Chemotherapy and other treatments for cancer can wreak havoc on the body, both inside and out. In addition to weight changes and surgery scars, the aesthetic effects of cancer treatments include hair loss and dry skin and nails. It’s no surprise that these sudden physical changes can have emotional and psychological repercussions and negatively affect the self-image of cancer patients.
Beauty retailer Sephora is stepping up to the plate to help boost the confidence of cancer patients. This week, the company launches Brave Beauty in the Face of Cancer, free 90-minute workshops for women and men undergoing cancer treatments, according to Teen Vogue. The hands-on classes will teach customers “techniques and products that address the visible effects of cancer treatments,” according to the website for Sephora’s Classes for Confidence.
Practically speaking, the classes will offer “tailored skincare tips, Color IQ skin-matching, and a step-by-step tutorial,” in addition to providing an empowering “safe place” for cancer patients who can relate to one another’s experiences — although loved ones are welcome and encouraged to attend as well. “These classes initiate powerful and positive connections for those dealing with cancer, away from the hospital environment,” Corrie Conrad, Sephora’s director of social impact and sustainability, told Teen Vogue.
Sephora started Classes for Confidence as part of its socially conscious Sephora Stands initiative, launched in 2016, which partners with organizations and community groups to reach its target audience. In its first year, Sephora Stands provided over 300 hours of mentorship and 200 Classes for Confidence. The free, in-store classes are “designed to help inspire confidence in those facing major life transitions,” according to a press release for the brand. This includes the brand’s Workforce Re-Entry classes, according to People.
The brand claims that input from its employees, class participants, and associated beauty entrepreneurs — called Sephora Accelerates — has informed initiatives for 2017, including Brave in the Face of Cancer. Of course, Sephora also consulted cancer patients themselves in its deep dive to understand their unique needs. “The groups included employees who are cancer survivors themselves and could share from their journey. Our goal was to just listen,” Conrad said to People.
“Looking and feeling your best helps you live more confidently,” Sephora says on its website. “Because you can live boldly. You are ready for any challenge. And now it’s time to celebrate what fearless looks like — you.” Conrad emphasizes that men undergoing cancer treatments are encouraged to attend Brave in the Face of Cancer classes. “Hair loss and skin effects from cancer treatments know no gender, and we want to be a safe space for all of our clients,” she told People.
The classes have been met with emotional reactions by the first people to enroll. Chiara, a New Jersey cancer survivor and participant interviewed by People, said that the treatment-induced changes in her appearance made her feel “like a Martian.” She continued, “My skin was definitely dry, and I had no hair, so I needed to draw on eyebrows.” Now that her hair has grown back in, it’s gray, so she came to Brave in the Face of Cancer’s New Jersey workshop to learn which products are right for her post-treatment hair, and which makeup colors “flatter her skin tone.” This is one of the first times since she learned she had cancer that she’s been able to focus on her appearance rather than her health.
Sephora is in good company with its new initiative. Since 1989, the Personal Care Products Council launched “Look Good Feel Better,” a series of two-hour, hands-on workshops that are “free, nonmedical, and salon and product neutral.” They’re also volunteer-led. In addition to lessons on skin care, head coverings, and fashion, participants receive complementary makeup kits.
So far, 40 locations across the nation have signed up to offer Brave in the Face of Cancer classes at Sephora locations. They can be found in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, says People. Search Sephora’s website to find one near you, and bear in mind that new classes will be added throughout the year. You’ll also find a slew of other Classes for Confidence, including “Essential Smoky Eye,” “Correct and Conceal,” and “No-Makeup Makeup.”
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