Look Good Feel Better is a free service specifically designed to improve the quality of life of cancer patients by helping restore lost confidence and self esteem to those women who are dealing with the appearance related side effects of cancer treatment. The programme outlines a beauty regime specifically tailored for cancer patients and encourages them to adhere to this routine every day, even when they are feeling low. Although beauty is said to come from within, when you’re suffering from low self esteem, looking good is the best present you can give yourself to help you feel better.
During a two and a half hour workshop, attendees are shown by trained volunteers how to cope with the physical side effects of their treatment, such as dry flaking skin and pigmentation changes. They are taken through a step by step skincare regime and given guidance on how to apply cosmetics to help camouflage loss of eyebrows, eyelashes and skin colour fluctuations. Over 250 volunteers from the cosmetic industry throughout New Zealand assist at these workshops.
A professional demonstration of wigs and turbans is included at the end of every workshop. All workshop attendees take home a gift bag of donated skincare and cosmetic products.
The subsequent boost in morale is heartwarming. For some women who have never worn makeup in their lives, the difference can be quite dramatic. Many women trying to cope with the trauma of cancer feel isolated and vulnerable and the workshops make a huge difference. Not only is it an opportunity to connect with other women experiencing the same thing, but being in control of your appearance makes a real difference to self esteem and confidence. This in turn brings about a more positive attitude and approach to any on-going treatment. Doctors have said that feeling good about yourself literally releases certain chemicals into the bloodstream, which boosts the immune system and helps with healing. For families of patients, the workshops are also a blessing. To watch a loved one trying to cope with illness is very hard and the injection of confidence and positivity rubs off on everyone else around.
This same programme has been running in New Zealand since 1992 when it was founded and developed by the Cosmetic Toiletry & Fragrances Association of NZ (CTFA) Inc. The CFTA donates more than $2.5 million of cosmetics each year. Last year 167 workshops were held in 23 centres throughout the country, with more than 2,700 women receiving the benefits of the programme. The aim is to help 3,000 this year.
Look Good Feel Better is a registered charity and relies on self funding and community donations to help keep the programme operational in New Zealand. The workshop programme is available in all main Oncology centres throughout New Zealand. Look Good Feel Better operates in 20 countries around the world.