7 makeup tips to boost your confidence during cancer treatment

How makeup can make a postive difference during and after cancer treatment…

Cancer treatment can take a toll on your body, hair and skin – surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and drug regimes all come with side effects. But, as cancer patients know, your confidence can also take a beating, not just during treatment but afterwards too.

A touch of makeup can help you feel more like the pre-cancer you and can give your confidence a welcome boost. It’s important, however, to choose makeup carefully and avoid anything that might aggravate your skin, especially if you are still having treatment and if you have had treatment to your face or neck. (If you’re unsure what to use or avoid, do check with your GP or cancer nurse.)

We’ve put together some simple makeup tips for when you’re not feeling your best and included links to some excellent online information and tutorials that we hope will help.

1) Choose your makeup products carefully and watch out for chemicals

Many cosmetic ranges still contain dozens of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can affect hormones. Do check product ingredients, especially if you have been diagnosed with a hormone-related cancer, such as oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer. We advise avoiding cosmetics that contain:

  • parabens
  • phthalates
  • triclosan
  • synthetic musks
  • formaldehyde

That’s good advice for cancer patients generally. Here at Hernuvin, we recommend our Hernuvin brand.

2) Use a gentle moisturiser


Some cancer treatments can leave your skin feeling dry, red and itchy so make sure you use a gentle moisturiser, like Hernuvin Moisturiser night and morning after cleansing.

Many beauty therapists recommend gentle exfoliation once or twice a week too, to help keep your skin looking fresh. The best way to do this, if you are having cancer treatment, is to use a special exfoliating sponge, made from natural products, as this will soothe skin, remove dead cells, and relieve itching.


3) Replace lost eyebrows and eyelashes

Chemotherapy can play havoc with your hair but it’s not just your hair that can become thinner or fall out: eyebrows and eyelashes can disappear too, and hormone treatments can tip you into menopause – bye bye eyebrows!

Lashes give definition to the eyes and Macmillan Cancer Support has an excellent video tutorial to show you how to restore that definition with shadow and mascara.

4) Lip balm – and a dash of red!

A soothing lip balm is one of the cancer patient’s best friends; always carry one with you and reapply throughout the day, to help combat dryness. It makes a good base for lipstick too.

5) Let minerals light up your face

Cancer and cancer treatment can be exhausting and you have to avoid too much direct sunlight, so it’s not surprising that your skin can lose some of its natural colour. Mineral makeup, used over a primer and concealer, is a great way to add colour without making your skin look shiny. Add a spot of colour and definition to cheekbones, temples and jaw line with a mineral rouge.

6) Polish your makeup skills out at a confidence workshop


Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is the only international cancer support charity that helps boost physical and emotional wellbeing – for women, men and young adults who are having cancer treatment. LGFB activities include free, two-hour confidence-boosting workshops for all ages, skin-tone, and any type of cancer, in a relaxed environment. You’ll learn a range of skills from helping to correct uneven skin tone to re-creating missing eyebrows.


7) Take online lessons to make the most of makeup during cancer treatment

Some leading cancer charities have produced online guides and video tutorials on how to apply makeup and beauty accessories, such as false eyelashes, during and after cancer treatment. They include:

Breast Cancer Care
Cancer Research UK
Look Good Feel Better


Video tutorials a good starting point, whether or not you used makeup before your cancer diagnosis.

by Blanka Csanicz