really do mean well, but I wish most of them would just mind their own business. I mean, do people really think that a 25 year old CHOOSES to lay in bed all day in pain and not achieve her dreams? I don’t know anyone who would choose this life.

        {{{hugs}}} for you and your daughter. <3

      • says

        I’m so sorry you are going through so much pain at such a young age. You are so right – I too do not know anyone who would choose this life. I used to tell my family that I wish they could live in my “shoes” for just one day.

        I will pray for you sweet Sarah. Dear Heavenly Father, we ask that you would bring some relief from the pain and bring comfort to Sarah. We ask that her family and friends would be more understanding of Sarah’s chronic illness. Bring into her life those who will be able to assist her and encourage her. We ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

      • says

        Thank you so much! Prayers are all I’ve got most days… :)

        I wouldn’t wish this pain or illness on anyone long term, but it would be nice if people could experience it just for a short time so they understand a little bit what it is like. I get so sick of the comments like “oh yeah I get a migraine once a month–I TOTALLY understand what you deal with”. heh!

  2. Tammie says

    Since getting sick, I have become so sensitive to everything I absolutely cannot wear make up. Plus, my hand shakes so putting it on would be a mess. Even though I have never worn much of it in the past, and am now often too exhausted to put any on, and I barely ever go anywhere anymore, I still hate that I don’t ever have the choice to put any on. I miss being able to play around with it and to feel more dressed up and prettier like I used to.

    • says

      I certainly have my days that I do not wear makeup. Actually more frequently these days. Some days I just wear foundation because I too may have the shakes and cannot put on eye makeup. I certainly wear less makeup than I used to.

      One thing I started to do several years ago was to always get dressed in the morning when I first get up. As much as I just want to lay around in my PJ’s, I make sure I get dressed. I may not put on make up or do my hair, but at least I am out of the PJ’s. Even if it’s just blue jeans and a t-shirt.

      Have you tried some of those make ups for sensitive skin? I too have to be careful of what I have next my skin.

      Lord, I pray for Tammie right now. I ask that you bring her rest, peace, healing and comfort. I ask that you show her how much she is loved and that she is a beautiful woman of God. In Jesus name, amen.

  3. Sharon says

    I wear it. I have no choice but to work and I drag my exhausted and in pain self to the office each day. Even with make up people often say you look tired. Guess what? I am way beyond tired ! Then others say the typical oh you look good you must be feeling better. They will never get it so I stopped trying to explain myself.

    • says

      So true, I find myself smiling at them and say, Thank you. They will never understand unless they go through it themselves.

      I know you must be exhausted! Pray the Lord will give you strength each day to do your job. Blessings,

    • says

      Thank you for sharing this article. I too had tried selling makeup. I just do not have the strength anymore. If I could just sell online that would be fine, but it does take time and most of my friends and family do not wear make-up. But it is important that we try to look our best with whatever we have or able to do. Blessings….

  4. Jamie says

    I always explain to my closest friends that chances are, the more make up I am wearing, the worse I really feel. Its like a band-aid for me. I try hard to appear normal, not washed out, exhausted. The harder I try, the worse I am.

    • says

      Oh so true! Most of the time I cannot hide all the flaws, but at least I “think” I am. LOL…. Those closest to us can “read” our eyes. Our eyes can always tell on us as to how we feel.


  5. Michelle says

    I’m so glad you wrote this! I feel the same way about make-up. And as my grandmother said, a little red paint never hurt the side of an old barn.

    I loved it when I heard an older lady in our church reply to the “you look so good comment.” She firmly said, “well I wish I looked worse and felt better.” Ha, I wish I had her spunk sometimes!

    I am personally tired of people telling me that I need to stop spending money on hair and make-up and that I’m being vain. My personal beliefs about myself don’t change according to how I look, but when I look dowdy I just feel dowdy. It’s just the reality of it.

    I’m glad to see that others feel the same way as me!

  6. Tracy Whittle says

    I too suffer from chronic illness. Lupus SLE being the most prominent. I had to post a comment about makeup. Even though I look healthier with it, it is bad for us. The chemicals used in makeup are detrimental to autoimmune disease. I find that when using makeup the chemicals cause a flare up because the body is not used to it.

    With that said, I still use it for the horrible fatique and pain that shows up on my face. At age 49 I sometimes look much older. When I wear makeup to my doctor’s appointment, he says, you look too good to be sick. WHAT? That is a man’s response btw.

      • admin says

        Tina, I am so very sorry of the loss of your husband I am sure you are still reeling and people can say the dumbest things when they are grasping for the right words. I hope you have someone to turn to who will just listen when you need to talk.

  7. kelly says

    I’ve gone to see my doc every month, with and without makeup. Most of the time he comments on how good Im looking. Friends and family also compliment on how good I look. IM thinking..well if you could see how I feel on the inside..”they” wouldn’t be saying much of anything positive. I try to keep my attitude and thoughts positve but I have my days. I find that when I do put a little makeup on I do feel better about my appearance. I don’t want to hide my face when in public. I just wish this Fibro would vanish and I could live my life as I did before. Outgoing, positive and a hard worker.

    • lea says

      Make up helps because it gives you a mental lift. Are you seeing a Rheumatologist? You need a multifaceted treatment plan. Physical therapy is hard at first but does so much good in the long run. Yoga or even just stretching helps me significantly. It is important not to fall into the pain med trap. I take tramadol 2-3 times a day low caffeine (I know but it helps) . Ice packs when I hurt and lots of yoga. A good night’s sleep is critical as lack of sleep causes muscle aches to become so much worse. It is not easy but it can be done. As a nurse I have a hard time with people who show up on the first or second visit with disability papers when they haven’t even given the therapy a chance… sometimes I feel like all everyone wants is portable and disability… when I tell them that I have it too so I know how you hurt it is always,” but you don’t hurt like I do… PT is painful and I need lortab or percocet .” Sorry to rant but I hurt daily, too and I am here trying to help them and they are whining after two sessions about how the therapy isn’t working. It takes a little time. Sorry. Did it again …

  8. Arden B. says

    I found this website by accident, I find that people don’t give me a second look when I tell them that I’m mentally ill. I wear make up to “look more normal”, but inside, it’s a constant struggle.

    When I tell people that I’m mentally ill, they almost always get scared and leave. What people don’t see is that it hurts me on the inside. It’s not just being Borderline Personality, it’s also the Autism.

    This site has made me feel better, that mental illness is not the only invisible disease.

  9. Kinder says

    I have Interstitial Cystitis Chronic Bladder Pain Syndrome ICBPS.I have always loved and enjoyed make up.I too get very shaky and find it difficult to apply liquid liner and mascara.I too get tired of people saying you look really well.Just that comment will annoy me let alone the rest of the comment.People just do not understand and I no longer wish to educate them.I just do not bother any more.Make up does hide many flaws and for me it certainly is a mask to hide behind.It would be great to look bad but feel good.I am a master at hiding pain.I can deceive even those people who are close to me.Warm wishes

    • Danae says

      Kinder, I have PBS/IC too, along with fibroymalgia. It often correlates.

      I’m also shaky applying makeup, my hand dexterity is shocking (I have locked spinal joints too which could be contributing).

      I rarely wear makeup anymore and not as much. Time to get an eyelash tint I think! I definitely do feel a bit better when I wear makeup but usually too exhausted to apply it. Especially with shaky hands lol.

  10. jason says

    i have many chronic illness i have ulceritive collitis, constant anxiety attacks. both my legs are completely junk after a car accident last year. Born with severe club feet and i still work as a mechanic even though i have been warned not to,to have something to do instead of sitting home collecting goverment money. chronic illness is not a disabilty as far as i am concerned. its all how you manage it.

    • admin says

      Jason, I agree that it does feel better to work than to not, but just a gentle reminder that everyone has different stages of different diseases. Many illnesses begin as just illnesses, like mine of rheumatoid arthritis, but having had it 19 years I have many physical disabilities now because of it. I think I have a pretty good attitude, having the two illness organizations, but it doesn’t change my deformed feet, hands, knees, etc. I am having PT this morning on a knee and shoulder to try to keep them working. I also was “down” with the flesh eating bacteria in 2008 for months. there are many seasons of illness and some are disabling.

  11. says

    Oh my goodness you took the words I been feeling and expressed it so beautifully I got teary eyed reading this. Its ‘totally how I feel . I wont even leave the house with out makeup on.
    Love this post thanks so much.


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