Using makeup and fashion to uplift and inspire

It’s all very well for us to go on about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Truth is, no matter how a woman looks, her looks hold a great deal of importance for her. All the more so when she loses them to cancer or an act of crime. Perhaps only those who have been in such situations can really understand the true value of a dab of foundation or a touch of mascara or a photo shoot in pretty garments.

They say any act is sublimated when we do it for a noble cause. Thus, the ubiquitous act of putting on makeup and the vaguely vain act of posing for photographs become tools for upliftment when used to create value and joy.

Here are a few stories we came across of gentle folk coming together to help women gain self-esteem through beauty and fashion.

Photo: Look Good Feel Better
Photo: Look Good Feel Better

Look Good Feel Better, UK
LGFB is a cancer-support charity providing practical and very effective free services for women and teenagers suffering from the visible side effects from cancer treatment. They do it through weekly, two-hour free workshops in makeup and hairstyling, taught to cancer patients to help them combat the visible signs of cancer treatment. Learn more about their new advertisement campaign here.

With their key aim being to boost the morale of female cancer patients who are finding it hard to cope with the changes in their appearance, the organisation was established in 1993 and has to date offered support to over 100,000 patients. Their free group and self-help skincare and makeup workshops create a sense of support, confidence, and wellbeing, and are sponsored by over 40 leading companies and brands from the beauty and fragrance industry, as well as many other organisations.

 

Acid-attack survivors turn models for photographer Rahul Saharan
Acid-attack survivors turn models for photographer Rahul Saharan

Stop Acid Attacks, India
This is surely a difficult place to work. In a land where crime against women takes up more and more hideous and perverse forms in every generation, acid attacks have been on the rise on Indian streets — men who have been spurned by the object of their desire procure a bottle of widely available industrial-grade acid and throw it at an opportune moment on their ‘lady love’, burning, scarring and debilitating her for life. The demoniac idea is — “If you can’t be mine, you can’t be anyone else’s either.” The non-profit SAA helps victims of acid attacks turn their lives around, one day at a time.

In a recent activity, they helped Rupa, a young woman who was attacked six years ago by her own stepmother as she slept, to realise her dream of becoming a fashion designer. They organised a fashion shoot by photographer Rahul Saharan, featuring other acid-attack victims as models wearing Rupa’s self-designed garments. “I wanted to take photographs that every girl could connect to. We wanted to change the perception of beauty. Earlier these girls used to cover their faces. And now they are posing for a photo-shoot,” Saharan told TheNewsMinute.com. The photographs from the shoot went viral on Facebook.

“My friends and I had never worn such kind of dresses. So we were a little shy initially. But then all of us wore them and the shoot turned out to be very good”, said Rupa after the shoot. SAA is currently raising funds for Rupa to start her own boutique in New Delhi.

 

Cancer patient Renee (left) with Debbie Clayton (right). Photo: Cade Mooney / Sunshine Coast Daily
Cancer patient Renee (left) with Debbie Clayton (right). Photo: Cade Mooney / Sunshine Coast Daily

Beautiful You, Australia
“Beautiful You” is a program that helps women and their families living with cancer. Besides providing practical, financial or emotional support, the Queensland-based organisation also offers to ‘make dreams come true’ such as sponsoring a makeover, a house cleaning, dinner out with girl friends or a weekend treat with one’s partner. They also hold events on the last Wednesday of every month, with activities including massages, art, candle-making, makeup courses, and more. All of these are sponsored by local businesses.

Their ‘Care Package’ comes with two a “Beautiful You Make Over” where ladies go through a makeup and wig consultation and a scarf demonstration. This session is usually made anywhere from first diagnosis to the first chemotherapy. The second step is the “Champagne Shave Day” where women are helped in dealing with the shock and fear the comes with losing their hair. Then comes the “Beautiful You Pamper Package”, which includes a foot scrub, foot soak and ‘silky moisture’ massage for the feet, and a serving of pink champagne and strawberries. Hair is shaved away, ending with a light and soothing scalp massage. “Many woman have found this gives a feeling of being able to control when and how they lose their hair, making it less distressing. It doesn’t leave any long unsightly strands left around the scalp, which can occur if it is left to fall out naturally,” says the founder Debbie Clayton.