Women rarely think they are beautiful. I never have. Especially after picking up copy of InStyle. You wish you hair was as straight or without frizz. You wish you looked that good in skinny jeans, or had toned arms like that.

Yet, if you get diagnosed with cancer, your focus on beauty changes.

You don’t wish you had pretty arched eyebrows. You just wish you had eyebrows. You don’t care about how pretty that hair color is, you just want hair. It is at that moment, you know that all of your focus on eyebrow plucking (or the latest hairstyle that you obsessed over before)….means nothing. Your battle to find the perfect pair of skinny jeans turned into the battle of a life.

look good feel better

If you haven’t battled cancer, but have had a mother, sister, aunt, or best friend who has battle cancer, you’re own understanding of beauty shifts too. As you can see the tone of their dermis turn sallow, you also see the light in their eyes burning bright with their determination. It is not the style of her hair you admire, but the strength they show. You realize, with their grace, that beauty is really not from the outside, but from within.

The definition of beauty changes.

However, the staring eyes, the curiosity, the fear, in the face of strangers, can make any woman (even if beauty is less important than it once was) to find ways to look good. After tough days of chemotherapy and radiation, getting pampered to feel better, can strengthen flagging spirits.

Twenty-five years ago (in 1987), a program called Look Better, Feel Better launched; a collaboration between The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation (now the Personal Care Products Council Foundation) and the American Cancer Society and the National Cosmetology Association. A year later, the first pilot programs began in NYC and DC. By 2005, the program is in 19 countries, providing resources and services like a makeover tool and beauty app.

Beauty Tips for Cancer Patients and Survivors

LookGoodFeelGood.org has served over 700,000 women with step-by-step makeover learning sessions led by cosmetology professionals using products donated by the cosmetic industry to help match new skin tones, and professional advice on how to deal with hair loss using wigs, scarves, hats, hairpieces, and other accessories.

You can find the services at the American Cancer Society offices, participating hospitals and in some salons. Plus, you can find tools online at the LookGoodFeelBetter.org website or by requesting at-home self-help tools through the site too.

There is a online virtual makeup tool on LookGoodFeelBetter.org where you can upload your own photo (or use a standard pre-loaded photo on the site) to play around with makeup ideas like eyebrows shapes and eyeliner or eyeshadow or different lipstick. On the side, there are tips on applying it yourself.

Here’s what mine looked like. I did pick the more dramatic options so you could see it, but there are lots of colors, ways to apply mascara and eyeliner, hair styles and colors to play with. The pink dots you see, are where you can even change the angle of the hair!

beauty tips for cancer patients

If you share your virtual makeover results on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #ReimagineBeauty, you can be entered to win a trip to the National Women’s Survivors Convention in Nashville, TN (July 31-August 2). You can find full details on the site!

If you are fighting cancer or know someone that is, share the Look Good Feel Better site with them. Maybe, for a minute, they can be reminded that they are beautiful, inside and out.

I participated in this program on behalf of Look Good Feel Better and The Motherhood. No compensation was accepted. All opinions are my own.

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