During my cancer-based travels, I’ve met a lot of people. Doctors, nurses, radiotherapists, other people living with cancer. But none have had as big an impact on me as my Boob Gang girls. There’s three of us in Boob Gang. Kate, Izzy and myself. Kate and I decided to be friends after she found out she had cancer having read my blog (still feel conflicted good and bad about that), and Izzy and I got introduced to each other at the Breast Clinic by our hero breast care nurse. Not only have they been an incredible source of strength, support and humour, but they’re both exceptionally talented, remarkable and intelligent individuals that I feel proud to call my friends.
Now, Izzy has a particular set of skills that I am distinctly lacking. She is an exceptionally gifted makeup artist (you can find her on Instagram and check out her website) and I know how many women struggle with their appearance while going through cancer treatment, so I asked her if she’d be interested in sharing some of her make-up know how right here. She said yes! So here are her top tips (and actually, a lot of them are just handy for life):
Your skin gets a hard time on during cancer treatment. Chemotherapy targets the fastest growing cells, and can’t distinguish between what’s good and bad, while there’s also a chance you’re getting jabbed with a range of hormones. The many skin side affects of cancer treatment range from pubescent breakouts to skin that feels like sandpaper. Keep your skin moisturised, introduce gentle products to your skin care. Avoid washing your face with water, it can make the skin feel drier and sometimes more sensitive. A creamy cleanser wiped away gently with a soft muslin cloth or cotton wool pad is much kinder to the skin. Jojoba seed oil is an amazing base oil; kind and nourishing for the skin and even gentle enough for acne breakouts. My go to is MV Organic Pure Jojoba.
On the days you don’t want to feel like you’re channeling Lady Gaga 2016, and would like to see some brow use a soft brow pencil, ideally with a waxy texture, to create the shape and offer more hold. Start from the inner corner (closest to your nose) and slowly stroke the pencil upwards and into the middle of the brow bone, pulling up slightly to create the arch, and then work the pencil along and out towards the ear keeping the outer corner of the brow a little finer, where it should taper off at the end.
You can always fix any mistakes with a cotton bud and makeup remover and I would still brush very gently over the brow shape to soften a little. There’s always the option to use an eyebrow stencil too – just hold the stencil in place and begin filing in with your brow product.
Neal’s Yard Bee Lovely Lip Balm is amazing for soothing dry cracked lips and there’s no petroleum in sight! After applying, grab whichever of your favourite lipstick, gloss, lip crayon you fancy wearing and slap it on. This is an easy way to spruce up both your appearance and your mood – a little lipstick goes a very long way.
When your lips aren’t feeling sore, a gentle buff with an old toothbrush is a quick and easy way to exfoliate your smackers!
You don’t have to fiddle with glue and spider lashes after the final lash that has been clinging on decides to call it a day. To instantly create definition, use an eyeliner to draw along the lash line and into the upper waterline too. Pencil liners and kohl’s give a softer and subtler finish. Pat a little eyeshadow over the top of your liner to lock in the colour and add a bit more lasting power. Add a little more dimension by using a shadow deeper than your skin tone blend it into the socket of the eye.
Before applying anything, use an eye base primer to dramatically improve the longevity and application of shadows and liners.
To help hide dark circles – the sure fire sign of fatigue, pat and blend few dots of concealer under and into the inner corner of your eyes to lift and brighten.
And here’s one she prepared earlier…(sorry – it is my face again)