Look Good...Feel Better workshop is beauty therapy for cancer patients

-A A +A
By Greg Summers

A woman battling the emotional and physical side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment always needs a special touch.

That’s where Look Good...Feel Better comes in.

Described by the American Cancer Society as a “makeover for the spirit,” the program helps women fighting cancer boost their confidence and self-esteem.

Done quarterly in Lancaster County, the next Look Good...Feel Better class is 2 p.m. Monday at Springs Memorial Hospital.

“When you get there, you are going to find laughter, joy and women who are walking in the same shoes you’re walking in,” said Judy Chandler, who coordinates the local program with Evelyn Finch.

The lives of both women have been impacted by disease.

Finch’s husband, the late J.B. Finch, died from cancer. After being in remission from ovarian cancer for several years, Chandler is once again going through chemotherapy.

Founded in 1987, Look Good...Feel Better has grown from one patient to more than 50,000 each year.

It is in fourth year in Lancaster. Chandler said Look Good...Feel Better is one program that lives up to its name.

Between treatment drugs and the fallout from them, many women who experience hair loss and other side effects become so depressed and self-conscious that they seldom venture outside their homes and hospitals.

Chandler said the Look Good...Feel Better make-overs not only transform a woman’s appearance, they also transform their outlook.

“Words can’t express how important it is to get out,” Chandler said.

“I can’t recall anyone who hasn’t had a good time at Look Good...Feel Better,” she said. “This is so much fun.”    

Done in a small setting, each workshop is a two-hour, hands-on program that includes skin care/ makeup application, options for dealing with hair loss and nail care by trained cosmetologists.

“Most of the time, the same makeup that you may have used for years won’t work the same due to cancer treatment side effects,” Finch said. “The best thing you can do is throw it all away and just start over from scratch.”

Local cosmetologists Debbie Crenshaw, Sandra Gates, Mindy Martin and Annette Spencer have completed an ACS-certified course to help with the program.

And it’s not like the training is a one-time thing, Finch said.

Cosmetologists must be re-certified every two years to teach the ladies how to tie scarves, wig care and proper skin and nail moisturizing techniques to help combat the extremely dry skin caused by chemotherapy.

“These hairdressers buy a lot of the supplies they use out of their own pockets,” Finch said. “They go well beyond what’s required of them.”

Chandler said Look Good...Feel Better participants also get to take home complimentary cosmetic kits and helpful instruction booklets.

“We’re talking about the good stuff, too,” Chandler said. “Companies like Clinique, Avon and Estee Lauder all contribute to the program.

“And you know how we girls can be,” she said, laughing. “Women always like makeup parties.”


WHAT: Look Good...Feel Better, an American Cancer Society support program for women diagnosed with, or being treated for cancer

WHEN: 2 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Marion Sims Theater inside Springs Memorial Hospital, 800 W. Meeting St.


INFORMATION: To register, call Judy Chandler at (803) 289-8747.