When you’re being treated for cancer the changes in your appearance can have a big impact. Look Good Feel Better is the organisation providing workshops for women to offer advice on make-up, skincare, and a little bit of pampering as well, because sometimes what you really need is a bit of a makeover and a girly chat over a cup of tea. Here they give their guide to make-up …
Many women find that treatment has a negative impact on the features that normally define their face. This is particularly true if eyebrows and eyelashes are lost. Make-up can help to redefine your features and combat the ‘washed out’ look that treatment and tiredness can produce. Even if you don’t normally use make-up, a few skilfully applied products can really help to re-establish the ‘normal‘ you. Here is a list of products that Look Good Feel Better participants often find useful and some tips on how to choose them. Advice on how to apply the products can be found in the 12-step programme outlined later in this book, or in the accompanying DVD.
Helpful for correcting dark shadows under the eyes and for covering blemishes and flushing. There are several different types of concealer and it’s important to choose the right product for the job. For dark circles beneath the eyes, you will need a highlighting concealer; choose a product that is slightly lighter than your normal skin tone. Some of the newer highlighting concealer pens have light-reflecting particles which can really help to lift these dark areas. If you want to cover spots and blemishes, use a concealer product that is designed for this purpose; don’t use a highlighting concealer, as this will make them more prominent. If you suffer from high colour, blotchiness or flushing during treatment, you may also find it helpful to use a very small amount of colour correcting ‘green’ concealer under foundation for a while.
Evens out skin tone and provides a uniform canvas for defining other features. Treatment will probably make your skin drier, so choose a moisturising or hydrating foundation: avoid products labelled ‘oil-free’ or ‘mattifying’. Tinted moisturisers, creams and liquids are best for dry skins; mineral make-up is a popular alternative but the powder texture may leave your skin looking a little dry. Find the best shade by trying products along your jaw line in natural light: the right shade will blend into your skin, giving the most natural coverage. If medication gives your skin a pinky flush, select a yellow toned foundation which will help to neutralise the flushing. Products with added sunscreen are a good idea, although it’s best not to rely on foundation alone for sun protection.
‘Sets’ foundation and helps it to last longer. Either compact or loose products are fine; pressed powder in a compact takes up less space in a bag and is useful for touching up during the day.
Look for finely textured powder in sheer shades for the most natural look.
Brings the skin back to life, shapes the face and brightens the eyes. Blushers come in powders, creams, liquids or sticks: a cream blusher under powder is particularly good for drier skin and gives a natural look. As a general rule, blusher colour should be as close as possible to your natural colouring: look at your cheeks after you have been out in the cold, or pinch them gently. Women with lighter skin tones usually look best in pink or coral shades, while darker shades tend to work better with stronger skin tones.
Creates shape and gives definition to a lip line that may have lost its tone. Choose a colour that closely matches your natural lip colour and avoid darker shades. A nude pencil is the most universally flattering shade and works well for most people.
Lipstick, Lip Gloss and Lip Balm
A rich, moisturising lipstick will bring colour to your face and protect your lips from the elements. Look for products containing moisturising gels and avoid matt lipsticks, which may be too drying. Sheerer, lighter shades are more forgiving than darker colours, which can make lips look smaller. As a general rule, if your skin is pale and you are experiencing a red undertone due to your medication, stick to apricots and orangey tones. If your skin is darker, using a brighter colour will help to lift your skin tone. If you don’t want to use lipstick, sheer tinted gloss, lip balm or Vaseline will all help to moisturise dry or cracked lips. A lip product which includes sun protection is a good idea if you are out in the elements for any length of time.
Choosing make-up colours can be difficult, particularly if you have used the same products for a long time! You may already have a collection of favourite brushes and other kit in your make-up bag. If you do, be sure to check that brushes and other make-up tools are really clean, because you will be at increased risk of infection during treatment and for some time afterwards. Here is a check list of additional items that you might find particularly useful:
• Foundation brush (you may prefer to use a foundation sponge or clean fingers)
• Powder brush: a large brush to ‘set’ foundation
• Blusher brush: for application and contouring
• Tweezers for stray hairs: always tighten the skin with clean fingers first
Health and Hygiene Tips
During cancer treatment you are likely to be more vulnerable to infection due to suppression of your immune system. Because of this, hygiene is a top priority. When it comes to beauty products, here are the golden rules:
• Always wash your hands before using cosmetic products
• Always close lids and caps tightly after use
• Clean brushes and sponges regularly with warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow them to dry naturally
• Never share products or applicators with other people
• When shopping for cosmetics and skin-care products, test them on the back of your hand rather than your face and use cotton buds when trying eye make-up.
For more information and for a complete DVD Confidence Kit visit Look Good Feel Better.
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