Makeup tips from a lipstick angel

We spoke to Amy Holiber, west coast program director for the Lipstick Angels, to get her thoughts on what makeup is safe for patients to use, and which products will help them look and feel their best.
The Lipstick Angels, founded by makeup artist Renata Helfman, is a nonprofit organization, committed to helping patients feel beautiful by providing complimentary makeup application, mini hydrating facials, aromatherapy and hand massages while they are undergoing treatment.
“I think when you are going through such a harsh medical treatment and you've been robbed of so much on every level, spiritually, emotionally, physically, your sense of self is completely compromised,” Holiber said.
“By practicing some self-care and getting back to your beauty routines, you can find a sense of normalcy again. There's a lot of power in feeling like you’re not defined by your illness. So, so much of that can be achieved through a little lipstick.”

Stick with natural, chemical-free, nontoxic products

Many beauty products currently on the market contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin, especially if you’re a cancer patient.
“At Lipstick Angels, we’re big proponents of natural, nontoxic, green, organic beauty products. Everything we use is paraben- and preservative-free. The products we use are also free of artificial or synthetic fragrance, or color of any kind,” Holiber said.
“When patients ask me where to purchase good natural products, I always suggest Credo Beauty. They are our retail beauty partner and carry the largest collection of safe, nontoxic makeup, skin-care and other personal care items. Credo generously keeps our hospital kits stocked with the best chemical-free products on the market.”


Some makeup products can serve different functions. A product like Tata Harper’s lip and cheek tint, for example, can be used as both a blush and lipstick. Olio E Osso’s tinted balms, which come in stick form, are another great multipurpose option. Items like these are perfect if you’re short on time, on the go, or just looking for a really natural, dewy glow.
“These lip and cheek tints give you this beautiful sheer, but buildable color. They’re really hydrating and full of vitamins, too, so they’re pretty to look but also good for your skin,” Holiber explained.
Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular CC Cream is another great multitasker. It gives gorgeous tinted coverage, minimizes fine lines and wrinkles and is also a broad-spectrum SPF. Products that are all-in-one take the work out of looking good.”

Use hydrating products

Dry, dehydrated skin is a common complaint of those going through cancer treatment. To combat this, it’s important to make sure you’re using moisture rich makeup and skin-care products.
“One great line that we use is Vapour Organic Beauty. Vapour was started by two women who had been in the natural skin-care field for quite some time, and one of them is actually a two-time breast cancer survivor, so it's a very personal mission for them,” Holiber said.
“They manufacture, design and source everything in Taos, New Mexico, and they use really clean ingredients. I love their Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation because it’s really hydrating and has light reflecting properties that help diffuse any imperfections.”

Draw on those eyebrows

Many patients undergoing chemotherapy feel insecure about losing their eyebrows, but are uncomfortable drawing them on themselves. That’s where Anastasia Beverly Hills, the preeminent expert in brow shaping and products, comes in.
“Free-handing a brow with no hair to guide you, that’s hard, and I'm a makeup artist. Anastasia donates eyebrow stencils to our kits that make brow shaping easy. They come in five shapes, so everyone can find their perfect arch. All you need is a brow pencil and the stencil,” Holiber explained.
“We use the stencils when working with patients, and teach them how to use it. Then they get to take it home so they can do their brows themselves. Patients we work with always go home with a takeaway. Our hope is that they continue to feel all the good energy that was created during their pampering session, and feel inspired to prioritize their self-care. We want to restore hope," said Holiber.
For more about the Lipstick Angels, visit Learn how you can get involved and help bring dignity to cancer patients.