This article is part of the Our CQ Winter Edition. To read the online edition click here.
Affected by cancer? The Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors are available to support you and give you free beauty advice and support that’s right for you.
From the moment you receive your diagnosis, throughout your treatment and beyond, the friendly and professional team of specially trained Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors, Church Street, Coleraine are on hand to give face-to-face advice to help people cope with visible side effects of cancer.
From defining sparse brows and lashes, to caring for nails that are suddenly more brittle, they offer lots of tips to help people look and feel more like themselves again.
Amanda Barr and Chloe Freeman Wallace are two of the fabulous ladies who provide this service in the Coleraine town store, describing it as a ‘privilage’ to be able to give ladies back some confidence in their appearance at a time when life is tough.
Chloe explained: “We are a safe place for people to come to. It’s not about sales, it’s about making someone feel good about themselves again whether that be with skin care and makeup.
“We are there to listen and make every person who sits in our chair feel good about themselves.”
Amanda added: “We will take time and chat to the customer about the treatment they are going through and how it affects their skin because everyone is different.
“It can be very sensitive and dry so they have to be very careful about what products they use on their skin and that’s where we come in. We can advise and give them samples to try at home.
“We also work with Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists who can help us out to ensure we are advising the proper products”
“Sometimes their consultant will give them a list of ingredients they can’t use so we always double check what’s in our products and if they aren’t suitable we can recommend other products from other brands,” continued Chloe.
It’s common knowledge that intensive treatments like chemotherapy often take a physical and emotional toll on patients, yet many still struggle with embarrassment or shame after experiencing visible side effects, such as brow loss
Eyebrows are the features on our face that help punctuate emotion and are central to how we picture ourselves as individuals.While many people undergoing chemo are able to cope with hair loss on their head, eyebrows are another thing altogether. Without them, people often describe themselves as looking vague, emotionless, or just plain ill
“Eyebrows are a big thing for people who are going through treatment for cancer,” said Chloe. “We had a customer a number of months ago and she was looking at mascara and eyebrow pencils with her friends. Her words to me were ‘I look scary, I want something that doesn’t make me look scary.’
“When I showed her how to put her eyebrows on she just cried because she hadn’t had eyebrows for two years.”
Amanda added: “Your eyebrows stop your sockets sinking so we can teach people how to put eyebrows on with a pencil and we can advise them how to line their eyes to look bigger if they have lost their eyelashes as well.
“Anyone can book a consultation on the Boots app or they can just call in with us and it doesn’t have to be someone who is going through cancer treatment. There are a number of conditions which lead to people losing their eyebrows and eyelashes and we are more than happy to help them.”
Both Chloe and Amanda agree, being a Boots Macmillan beauty Advisor is both rewarding and emotional. They get the opportunity to help patients through some of the most challenging times in their lives, watching the change in the person when they walk into the store looking for advice after a diagnosis or whilst undergoing treatment versus the transformational change they see in the person leaving the store.
“We often find that when a person comes into us for the initial consultation, once they are in the seat then they open up to us,” said Chloe. “We just listen, that’s what we are there for.
“Yes, it can be very emotional listening to people’s stories but at the same time it is very rewarding to be able to help them feel better although at times it is very hard to keep your emotions in.”
Amanda continued: “Sometimes talking to a stranger is easier than talking to your family. At times all it takes is a small comment and that brings it all out, it can be a release for these people who are maybe trying to be strong for their family
“Just being able to make a difference to these courageous people is very humbling. I had one lady come to me and she had lost all her hair and eyebrows because of Covid.
“I showed her what to do and she couldn’t believe the difference it made. It’s all about practice and confidence to do it and the difference it makes is amazing. The number of people who say to us, ‘I feel more like myself again’. I feel very privileged to be able to do this.”
Agreeing, Chloe commented: “Just putting some makeup on someone can make them feel so much better because they feel like they have lost themselves a bit going through the treatment. For us it is so rewarding.”
If you find some of the side effects of your cancer treatment are affecting how you feel about yourself call into the Church Street store in Coleraine and let their fantastic Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors help you look and feel more like yourself again.
Consultations are free and an appointment isn’t always necessary
Boots, 26-28 Church St: Coleraine. Tel: 02870356666.