Looking Good and Feeling Better in the Bay Area

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LGFB_Photo1.jpgLast month at the M. D. Anderson Clinical Care Center in the Bay Area (Nassau Bay, Texas), six of its patients met to learn makeup techniques and discuss beauty tips as part of the American Cancer Society's Look Good ... Feel Better program.

The class, designed to teach beauty tips and skin care to patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, was led by volunteer Ricky Knowles, a licensed cosmetologist from Artemis Hair in Bellaire, Texas, who has spent his career helping men and women with medical hair loss.

Knowles began the class with basic skin care: the steps of cleansing the skin, moisturizing and applying make-up. He then discussed different ways of covering the head, from hats and turbans to scarves, and finally wigs. He says there are positives and negatives to both synthetic and human hair wigs. "It just depends on the person and her preferences."

LGFBRickyLoretta_small.jpgAfter the class Knowles shared that his passion comes not only from a background of designing wigs, but from his experience with his father, who he lost to cancer. His enthusiasm for his work is visible. "The classes are a lot of fun," he says. "I get people to 'take their hair off' and we go from there. Most of the women in the class had already lost their hair due to chemotherapy, but there were all types of women there."
Previously strangers, the class came together as chatting between lessons and fussing over eyeliner led to deeper talk of sharing stories and struggles only those in their shoes could understand.

By the end of the class the makeovers turned out beautifully, but the transformative power of finding a kindred spirit or two shone through and made the real difference.

If you're interested in attending a free Look Good ... Feel Better class at M. D. Anderson, the next available sessions are 10 a.m.-noon on Monday, Jan. 18, and Friday, Feb. 19. Registration is required; participants can call 713-563-0670, ext. 2, to register or obtain more information about the event.

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