Lucia Vaca looked like a little girl applying makeup — a bit uncoordinated and overdoing it. When her fellow cancer survivors saw her colorful face, they laughed.
Vaca didn’t mind, in fact, she chuckled along with them.
Amused, volunteer cosmetologist Marilu Alonzo used it as a teaching moment for the nine women participating in the Look Good…Feel Good session on Oct. 17 at Ben Taub General Hospital. The session coincides with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
“Remember, if you mess up, just use your cleanser and start over,” Alonzo reminded the group. “You should experiment. After a few tries, you will know what makes you look good and feel better.”
Look Good…Feel Better is a hands-on program to help women with makeup and hair tips to minimize the secondary effects of hair loss and skin discoloration associated with cancer treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. The national program is coordinated locally by the American Cancer Society to help women rebuild self-esteem and feel positive in their recovery.
“I hardly ever wear makeup anyway, so it’s a new experience for me,” Vaca said still giggling.
For Raquell Williams, the class was a good way to interact with other cancer survivors and learn easy tips to feel beautiful.
“I appreciated knowing about the different ways to cover my head without having to use a wig or hat,” she says. “A scarf is such a good idea.”
Laura Peña, coordinator for Cancer Resource Centers at the Harris County Hospital District, says the hospital district has probably helped more than 500 women through the program in the past eight years.
“We tell the women about the class and they understand what it offers, but it’s after the class that you really see the result,” she says. “They arrive looking a certain way, and they leave beautifully made up and smiling.”
The program is held every 2-3 months at either Ben Taub or Lyndon B. Johnson general hospitals. Each woman, depending on skin tone, receives an individualized gift bag complete with high-end makeup and accessories.
For more information on the Cancer Resource Centers at the Harris County Hospital District, call 713-873-4465.