by: Lumen Beltran
The beauty industry is not just skin-deep, contrary to popular belief. In the midst of all the glitz and glamour, you’ll find that it can also be deeply empowering. Think about the last time you’ve had a bad day. What did you do? Perhaps you had a warm bath with a cup of your favourite tea and a hydrating face mask on. Or maybe, you sought after a mini makeover at your go-to beauty counter to give yourself a little confidence boost.
Why do these acts of self care almost instantaneously make us feel better? Why do we have a more positive outlook on our struggles when we feel beautiful? I’ll tell you a secret: It’s because it starts from the outside in. When it feels as if you’re losing touch with your sense of self, it has a tremendous impact to be reminded of your best self – YOURSELF – when you look in the mirror. I know, I know. It sounds oversimplified and probably even slightly superficial. But a few minor tweaks in your physical appearance can do wonders for your self-confidence
When you’re a woman facing cancer, the appearance-related effects of treatment can make ‘looking and feeling your best’ seem more daunting. If you’re a beauty enthusiast like me, you’ll probably know exactly what cosmetic tools and techniques to use for a quick pick-me-up. But for others, they may not even know where to start. Luckily, there’s a wonderful organization that is here to support all women facing all cancers. It’s called - you guessed it - Look Good Feel Better!
I’d like to share my first volunteering experience with you. By the end of my story, I hope you’ll be inspired to volunteer your time and artistic skill to this superb organization! Well, here goes nothing:
I made my way down to the Tom Baker centre on a warm Thursday evening. It was my first ever workshop as a Look Good Feel Better volunteer. As a makeup artist, I knew that I had a few beauty tips and tricks up my sleeve. I couldn’t wait share them with workshop attendees! I made my way down the corridor, my excitement building as I followed the posters pointing to the workshop space. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one excited. There were a few ladies already waiting outside of the conference room, ready to learn about the magic of makeup and wigs, even though the workshop didn’t start for another hour!
I met with the friendly team leaders and other volunteers who showed me the ropes. Once I was given the Look Good Feel Better apron, I could not stop smiling. For me, it was a symbol of the pride I take in representing and working with such a wonderful, welcoming team. I learned everything from sanitation station set-up (try saying that ten times fast!) to serving refreshments for the break. As I distributed makeup kits to each attendee according to complexion shade, I was impressed by the quality of products that were inside. I realized that without the generous donations made by numerous organizations, these workshops would not be possible.
No matter how much you know about cosmetics, you’d be surprised that there’s an awful lot left to learn! Watching the team leaders showcase the LGFB Signature Steps of makeup and wig application made me realize how much I didn’t know about my passion. I had absolutely no idea that you could wear sunscreen underneath your moisturizer - I’ve always done it the opposite way! Or that wigs can be adjustable, and they come in all sorts of materials with their own pros and cons. Because every team leader conducts workshops a little bit differently, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’s something new to learn every time you volunteer.
My favourite part of the workshop was watching the ladies apply makeup on themselves. I’ve always thought that a makeover entails your clients sitting back and allowing themselves to be beautified without lifting a finger. But where’s the fun in that? It can be just as therapeutic to pick up an eyeshadow applicator and do it yourself! Plus, it serves as a friendly reminder for the attendees that they are 100% capable of building their own self-confidence. Look Good Feel Better workshops are fantastic for participants because they’re given time to practice the Signature Steps on themselves so they can do it at home, too. It’s amazing how much their spirits were lifted with just a swipe of a lipstick!
At the end of the program, you can feel a vibrant energy in the room. Workshop attendees were more relaxed and chatty. As they left the conference space one by one, they thanked the volunteers for a fabulous workshop. After my first workshop, I couldn’t stop thinking about the way their faces were glowing. You can tell that glow didn’t come from the makeup. There are very few things in this world that feel better than someone thanking you for simply sharing your passion. It’s a feeling that I hope every beauty lover experiences one day! If you’re looking to give back to your community, empower women, and share your passion for beauty, then Look Good Feel Better is the perfect organization for you to get involved. Why wait? Apply to become a volunteer today and see what a difference you can make in others’ lives. I’ll see you at our next workshop!