Look Good Feel Better Program
The Look Good … Feel Better program gives women with cancer the skills to reclaim their self-confidence.
If you don’t look good, it’s hard to feel good, and nothing upsets the balance between our inner and outer selves quite like a major illness. While scientists have made huge strides in understanding how to deal with cancer over the past few decades, the treatments themselves can have devastating side effects, including hair loss and extreme fatigue. This is where the “Look Good … Feel Better” program comes in.
Look Good … Feel Better offers free classes led by volunteer, licensed beauty professionals to women undergoing cancer treatment. Offered at over 3,000 locations throughout the U.S., in Hawaii, this non-medical, brand-neutral program is available at The Queen’s Medical Center and Kapiolani Medical Center, among others.
Now in its 21st year of operation, the program’s success among patients is the result of its focus on the connection between the mental and physical aspects of the healing process. It’s not about giving patients one-time makeovers. Instead, the program emphasizes quality-of-life improvement by teaching women techniques for dealing with appearance-related issues associated with cancer treatment. For example, trainers show class participants how to deal with hair loss by drawing on eyebrows, teaching wig selection and care, and how to wear a scarf.
“We go step-by-step from cleansing to lipstick,” says Cathy Chun, a Honolulu-based professional makeup artist and volunteer.
Christine Hinds, community director of Health Initiatives for the Hawaii/Pacific Chapter of the American Cancer Society, explains, “It’s easy for patients to lose confidence after cancer treatment. We try to help women deal with the outside issues, so they can start working on the internal issues.”
Look Good … Feel Better also employs the principle of strength in numbers by offering women the chance to connect with fellow patients. “Many of the women have never really talked to anyone about what they’re going through,” says Hinds.
Because tools are just as important as technique, each woman who registers for the program also receives a bag full of high-end cosmetics and skincare products. Chun adds, “I always feel touched by all the ladies, and they’re always so grateful.”