Whether you are at the start of your cancer treatment, or some way into your journey, amidst all the treatment, information on some of the little things such as your make-up, skin tone, hair, and nails often get neglected. The thing is though, those aren’t little things, attention to those details are the things that can actually make you feel looked after, a fact that cancer support charity, Look Good … Feel Better , takes very seriously. Running make-up and skincare workshops to help women feel a bit more like themselves throughout cancer, their work is invaluable. Here, Regional Co-ordinator for Poole, Sam Day, explains how and why she got involved …
How did you start working with Look Good … Feel Better?
I was asked if I’d like to go along to a Look Good … Feel Better (LGFB) meeting 19 years ago. I instantly enjoyed it and understood the whole concept of LGFB, and for many years attended workshops in Southampton as a volunteer.
What do you do when you are not volunteering?
My job today is very different from hair and beauty, in which I trained and had a career when leaving school. I run the admin and accounts for our upholstery business.
What are the main things women worry about when it comes to their skincare and make-up routine when they are being treated for cancer?
I think most of the ladies we help feel less confident when they have cancer; they notice a difference in the appearance and texture of their skin; and while many women realise that they may lose their hair during treatment, losing eyebrows and eyelashes, and suffering other demoralising and distressing visible side effects can be the last straw
What do you advise them?
Many of the ladies are experiencing more than one change in their appearance and they take time to adjust. At a LGFB workshop we can turn a lot of that negativity around and help them carry on their normal activities with renewed confidence.
What problems can chemotherapy cause?
Chemotherapy can dry the skin making it more sensitive to products and redder than usual.
What should you be looking to avoid in your make-up and skincare products while undergoing treatment?
Good advice would be to stick to 100% fragrance free and dermatologically tested products.
What, in your experience, do women most enjoy about the workshops?
The ladies really enjoy the two hours of getting together with other people going through similar problems and needs. They all relax very quickly and enjoy the wonderful box of products given to them at the start of the workshop. As you can imagine, the change is so much more than skin deep. The extraordinary boost to self confidence and self esteem has to be seen to be believed. One of the amazing things is the laughter and friendships that are made; women no longer feel alone. Smiles and giggles abound as products are demonstrated and tried out – sometimes for the first time in a long while. Seeing people ‘find’ themselves again is wonderful to see.
What’s the best thing anyone has ever said to you after a workshop?
We receive many letters from the ladies reflecting on their time spent at the workshops and thanking us for our time and expertise. I feel privileged to be able to be a very small part of what they are experiencing and watching their confidence grow during the workshop. I think the best pleasure is seeing their faces at the end, happy and looking beautiful, and not wanting to go home as they have made new contacts in such a short time. Then I think to myself “that’s a job well done!”
What one piece of advice would you give any woman who has just been diagnosed with cancer?
Don’t suffer alone. Learning some make-up and skincare ‘tricks of the trade’ and sharing experiences with other women undergoing treatment can be the first step towards regaining control and moving forward. Looking better and feeling more confident can help ladies maintain the kind of positive support that is so vital.
Help raise £10,000 for Look Good Feel Better by buying one of their HOT PINK ‘KISSES’ for £1 at available at The Perfume Shop throughout June!
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