On Tuesday, November 11, I will be taking part in the Look Good Feel Better ‘Theatre of Beauty’ event at Harvey Nichols Leeds, joining other beauty editors to give consultations, tips and advice in a specially created Editors’ Beauty Lounge.
It’s all for Look Good Feel Better, a flagship charity for the beauty industry, and Harvey Nichols is helping by creating a gorgeously pampering – and hopefully helpful – event while raising money and awareness for the Look Good Feel Better charity as as it celebrates its 20th anniversary of helping women going through or recovering from cancer treatment feel good about themselves as they continue to cope and combat the visible effects.
This week we have asked friend and fellow journalist Liz Carnell, whose treatment for breast cancer ended two years ago, to write about how she coped with the visible effects of cancer treatment. Liz, from Harrogate, is our first guest blogger and we are delighted that she has agreed to post about her experiences.
Liz writes: “I found that choosing a wig which was very flattering (reddish) gave me a real boost. Not all NHS hospitals let you have the more expensive ones but Harrogate is one that does.
I always made sure I went to work or even shopping with make-up on, I chose a slightly paler blusher as my wig colour was lighter than my former hair colour and I also used false eyelashes as mine had fallen out with chemo. You can get a lovely variety of lashes and I found really cheap ones at Wilko were fantastic with a bit of practice. It was a while before I realised you need to let the glue get tacky before you put them on and then they stay on perfectly. I also used a light brown pencil on my eyebrows which had gone too.
Some people say their skin is drier or they had more lines but I didn’t find that, maybe I was lucky because I always wore make-up to work for 40 years so perhaps my skin was better protected in the first place. During my treatment people said I looked a lot younger so I’ve tried to keep to the same lighter colours.
It seemed to take a long time for my hair to grow back so I kept wearing my wig for about six months as I don’t like really short hair. Then as soon as it was long enough I dyed it as similar to the wig colour as I could. As a bonus, it grew back thicker than before!
Unfortunately it did grow back very curly. It was red and curly when I was a child. I had it cut regularly but it’s still curly, although better when I use GHDs to straighten it. I’ve also switched to a non-sulphate shampoo and conditioner which is a bit more expensive but seems to make it less frizzy.
The treatment ended in 2012 but I found radiotherapy made the skin on my arm and back a bit dry so I just used a cream given to me by the hospital. I’ve been lucky in that although I had seven lymph nodes that were cancerous, as well as a 70mm tumour, when they were removed I only got slight lymphoedema. I probably wear slightly looser sleeves than I did, and I can’t wear a watch any longer, but it doesn’t trouble me.
I think if you go to York Hospital they have talks on using make-up during cancer treatment and similarly at The Haven in Leeds.”
Back to me (it’s Stephanie, by the way – I know it can get confusing). At the moment I am researching specific product ideas for Tuesday night but I just wanted to pass on a couple of suggestions now, ones I think would be ideal for post-treatment recovery (I am conscious that no one introduces any infection with products during treatment. My son had cancer and chemotherapy treatment, and the ensuing infections due to no immunity were terrible.)
I look for organic where possible and so I love Aveda products for hair, which are about 90 per cent organic. They are not cheap but they do last and they work. The Pure Abundance Powder can be used on wet and dry hair and it really makes hair look fuller and more lush, while the Aveda Invati range is perfect for boosting hair, giving it healthy and beneficial growing conditions and helping to rehabilitate the scalp. I have very fine, dry hair (genetic) and it’s my haircare range of choice.
I think Clinique has to be a go-to for skin care as they put so much effort into quality and making sure the products are great for sensitive skin. The Deep Comfort Body Butter is super-rich and luxurious and costs £25 for a large tub that will last all winter.
I’d also look to Clarins – in particular the Extra Comfort Anti Pollution Cleansing Cream (£25 for a large tube that lasts for ever) and the Clarins Lip Balm Crayon, which costs £18 at Debenhams.
*The Look Good Feel Better Theatre of Beauty event takes place at Harvey Nichols Leeds on Tuesday November 11, 6-9pm, featuring a drink and canapé reception, beauty counters showcasing top make-up artists, consultants and brand ambassadors, mini make-overs, skin consultations and mini-treatments, competitions and activities happening throughout the store including live Q&A sessions with beauty experts on stage.
All tickets must be pre-booked online (see below) or purchased in-store, £10 entry into the event, for drinks, canapés and a gorgeous beauty goody bag or £25 VIP ticket holders can have a personal 15-20 minute one-to-one with a Beauty Editor in the Beauty Editors’ lounge with impartial advice on the hottest and best products, trends and beauty tips, plus a special VIP goody bag (available to book only online).
All ticket proceeds will be donated to Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) formed 20 years ago to help women and teenagers combat the visible side-effects of their cancer treatment. The charity’s free confidence-boosting skincare and make-up workshops, masterclasses and self-help products to date have helped more than 100,000 women. To find out more visit www.lgfb.co.uk and you can find the charity and its workshops and so on at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, at the Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre at St James’s Hospital in Leeds and at Castle Hill Hospital in Hull.
Buy tickets for the Look Good Feel Better Theatre of Beauty Event at Harvey Nichols at www.theticketfactory.com/hnbeauty