Confidence-boosting beauty tips for women with cancer

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Look good, feel better.

Finding out you have cancer is life-changing, and the added stress of the visible side effects can feel overwhelming. The fact that we are in a pandemic isn’t exactly helping matters either.

As well as the physical and emotional changes people experience when going through cancer, cancer treatment can cause challenges to your beauty routine – like changes to skin tone, redness, sparse eyebrows and eyelashes, thinning or loss of hair, brittle and damaged nails – thus impacting your body confidence.

That’s why charities like Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) are so vital. LGFB is a national charity that runs free  skincare and makeup workshops and masterclasses all over the UK to help women and teenagers combat the visible side effects of treatment. The group sessions are led by volunteer beauty professionals who teach people useful techniques, such as dealing with complexion changes and how to draw on missing eyebrows. As a lot of cancer patients can attest, it’s tackling these small daily beauty conundrums that can help you feel like yourself again.

Pre-Covid, this epic charity was working through 141 hospitals and cancer support centres and now, through the power of Zoom, they offer a range of sessions and free online workshops that are full of practical and effective tips and techniques to help you look after your skin, hair and nails to help you look and feel stronger and more confident.

With World Cancer Day taking place on February 4, the beauty volunteers have shared their best beauty tips with GLAMOUR UK and we highly recommend joining a session if you’re looking for a few tips to feel like yourself again.

Cleansing rituals

Cleansing your skin properly is vital at any time; it removes dirt, pollution and keeps things feeling fresh and it’s a beauty step that most people practise daily. During and after cancer treatment, it’s important to use hypo-allergenic cleansing products suitable for sensitive skin and not to rub or drag the skin. A good cleansing routine includes eye makeup removal, skin cleansing and toning with a gentle, non-stripping facial toner. Balm cleansing products are particularly good as they are really hydrating so be sure to check those out.

The moisturizing routine to know

Skin will often become drier during treatment, so it is essential to moisturize regularly. “Make sure you use gentle products and apply with light massaging movements – and don’t forget your neck!” say the pros. Be sure to let the Moisturiser settle into your skin properly before applying your foundation or face powder. “Try adding a serum into your routine, these are wonderfully hydrating and can help calm the skin,” say LGFB pros.

Embrace a green colour corrector

Chemotherapy can cause high colour, flushing and blotchiness and according to the experts, using a green color corrector can help to even out skin tone and disguise redness. “Apply a very small amount to affected areas before your foundation. Be careful as a little goes a long way – you don’t want to end up looking like Shrek,” they joke.

How to tackle eyebrows

Drawing on missing eyebrows can seem daunting at first, but with a little practice, you’ll be amazed at the results. There are lots of products on the market including pencils, gels and powders. “Pencils are best if you have completely lost your brows and chose a shade that is the same colour or slightly lighter than your natural hair colour,” they suggest.

The power of eyeliner

Eyeliner adds instant shape and definition to your eyes and it can also help to create the illusion of eyelashes if they are missing. Using a soft eyeliner pencil, start at the outer corner of your eyelid and slowly work your way in, going as close to the lash line as possible. Use a cotton bud to gently soften the line.

The power of Lipstick

If there is one cosmetic product that can cheer someone up instantly, it’s lipstick – and there’s hue to suit every skin tone and mood. Lips may become dry during treatment so look for lipsticks that having moisturising properties. Stick with more neutral shades and avoid berry and red colours, which can highlight redness.

Nail it

Nails can become drier, thinner and more brittle during treatment so it is important to look after them, it’s a good idea to use hand cream and cuticle oil regularly. Nail polish can help to keep nails strong and protected but be gentle when you take it off and use an acetone-free remover.

For more information on Look Good Feel Better – and to join a free session – be sure to check out their website, which has a plethora of information.