The problem with losing all your facial hair is that you end up looking like a pie. This is exacerbated by the steroids, which create fleshy roundness where cheekbones ought to be. The technical term for this side effect is ‘Moon Face’ but as most women end up the colour and texture of pastry, I think pie-face works well. Pie-face, with eyes, that is.
I went to my first make-up session back in September, just before I started chemo. It took place at the Princess Margaret Hotel & Spa, and my very favourite nurse strongly urged me to attend. She knew, better than I did, that there would come a time when cosmetics would give me the boost I need. Back then, I wasn’t terribly interested in make-up. I’d managed to get by for years with a little mascara and really good hair.
There were fifteen women at the' Look Good Feel Good Seminar', sitting around a table, each with their own oval mirror. In front of each mirror was a plethora of products, which we’d eventually be able to take home. Each woman had the same facial expression as me, looking as though they were mildly surprised to be there. With cancer. Playing dress-up.
A make-up artist told us about all the products and their proper applications. Behind us stood an army of volunteers who were ready to snatch the eyebrow pencils out of our hands, if we didn’t know how to use them. I didn’t know how to use anything, so my volunteer basically did my whole face. Toner, moisturizer, foundation, powder, concealer, eye shadow, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, blush, lip liner, lipstick, and lip-gloss, which apparently I wasn’t using properly either.
We all started hesitantly, then as we transformed, became a little more enthusiastic. Tentative laughter turned to ‘ooh’s’ and ‘ahh’s’ as our loyal volunteers made us beautiful. One lady in sweatpants was busily giving herself Cirque de Soleil eyelids, and was well on her way to looking like a cheap hooker when a volunteer lunged across the table to wrestle the eye shadow wand out of her hands.
Over the course of the hour there were many beauty tips, but here are the five top tips for the lovely and the hairless.
- Eyebrows. Use a stencil and an eyebrow pencil to create your new eyebrows. Apply them one at time, and remember that they go in different directions; otherwise it will appear that you are looking sideways
- Eyelashes. Falsies are forbidden! The glue aggravates already fragile lids. Use eyeliner instead.
- Mascara. Even if you lose your eyelashes, there are likely a few invisible ones on the bottom. Apply a little mascara, because it will find something to cling to.
- Concealer is your second best friend.
- Moisturizer is your best friend, because without it you’re going to turn into a raisin.
- If you’re wearing a nylon wig, don’t check on the turkey. If your head goes near the oven, your hair will start to sizzle.
And of course, never ever leave the house without lipstick. It’s Christmas. It’s party season. Let the games begin!