Healthline: Makeup class for cancer patients

The Look Good, Feel Better makeup bag (Source: WAFB)
The Look Good, Feel Better makeup bag (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Getting a cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience, and subsequent treatment can leave patients feeling run-down and exhausted. But a unique makeup class helps women change their outlook by changing their look.

"My little grandson said, 'Nana, why do you have all those little dots on your face?'" said Stephanie Roberts, recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Her treatment has left her skin dry and full of blemishes.

"I had major brain surgery with a C-cut in my scalp," she explained while showing off her scars.

Roberts doesn't mind the physical signs of her battle, but sometimes it's nice to cover them up. That's why she recently attended a "


"See when you go to blend it in, you can blend it in real good," instructor Amy Pinell said as she applied makeup to a participant's hand.

The free, two-hour workshop is sponsored by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Participants get about $300 worth of makeup formulated for sensitive skin, then professionals guide the class through a 12-step personalized make-over.

"Their skin does change," Pinell said. "Sometimes they typically are washed out some, a lot of times they might lose their eyebrows, they might lose their eyelashes, but showing how to put their eyebrows on, how to contrast their eyebrows, how to be able to camouflage with eyeliner."

Pinell teaches the class at

on Florida Blvd., the only place it's offered outside of a hospital or clinic in the Baton Rouge area.

"I always wore makeup, but not like what I learned today," said Yolanda Virgil, who's now fighting ovarian cancer for the third time. "If you played dress-up like when you're a little girl, it makes you feel better."

Having lost most of her eyebrows from chemotherapy, Virgil was especially interested in learning techniques to stencil them back in place.

The class ends with lessons in dealing with hair loss, like making a stylish head wrap out of an old t-shirt and scarf. Advice on wearing wigs and hats is also offered.

Pinell often ends up playing therapist, helping the women appreciate their beauty while taking their minds off the pain.

"I'm kinda that one to kinda shake 'em back into place, saying, 'Ok I know this is something hard, but this is just temporary,'" she said.

"This was a great opportunity, and then to be around other people and hear what their ideas are too," Roberts added.

The class at The Total Woman Boutique is held once per month, but workshops at other locations are also available. Contact the

at (225) 927-0782 for more information.

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