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Post in Beauty Advisors


My BFF is 38 and diagnosed with breast cancer only weeks ago. Had a mastectomy already and will have axillary dissection next week. Chemo will start within a month and oncologist was direct in that her meds will cause hair loss - including brows and lashes. Being scared is hard enough - I need to have brow stencils (with all needed make-up) and false lashes (with any needed tools: glue, liner, etc.) for her this weekend.


She is white (but darker white/tan) with green eyes and (natural) brown/dirty blond hair.


Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated <3



Re: Chemo

Be careful with the false lashes. With the chemo, her skin is going to become incredibly sensitive - both in the traditional skin care sense and in the "to the touch" sense. Her skin and nails will become more prone to damage and the damage won't repair as quickly as it does with someone not under the stress of chemo. If she's not used to the pull and process of false lashes, it may be too much for her. Ditto with the liner - she may do better with a great matte (no irritating glitter) shadow and an angled brush than with a liner. Where possible, stick with latex and scent-free products. You'll also want to avoid anything that contains parabens, for sure. (From a website that discusses makeup and cancer, specifically, "DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea; parabens or any word ending in "-paraben"; "PEG" compounds and words ending in "-eth"; triclosan and triclocarban; triethanolamine (TEA); hydroquinone and oxybenzone. You also want to avoid synthetic fragrance, which can contain hundreds of chemicals, including toxic phthalates")

For the brows, Anastasia makes great stencils and unscented powder and wax that are easy to use, comfortable on the skin, and natural looking. For a full starter set, you can get the Express Beauty box - it comes with a full set of stencils, powder in two shades (so you can mix to the right match, wax, a brow brush, and a highlighter/contour eye color duo. The brunette box is very dark, I'd suggest going with the blonde box:

Also be aware that while it's great if she wants to do these things for her own reasons, cancer treatment is stressful and exhausting and there is a _lot_ of societal pressure to put a brave, pretty, pink face on breast cancer. It can be upsetting, depressing, enraging, empowering, uplifting, or any combination of those things to use makeup to present a face that you feel is acceptable, beautiful, or just healthy looking. It's awesome to help but if she seems like she's feeling pressured or stressed or putting herself through extra pain to maintain the look - help her see that it's okay to do what's comfortable and awesome for her. Smiley Happy 

Best wishes to your friend - surviving is a battle and she needs good friends like you who want to help. Smiley Happy 

Re: Chemo

Anastasia's products are NOT paraben free... they also have a lot of other 'nasties' in there. I wanted to add that in there in case you both were going to try to avoid those ingredients. 


Also I watched my grandmother go through chemo and ladymegg is right, she will be exhausted and stressful. I agree it's really unfortunate that women are pressured into feeling awful about their appearance when they most need support.


Best of luck to your friend <3

Re: Chemo

I went to read the ingredients list that's currently on the product and you're absolutely right, the brow powder itself has parabens now - I first got this product when it came in a pink box and didn't contain parabens. The other products in the box are still paraben-free, I wonder why the change! I doubt I'll ever hit pan on my paraben-free powder, but this is good to know. 

OP: You can get the stencils from this set separately, if you desire. They're really the most natural stencils I've found currently on the market. A paraben-free shadow duo in colors close to these should work out wonderfully for your friend, as well. Brow brushes are fairly easy to come by, even if Anastasia makes a quality one. Smiley Happy

This shadow set in Filter, for example, might work out nicely:

Re: Chemo

I don't have advice I can offer here, but I did want to let you know how sorry I am to hear that your friend is sick. I hope her treatments kick that cancer to the curb, and I am glad she has such a great friend to stand by her and support her. Best wishes Smiley Happy

Re: Chemo

I would recommend cosmetics that are fragrance free & super gentle. You might check Too Faced  Brow Envy shaping & defining kit, or Anastasia Beverly Hills Besuty Express for Brows.


Please tell your friend I wish her the best possible outcome from her treatment.


thank you for being such a good friend to her.

Re: Chemo

Re: Chemo

Another vote for the Anastasia kit, I love the stencils & powder. 

And another vote for no fake lashes/lash glue for now. Her skin will be really sensitive, and the glue is just not a good idea. 

Maybe get a her a book for the Chemo diet. A few of my friends have said it helped give them energy, and made recover time seem less stressful/long. It tells you what foods to avoid before chemo & what to eat/drink at specific times. 

Re: Chemo

I would definitely make sure that any products you get for her are paraben free.  Although the studies about parabens are not conclusive, parabens mimic estrogen in the body and are almost always found in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer.  That isn't to say that parabens cause breast cancer, but I try to steer clear.


Also, have you thought about buying her a blender?  One of the major side effects of chemo is nausea and/or loss of appetite.  When a family friend was going through chemo for breast cancer, we bought her a blender and a smoothie "cookbook" for her so that she could more easily get the nutrients her body will need to get better.  Honestly, with how terrible she might feel after chemo, an "inner care" gift might be even better than some make up Smiley Happy


Wishing her best of luck with chemo and a speedy recovery!!

Re: Chemo

You are such a good friend to do all this for her.  


I don't have anything to offer on the beauty end.. there are 'healthy' makeup lines you can explore if you are having trouble finding cosmetics not including the ingredients that were mentioned.. Jane Iredele is an example (I have no idea if the line is clean enough but you could check)  


Making healthy shakes is a great idea Urbie!  A tip… keep frozen Kale around.. you can add it to most shakes and it ups the nutrition and if you blend it well enough you barely notice anything is in there.  I have a vitamix and I can add handfuls at a time and still produce something yummy.  


If it were my friend, I would have her ask her oncologist about a vegan diet.  Full disclosure, I'm a vegetarian.  However, I'm in no way suggesting this to try to convince anyone else to do it.  I'm just sharing because I know two people living in different parts of the country who were going back for  the second time to battle cancer and at the point their oncologists (who were among the best in their respective cities) both suggested they go on a vegan diet.  These people were meat eaters and not looking for any alternative ways to fight the cancer.   I don't know anything more about this and was actually shocked to learn about it.  My doctor told me the medical profession is practical and they don't suggest things to patients that they don't think they will actually do..  and being vegan is something most people aren't willing to try.  I'm just throwing this out there and I have no idea if it's right for her.. but we are all touched by cancer in some way and am sharing this incase anyone can learn something they might want to have in their arsenal.  


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