How Beauty Techniques Help Patients Take ‘Your Power Back’

A patient explained how buying wigs and wearing bright lipstick gave her confidence after she started losing hair while receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer.

For Jasmine Santiago, a colon cancer survivor who now has breast cancer, beauty techniques became methods of reclaiming personal agency.

“I had beautiful long hair after surviving my first bout [with cancer], and then I get hit with a second bout of cancer and my hair fell off within the third treatment,” Santiago said during an appearance at the CURE® Educated Patient® Breast Cancer Summit presented in tandem with the Miami Breast Cancer Conference.

“I think that really it affected me in a way where I took my power back — I shaved it all off,” Santiago said. “And I went out and I bought all these fun wigs and I gave them all names. And I think that by doing that it kind of gave me my confidence and I could like play a role with who I want it to be with the different hairstyles.”

Tanya Cruz, who appeared alongside Santiago at the summit panel discussion, understands the empowering capabilities of beauty as a volunteer for Look Good Feel Better, a program that teaches beauty techniques to individuals with cancer.

“Beauty truly is a universal language, where it makes us feel really good about ourselves but it gives us, like [Santiago] said, your power back,” said Cruz. “Imagine if you’re not having a good day. You know you, look tired. What do you do? You maybe put on a bright lipstick, maybe hide any dark circles and you go through your day. But then you get hit, like Jasmine shared, where you have no control of that. All of a sudden, your self-image, you’re no longer in control. You can’t just change the color of your hair [or] dye your hair. Now, all of your hair has fallen off, your brows are gone, your lashes are gone. The texture of your skin is different. And now, you’re thinking, ‘I had no control or say over that.’

“So now, using beauty routines and skincare, that allows you to listen to the changes in your skin to maybe hydrate it more. And then through beauty, like putting on brows and, like Jasmine, said empowering herself back with using wigs and having fun with it with her different styles and looks, really brings back that emotional assurance, that self-confidence [is brought] back, to really lead people back to [a sense of] normalcy.”

LEARN MORE: Skincare and Makeup Strategies Throughout Breast Cancer Treatment

Cruz, also a national education manager for skincare company Clarins, and Santiago also shared a handful of beauty tips with the summit audience.

“What I took the most out of the Look Good Feel Better program was shaping the eyebrows,” said Santiago. “Because, on a normal day-to-day, it’s kind of hard, you got to have a technique. Going to the program, they showed us this simple technique that has changed my life. And I think that having that program and just learning ways to kind of just do better is really, really helpful.”

Additionally, Santiago said that from the Look Good Feel Better program she learned about the importance of keeping one’s makeup sanitary, such as “learning how to use Q-Tips and cotton balls so that you don’t put your actual finger on the makeup.”

“Listen to your skin,” Cruz added. “So, if you’re going through a lot of sensitivity or dryness, then definitely look out for any skincare that says [it’s] for gentle and sensitive skin and that says it’s for extra dry skin. That will be more enriching, and that’ll make the skin feel more comfortable and bring them back those lipids, so it has that flexibility.”

Other suggestions from Cruz included sunscreen, concealer and, regarding lipstick, “finding what that perfect shade is that goes with your mood.”

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.

CML Alliance
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart