Look Good Feel Better: Professional Beauty Tips to Get Through Chemo

A campaign aimed at helping women with cancer feel better about themselves reaches 750,000 served

Forget bad hair days – cancer means no-hair days. It also means brittle, darkened nails, eyebrow loss and pallor of someone fighting for her life. As a result, 37 percent of women with cancer avoid leaving the house because of how they look during treatment. One-third of women with cancer say their appearance affects their marriage. And, nearly half of women with cancer feel uncomfortable when someone even looks at them.

Look Good Feel Better, a campaign led by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association, have helped more than 750,000 of these women reclaim some of the self-esteem.

Through free workshops and webinars, women are taught how to apply make-up that minimizes blemishes and uneven skin tone, recreate lost eyebrows, shop for a wig, tie a turban…look better.

And here are the stories of three women who felt better because of it.

Linda Kramer Jenning: ‘People Didn’t Know I Was Chemo Girl’

First to go was her hair. Then, Jenning lost her eyebrows and eyelashes.

“I walked past a mirror and I would think ‘Frankenstein.’ With the no hair, no eyebrows, all the scarring and just the skin tone looking strange,” says Jenning, 61, who underwent chemotherapy after her breast cancer diagnosis one year ago. “And that could be a real downer.”

But with a little coiffing, Linda reclaimed her inner swan. “With the makeup and wig and everything, people didn’t know that I was chemo girl,” she says.

The makeup tricks and wig know-how came thanks to Look Good Feel Better, which ran a workshop at the hospital where Linda sought treatment. Two out of five cancer patients lose hair during treatment, according to Look Good Feel Better. During the session, she and other cancer patients were given free samples of make-up and other skin-care products. She learned how to pick the right foundation to match her changing chemo skin tone. And she learned how to pencil in eyebrows.

“These extra tips really gave me confidence,” Jenning says. “It really was transformative to have been looking at this bald lady in the mirror and then after I did all the magic, to look and wow you know, it was me, and it looked good.”

She is now cancer-free.

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