How-to: Cancer Client Makeover

Step 1: Start with clean, moisturized skin, then apply a layer of primer. Silicone-based primers create a web over the skin that serves a multitude of purposes, such as evening out minor texture issues, helping foundation cling more easily, preventing the skin’s natural oils from mixing with other products, and diffusing light and products to give skin a more airbrushed look. Please note: There is a negative and positive aspect with regard to silicone on clients undergoing cancer treatment. A silicone-based primer can provide a smooth, soft feel and won’t pull at fragile skin, and the silicone can also act as an occlusive barrier, helping keep moisture in the skin. However, any toxic waste from medications that may be excreted through the skin, together with any bacteria, may be trapped in the skin due to silicone’s occlusive action. Removing makeup properly after a period of time is necessary.

Step 2: Apply a color-correcting moisturizer or concealer. Green tints neutralize red skin, and lavender tints neutralize yellow skin. When using a concealer, it is very important to use the correct color. Using the wrong color can draw attention to the problem rather than concealing it. Make sure to have color-correcting concealers, as well as natural skin tone concealers available for purchase in your retail section. Color-correcting concealers are more opaque than color-correcting moisturizers, and they can cover more pronounced color imperfections. When applying concealer, use the stippling technique, which is done by applying a small dot of concealer, and using a sponge to blot and blend it on the skin rather than applying one heavy amount of concealer. Continue to apply small dots and to stipple until the imperfection has been covered. Although stippling can be done with a synthetic stippling brush, brushes can also be a problem to sanitize, so disposable sponges are highly recommended.

Step 3: If using a foundation on the client, let it set for approximately 3–5 minutes. Blot all over the client’s face with a tissue, avoiding the nose if it has large pores. Some foundations can present oxidation issues, and very possibly a person undergoing cancer treatment may have a reaction on her skin to the foundation ingredients where oxidation may occur, and a change of color could result. Pay special attention to the eyelids, the lines under the eyes and the corners of the eyes where excess product may crease and collect. If the foundation tends to set into the smile lines, buff very lightly over this area once more.

Step 4: If you apply eye liner, use a soft pencil and draw a thin line from the inside corner of the upper and lower lash line to the outer corner. Smudge the eye liner for a natural look.

Step 5: According to a study performed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, eyebrows are very important for conveying emotions and other nonverbal signals. They serve as a stable feature on the face, and are considered a robust and consistent facial feature. An unnatural appearance caused by lack of eyebrows due to chemotherapy drugs may cause recognition difficulty. Thinning or nonexistent eyebrows can be compensated for by using eyebrow pencils. This does require practice by the client herself, but the results are well worth the effort.

To recreate the brow, start by making three dots. Place a pencil in a straight vertical line from the nose to the inside corner of the eye. Make a dot with the eyebrow pencil at the eyebrow line. Next, place the pencil horizontally at the top of the brow line. Make a dot at the very top of the brow line. Finally, place the pencil at the bottom of the nose, and move the pencil diagonally until you’ve reached the outer corner of the eye. Make a dot at the end of the eyebrow. Using two complementary shades of eyebrow color that match the client’s hair or wig shade, connect the dots using short, feathery strokes. The connected dots form the upper edge of the eyebrow line. For the inner half of the brow, use upward strokes, and for the outer half of the brow, use diagonal or horizontal strokes.

Step 6: Finish off the makeover by applying a natural lip color that complements the client’s overall skin tone. A creamy finish is recommended over a matte finish.