Cosmetic program helps cancer patients regain their appearance,
fortify their strength to battle ...
By Natalie White, Standard-Times
Roseann DeGrenier carefully explained the layering technique to emphasize
the eyebrows. First, you pencil in the line of small hairs, following
the natural arch. Then use a brush to create a feathery look, and again
pencil in more hairs.
"A very natural look," she told the group of more than a dozen women
who met last month in Wareham. The cosmetologist advised them that bushy
eyebrows are in this year, along with heightened cheek color and near-nude
Next, the Wareham woman picked up a pair of dark demi-lashes. "Now,
does anyone have trouble with eyelashes?" she asked.
Barbara Nord of Wareham nodded. "I do," she said. "I don't have any."
The other women murmured knowingly. They are familiar with eyelashes
falling out, as well as eyebrows and the hair on their heads. They have
cancer, and know firsthand the toll chemotherapy and radiation can take
on a patient's appearance.
In most cases, hair loss is a temporary condition, but it is a constant
reminder of the cancer. To help women through this time, The
American Cancer Society, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association
Foundation and the National Cosmetology Association have banded together
to offer a free program for cancer patients called Look
Good, Feel Better.
"This is a great program. You come and see you're not the only one dealing
with this. Sometimes, you feel very alone," said Ms. Nord, who was diagnosed
in August with inoperable lung cancer.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are slightly improving her condition,
she said, but hair loss is also occurring. Ms. DeGrenier, owner of Ara's
His & Hers Hairstyling in Wareham, led this group in November at the
Wareham Free Public Library.
"This is so rewarding for me," she said. "At first when I started (working
with cancer patients), I was so emotional and I thought, 'I've made
the wrong decision.' But after my first client was
so happy and happy just to look more like herself, I said, 'This
is really what I want to do.'"
During the program, she gives her clients beauty tips ranging from how
to wear a scarf and re-create eyebrows to checking skin products to
make sure they don't contain excessive alcohol and using shoulder pads
to fill out a wig that doesn't fit quite right.
Claire Hickey, 41, is battling breast cancer.
She drove from Braintree for the program because she wanted advice on
how to twist, tie and knot scarves so they fit securely and attractively
over the scalp and under hats. Ms. Hickey lost her hair during cancer
treatment and has been left with baby-fine fuzz on her scalp, which
she covers with a stylish short-haired wig. But it's not always comfortable.
When she wants a break from the hairpiece, especially when she's at
home, Ms. Hickey said she'd like to cover up with a scarf - and she'd
like to look good doing it.
"You don't want people looking at you and saying, 'Doesn't she look
funny in that hat,' " said Ms. Hickey, who was Ms. DeGrenier's model
during the Look Good, Feel
Better session. She said the program really helped. When she looks
better, it allows her to forget the cancer for a while. "When you look
in the mirror and you look awful, it brings it all to the forefront,"
Ms. Hickey said.
"A program like this really helps." Mary Peterson, a licensed clinical
social worker with a specialty in oncology, agreed. She leads the Woman
To Woman support group at The Oncology Center in Dartmouth, an eight-week
support program for women newly diagnosed with cancer. One of the weeks
is devoted to a Look Good, Feel Better program, presented at The Oncology
Center by Gloria & Company of New Bedford. Participants take home not
only tips but a gift bag of cosmetics worth more than $100, donated
by cosmetic companies.
"It's a wonderful chance for them to be with others who are going through
similar experiences and learn how to experiment with makeup. It's a
time to laugh and have fun," said Ms. Peterson.
The physical changes that can come with cancer
treatment can be devastating, she said.
"For 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 years, these women have been used to having
their own hair, and doing it a certain way. They're used to having their
complexion be a certain way," said Ms. Peterson. "Then, all of sudden,
you're slammed between the eyes with a diagnosis of cancer, then chemotherapy,
radiation or surgery. They lose their hair, their eyebrows, their eyelashes.
They feel as if they've been robbed of who they have been all these
The Look Good, Feel Better
program helps give some of that back. "One thing they really need is
support, not isolation and depression,"
Ms. Peterson said. "This demonstration is a very supportive time to
learn new things and to gain from each other."
~ To learn about the next session near you, contact
the American Cancer Society ~
Look Good, Feel Better is a free, national public service program dedicated
to teaching women cancer patients beauty techniques to help
restore their appearance and self-image
during cancer treatment. Through Look Good, Feel Better sessions, women
learn how to cope with the appearance-related side effects of cancer
We Serve all women actively undergoing treatment for cancer. Each year,
approximately 30,000 patients participate in a Look Good, Feel Better
The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) Foundation,
a charitable organization established by CTFA, the trade association
which represents the cosmetics industry.
The American Cancer Society (ACS), the nationwide, community-based,
voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major
The National Cosmetology Association (NCA), a national organization
of more than 45,000 hairstylists, wig experts, estheticians, makeup
artists and nail technicians.
types of service
Two-hour Group Makeover Workshops: group programs are offered in cancer
centers, hospitals and other community settings across the country.
The workshops include 5-10 women and are conducted by teams of trained
The participants learn beauty techniques in skin care, makeup, hair
and nails in a hands-on class using actual products. Demonstrations
of the use of wigs, hats, turbans and scarf tying techniques are also
Participants receive a take-home instructional booklet and a complimentary
kit of cosmetics containing a variety of cosmetic products. The kits,
containing light, medium, dark and extra dark products, are available
at group LGFB session.
one-on-one salon consultation
This service is offered in select salon locations across the country.
Trained, volunteer cosmetologists provide a free, one-time consultation
to women cancer patients who cannot attend a group session or would
prefer a private setting. The consultation includes a 6-minute video,
a take-home instructional pamphlet, and information about skin care,
makeup, hair and nails. LGFB cosmetic kits are not distributed at one-on-one
session, and women are encouraged to bring their own cosmetics if they
A new self-help kit, Look Good, Feel Better - Just for You offers a
thirty minute video with companion instructional booklet for women who
cannot access a group program in their area.
The self-help kit was made possible by a grant from Avon Products, Inc.
and is also available in Spanish.
It will be distributed to eligible patients through the American Cancer
Society national call center 800-395-LOOK at no charge.
toll-free telephone number
Look Good, Feel Better's toll-free information and referral number,
800-395-LOOK, is answered by trained, Look Good, Feel Better and cancer
information specialists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Or, you may call the Look Good, Feel Better toll free number: 800-395-LOOK
(Spanish speaking operators are available, and translators are available
for most other languages), or the local American Cancer Society office.
Specific program schedules and availability can be obtained through
your local American Cancer Society office.
For more information about Look Good, Feel Better, e-mail us with your
teenage guys + girls
Look Good, Feel Better for Teens is a free public service program that
provides useful information and tips for teens dealing with the appearance
and sociological side-effects related to cancer and its treatment.
Eligibility: Look Good, Feel Better for Teens is open to boys and girls
ages 13-17 who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for
any kind of cancer.
Look Good, Feel Better trained professional volunteers run co-ed group
sessions of the teen program. The sessions run about an hour and a half
and include about 10 teenagers.
A Teen Guide with specific information explaining the program; recipe
book of fun, easy recipes for teens with cancer; complimentary backpack
with skin care items, makeup (for girls), some hair products and a baseball
The sessions are hands-on, interactive, and most important, fun! Each
session is separated into sections on skin care, hair care, and issues
such as nutrition, fitness and social life. The skin care and makeup
tips deal with treatment related changes such as loss of eyebrows and
The hair care tips include choosing and caring for a wig, as well as
the chance to experiment with hats, turbans, and bandanas. The fitness
and nutrition advice discusses things like weight fluctuations. Through
role playing and games, teens learn about and share suggestions on real
life issues such as tobacco, alcohol, tattooing, friends, sexual relationships,
For more information, call 800-395-LOOK, or call or email the American
Make a Positive Difference in Someone's Life: Be a Look Good, Feel
Volunteers are the heart and soul of Look Good, Feel Better. We depend
on the competence, creativity, enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers
to provide meaningful help to women with cancer. Volunteer opportunities
Beauty Professionals: Experienced beauty professionals with a license
in cosmetology, formal training as an esthetician or makeup artist,
or trained as a nail technician, are needed as volunteers on an on-going
Must make a commitment of 3-5 hours each month to conduct group sessions
or one-on-one salon consultations where you will teach women hands-on
beauty techniques to help restore their appearance and self-image.
Look Good, Feel Better volunteer coordinators draw their professional
experience from a variety of fields, and most important to the job is
a sincere interest in helping to deliver the Look Good, Feel Better
Includes working with the local American Cancer Society office to coordinate
materials and assign cosmetology volunteers for Look Good, Feel Better
Qualifications include good organizational skills, good people and public
speaking skills, and a willingness to commit 5-10 hours a month. There
is generally no more than one volunteer coordinator in each metro area.
Host site volunteers coordinate Look Good, Feel Better programs at specific
host sites, such as a hospital. Serves as the liaison between the site
and the LGFB volunteer coordinator, and as the primary source of information
to professionals at that site, such as doctors and nurses.
Informs patients of LGFB program dates, insures all materials are ordered,
secures a room and sets it up, and meets and greets the patients when
they arrive. Site volunteers are often hospital employees.
Beauty Professionals: Must complete a four-hour Look Good, Feel Better
certification class which teaches the basics of how to conduct a Look
Good, Feel Better program, and helps volunteers better understand cancer
and the physical and psychological impact of the disease.
Each year following certification, volunteers are asked to attend a
Look Good, Feel Better Update Class to refresh their knowledge and skills.
Volunteer Coordinators and Site Volunteers: Must complete an orientation
conducted by a staff member of the local American Cancer Society before
they begin volunteering.
become a volunteer
If you are interested in becoming a Look Good, Feel Better volunteer,
you may call or write your local American Cancer Society or National
Cosmetology Association affiliate, or call the Look Good, Feel Better
toll-free number: 800-395-LOOK.
Or you can complete the Volunteer
application and e-mail it to us.
The application will be forwarded to the appropriate location for further
follow up by the Look Good, Feel Better coordinator.
Beauty professionals' applications will be held until a volunteer training
date is established.
Copyright 2003 Look Good, Feel Better