As December comes calling, so do company holiday parties, family gatherings, get-togethers with old friends and everything in between. While it’s absolutely OK to sit out some holiday events, cancer survivors in treatment who do attend them are often concerned about how they look.
That’s why we consulted makeup artist and eyebrow expert to the stars Ramy Gafni. Gafni is also a cancer survivor, so his beauty tips come from experience.Read More
Gafni says he has a “minimalist philosophy” — don’t go overboard with makeup, and be strategic about your application. Below, you’ll find his advice for looking great:
“Minimal makeup, maximum impact.” That’s Ramy Gafni’s advice for women dealing with cancer side effects.
During treatment, many people experience very dry or dull-looking skin, while others have periods of acne. Gafni’s advice is to keep an open mind when it comes to skin care products and to expect some trial and error.
“Your skin is not your own when you’re going through treatment,” he says. “People who were never sensitive before, suddenly their skin becomes sensitive.”
One type of product he suggests you try: baby products. “Johnson & Johnson baby wash, baby lotion, etc. You can use the baby wash on your face — it’s very gentle,” he says.
For hair loss, scarves and turbans are the least-expensive option, and can look stylish to boot.
Of course, many seek out information on wigs. SurvivorNet had previously reached out to New York-based hair and wig designer Robert-Charles Vallance, co-owner of Angels of New York, to ask his advice. He said the best place to start the process is with an in-salon consultation.
“We start with a consultation,” Vallance said, “and go through the process” with them. This enables people to try on different colors and styles and give them the chance to express their precise wants and needs. Many survivors, for instance, want to replicate the hairstyle they had before treatment.”
For thinning hair, many people are drawn to clip-ins and hair extensions, but Gafni says to be aware that these can “tug on the roots,” and potentially “help the hair loss along.”
For thinning hair (read: not extreme hair loss) Gafni recommends hair-building fibers. They “can fill up the bare spots in your scalp. If someone is having some thinning, it’s a good option,” he says.
Gafni recommends a product called Toppik.
3. Lashes & Brows
Many people will lose or experience thinning of their eyelashes and/or eyebrows when undergoing cancer treatment. Gafni has a few tricks for filling these in.
First, though, a warning: Gafni says lash extensions and false eyelashes can aid in hair loss, and, waterproof mascara needs to be taken off every night.
“Many people who are in treatment tell me their eyes tear a lot and they can’t use regular mascara,” he says. “If you go waterproof, you must remove it every night [with an oil]. Leaving the mascara on is not healthy for the lashes.”
To give the illusion of fuller lashes, Gafni recommends a soft eyeliner along the roots of the lashes in a mahogany color. He says he prefers a cake eyeliner or a pen/pencil as opposed to liquid.
For eyebrows, Gafni offers up several solutions.
The best bets, he says, are “a pen, a pencil, a pomade, or even an eyebrow mascara. If you still have some brow hair … go a shade or two lighter. It’ll give you a more natural effect to fill it with a color that’s lighter. If you lost your eyebrows completely, you want to go with a shade that matches your hair color because it’s going on bare skin.”
There’s also the option of micro-blading, which is a temporary tattooing of the eyebrows. This will last about a year without a touch-up.
4. Extra Shots of Glam
If you have a party you want to look particularly fabulous for, Gafni also has some simple tips to make looks pop.
Blush: To find the right blush, Gafni says to test it on an eyelid. “If it doesn’t look like a pretty eye shadow, it’s not the right color for your face,” Gafni says.
Lipstick: For lips, “add a brighter than usual lip color,” he advises. “It doesn’t mean it has to be fire engine red. If you [prefer] a neutral lip … add a little pop of sheer pink or red gloss. A brighter lip color really lights up your entire appearance.”
Shimmer: Gafni also recommends adding a highlighter or shimmer on the cheekbone, [the inner corner of eyes] and on eyelids. “It [also] brightens everything up,” Gafni says.
Celebrity stylist/survivor Ann Caruso talks feeling confident again after going through cancer treatment.
Don’t forget the clothes! A flattering outfit can actually have a profound effect on how you feel about your body, so Ann Caruso, a stylist to the stars who also happens to be a cancer survivor, says to dress up.
In a previous interview, Caruso told SurvivorNet that after going through 12 surgeries related to her breast cancer diagnosis, she felt she had changed both physically and mentally. But finding the right outfits, she said, helped build her confidence.
“It was very hard for me to look at myself every day,” Caruso said. “It was like I was a totally different person and I didn’t fit into any of my clothes. … You need a few things that you feel good in because when you feel good in the clothes that you’re wearing it gives you confidence. Femininity is a state of mind, and I think that’s something that we need to remind ourselves.”