Today was a bit of a treat. It is no secret that I am fond of a bit of lippy. I have become fonder of it since my hair fell out, bizarrely. I am not sure why that is. A shift of focus perhaps? Back to today. I had a date. With make up. As in going to a workshop rather than lunch with a transvestite. Not that that I wouldn’t enjoy that too. There is a lovely organisation called Look Good Feel Better who organise skin care and make up sessions for women undergoing treatment for cancer. It was set up in recognition that a cancer diagnosis can not only have devastating effects on one’s self confidence but also that new tips, tricks and skills may come in handy. Skin dries out, dark circles arrive, rosacea or acne can make an appearance. Then, of course, there is the whole How To Pretend Your Eyebrows And Lashes Still Exist. A skill most make up tutorials do not cover, strangely. All this is delivered by make up artists in the company of other women and each participant is given a substantial goody bag with which to work.
My session was at my treatment hospital and my biggest challenge was getting from the car park at one end of the hospital to the workshop room at the other end. To say I was out of breath when I arrived would be an understatement. Thankfully talking was not required. In total there were seven of us. Three more had been expected but had not arrived. The two hour workshop was a mix of demonstration, hands on and DIY with as much or as little personal support as we wanted. Over the time, we gradually went through a complete skin care routine followed by full make up application. The transformation by the end was quite remarkable.
We all worked from the goody bags: a leatherette bag the size of a substantial toilet bag stuffed with products and literature. They did vary and were allocated to us based on skin tone. Mine included the following:
- Yves Saint Laurent Paris 125ml eau de toilette: £77 House of Fraser
- Lancôme Eau Micellaire Douceur Express Cleansing Water 200mls: £23.50 Boots
- Lancôme Tonique Douceur Softening Hydrating Toner 200mls: £23 Boots
- Estée Lauder Take It Away Eye Make Up Remover 100mls: £20 Estée Lauder
- Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion 50mls: £18 Boots
- No7 Colour Calming Primer 40mls: £10.50 Boots
- Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer 8g: £17 Boots
- Max Factor Colour Adapt Skin Tone Adapting Make Up Rose Beige 34ml: £9.99 Boots
- No7 Translucent Perfect Light Loose Powder 20g: £10.50 Boots
- No7 Pink Blush Natural Blush Cream 3g: £8 Boots
- No7 Stay Perfect Trio Eye Shadow Palette Cappuccino 3g: £9.50 Boots – no ingredients list
- No7 Stay Perfect Amazing Eyes Pencil Blackest Purple 1g: £4.48 Ebay – no ingredients list
- Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil Dark Brown 1.4g: £3 Sainsbury’s – no ingredients list
- L’Oreal Lash Architect False Lash Effect Mascara Midnight Black: £6.34 Extras
- No7 Precision Lips Pencil Soft Blush: £6.75 Boots – no ingredients list
- Avon Colour Indulgence Lipstick Hibiscus: £8 Avon – no ingredients list
- No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick Rose Blush: £9.95 Boots
- Look Good Feel Better Eye Shading Brush: £6.99 Look Fantastic
The total cost, had I bought it all from the retailers listed, came to a staggering £275.50! Of course, there is much that I would not have bought. For instance, only the products in red text appear to be parabens free. And I am trying to avoid parabens because of the potential link to hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Being able to try all these products with the help of make up artists on hand was a fantastic experience though. I am reasonably confident about applying make up generally but since starting chemo I have developed dark circles under my eyes, my eyelashes are thinning and while my eyebrows are holding up pretty well, I do not know how long they will continue to do so. We were recommended Rapidlash serum to promote eyelash and brow regrowth but at £40 I may hold fire for now**. For dark circles applying red lipstick as a correcting concealer is worth a try while rosacea responds well to green primer.
For me, the foundation was too heavy. I prefer a tinted moisturiser rather than a full coverage cream but for dodgy chemo skin this works well. I also found the eye liner too hard for use. To get any kind of line I had to press so hard that my eyes became quite sore. Given that my eyes are sore much of the time, this is not as dramatic as it sounds but a softer liner would be my preference. The Hibiscus lippy was fabulous though and may just sneak through my parabens ban!
I am delighted to have taken part and thrilled with my freebies. My only wish would be that the many parabens free cosmetics companies springing up would get onboard with Look Good Feel Better and promote their products through the goody bags too. If you are eligible but have any hesitation about going, I would thoroughly recommend it.
**UPDATE: Rookie mistake. I should have checked Amazon. Much cheaper there!