Look Good, Feel Better

There is no question that when a woman looks good, she feels better.

When I walked into the Cross Cancer Institute yesterday, it was nice to know that I wasn’t there for a test, a treatment or a consultation with the medical team who care for me. This time, I was there for a two hour Look Good Feel Better workshop sponsored by the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association. The program, which is free of charge to all participants, is designed to help women with cancer feel better about themselves and thus face their illness with greater confidence.

When I registered for the workshop, I was told that I would receive a kit containing a variety of cosmetic and personal care products. I expected a small collection of samples from the various CCTFA member companies but I greatly underestimated their generosity and was completely blown away by what I actually received.


In addition to many cosmetic companies, Look Good, Feel Better has several other corporate sponsors including Shoppers Drug Mart, Winners, WestJet and The Globe and Mail. Over 1800 volunteer cosmetic advisers and hair alternative specialists give generously of their time to bring the program to cancer care centres across the country. The ratio of volunteers to participants at yesterday’s seminar was almost one to one!

The session started with tips and techniques for properly cleansing skin and applying make-up. I have been meticulous about skin care for many years, cleansing and moisturizing every morning and night, but when it comes to make-up, I’m a minimalist. If I’d joined the recent craze and posted a no make-up selfie on Facebook, it wouldn’t have looked very different from my usual day-to-day appearance. I feel naked without mascara and I often use a bit of blush to add some colour to my otherwise pale complexion but that’s about all unless I’m going somewhere special. Then, I might use a tinted moisturizer and add some eye shadow. When I was teaching school, I always used an under eye concealer but when I retired, the dark circles under my eyes magically disappeared and I quit using it! It was actually fun to follow the 12 step program and put on my full face yesterday and I was quite happy with the results!

IMG_3679   IMG_3687

I was a little disappointed that not much was said about the effects that cancer and it’s treatment can have on the skin but I’ve since discovered that the Signature Steps guide that came with my kit contains some of that information. It also includes sections on body care, hair removal, eye care, oral care, nail care, nutrition and exercise, all topics that weren’t covered in the session.

I’ve always said that if I lost my hair to cancer (which I probably won’t), I wouldn’t bother with a wig. I had my head shaved as part of a cancer fundraiser several years ago and absolutely loved it. After the hair alternatives portion of yesterday’s workshop, however, I’m not so sure. There are so many cute wigs to choose from!

Already bald, as the result of chemotherapy, Tracy, like several of the other ladies, entered the room looking pale and apprehensive. As she applied her make-up, her face began to glow. It’s amazing what a difference something as simple as drawing eyebrows onto a hairless face can make! When it was time for someone to volunteer to model the wigs, Tracy raised her hand. As wig after wig was placed on her shiny head and we all oohed and aahed over how attractive she looked in several of them, she truly came to life!

What a blessing it was for each of us to leave a place where we’ve spent some of the most stressful moments of our lives with smiles plastered across our freshly made up faces! Thank you, CCTFA!


16 thoughts on “Look Good, Feel Better

  1. Hi Elaine. I am so very happy to read your blog and see that you enjoyed the workshop! You’ve perfectly captured the magic of those two hours. All our best to you! ~ Chantal, Look Good Feel Better

  2. I’m so glad you did the program. I also was awed by the amount of stuff we got and did wish I’d gone before my chemo – I think some of the body cream products might have helped. I was the only bald person in the group so did model the wigs – but I really didn’t like the feel. I did it post chemo and was the first person my assistant had seen without eyebrows. I still like my pictures of when I was bald better than now with the chemo curl coming in.

  3. Hello Elaine,
    How wonderful to read about your Look Good Feel Better workshop experience. the volunteers are such caring experts and are always so passionate about sharing their professional knowledge. Years after my treatment, one of the most helpful of all Look Feel Better’s makeup tips and techniques for me is penciling in my brows. You may also want to visit FacingCancer.ca and LookGoodFeelBetter.ca to watch the tutorial videos made possible by Shoppers Drug Mart.

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