15 beauty tips if you want to feel more confident

Cancer can affect your appearance, which can understandably affect the way you feel. Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors are trained to offer make-up tips to help manage the visible side effects of cancer treatment, so people living with cancer can look and feel more like themselves during this tough time.

Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisor Charlotte Goodacre gives her top make-up tips for during and after treatment:


During treatment, especially chemotherapy, many people find that they develop very dry and sensitive skin. To help counteract this I often suggest the following tips:

1. Clean your body with lukewarm water and non-perfumed bath and shower oils. Avoid long, hot showers or soaking the bath, as hot water dries out the skin.

2. After washing, pat skin dry with a clean, soft towel and use rich and creamy moisturisers a least once a day. Look for moisturisers with ingredients such as glycerine, shea butter or cocoa butter, hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

3. Moisturisers that contain oatmeal can also be soothing. Try tying a muslin bag filled with oatmeal over your bath tap and letting the water run through.


Some cancer treatments cause changes to the texture and condition of hair and can also cause hair thinning or complete hair loss. For many, this visible side effect can be especially distressing.

There is no quick fix but the tips below can help prevent hair loss:

1. It’s helpful to have your hair short before starting any treatment that may cause hair loss; this is because the weight of long her can pull on the scalp and make the hair fall out faster.

2. When brushing your hair use a soft brush or babies’ brush. Avoid combing when your hair is brittle and avoid using hairdryers, straighteners and curling tongs.

3. Consider wearing hats and scarves to protect your head from the sun or cold wind if you don’t choose to wear a wig.


Many women come to me asking how to redraw their eyebrows naturally. As eyebrows help shape and define your face, being able to draw on eyebrows effectively can have a huge improvement on the way women going through cancer treatment feel about themselves. Here are my top tips:

1. Redraw eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil that is slightly lighter than your normal hair colour.

2. Many brands offer a brow powder/wax combo product which is great for creating brow shape and texture if you have little or no hair on the brow area. Lash and brow serums encourage growth of new hairs by stimulating the hair follicle, apply twice daily consistently for visible results.

3. Remember our brows are never truly symmetrical, use your face

shape to map out a brow outline and use short feathered strokes to create a natural look. Many tutorials are available on YouTube for you to follow as a guide or pop into a Boots store to speak to a Boots Macmillan Beauty advisor who will be able to help.


Closely linked with hair and eyebrow loss, eyelashes can become thin or fall out completely. There are a number of things you can try to mask this side effect, here are my personal favourites:

1. Avoid eyelash curlers, as they can damage fragile eyelashes.

2. To remove eye make-up, hold a damp cotton pad soaked in eye make-up remover to the eye for a couple of seconds before gently wiping away to avoid unnecessary pulling of the lashes.

3. Use a soft eyeliner and smudger to define your eyes and to create the illusion of eyelashes.


Chemotherapy or targeted therapy may make your fingernails and toenails grow more slowly or become brittle or flaky. Here are just some of the things you can do to help:

1. Use an emery board rather than cutting your nails to keep them short and smooth and avoid snagging. Use hand, foot and nail cream regularly, especially a nail-strengthening cream.

2. Wear gloves while doing household chores, especially the washing up.

3. Avoid using false nails during treatment or when nails are sore or damaged.

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