Undergoing chemotherapy wasn't the ideal way for Joanie Evans to spend last summer.
The 67-year-old Williamsport woman was diagnosed with breast cancer a second time last summer, and she couldn't have been more disheartened.
"It wasn't a recurring cancer. It was another cancer. It was a shock," Evans said.
Photo for the Mirror by Kristy MacKaben
Stylists from Glow Salon in Altoona who will help with the Look Good ... Feel Better program are (from left) Erin Masone, Lindsey Caporuscio and Tish Goodrich. The program is held at the Altoona Beauty School.
This time around, Evans had to undergo chemo-therapy and a mastectomy. Dealing with her change in appearance wasn't easy, but a program called Look Good ... Feel Better came into her life just around the time she needed hope the most.
"It came at a time that my whole body was changed. I had chemicals in my body. I'm not going to have a breast," Evans said. "It was a perfect time for Look Good ... Feel Better."
Any women undergoing active treatments, or those recently finished with cancer treatments are eligible for the program, which helps cancer patients improve self-image through group beauty sessions.
The next Look Good ... Feel Better program will be May 14 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Altoona Beauty School. Anyone wishing to attend should call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.
The national program, which began in 1989, is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society, the Personal Care Pro-ducts Council Foundation and the National Cosmetology Associa-tion/Professional Beauty Asso-ciation.
Look Good ... Feel Better came to Altoona in 2002 at the Altoona Beauty School.
During the two-hour sessions, volunteer stylists and beauticians teach cancer patients about skin care, makeup application, nail care and dealing with hair loss, said Emily Lloyd, health initiatives representative with American Cancer Society in Hollidaysburg.
"The experience is very rewarding because most of the guests to the workshop have never applied makeup or heard of proper skin care," Altoona Beauty School aesthetics instructor and certified Look Good ... Feel Better instructor Stephen Nevling said.
"You will see their confidence grow as you equip them with skills and answer questions throughout the workshop. Emotionally the experience is uplifting as the workshop guest learns to cope with physical appearance issues," he said.
Six to 10 cancer patients attend each of the six sessions each year, and the number of stylists depends on attendance at the sessions.
At Altoona Beauty School, the volunteers are stylists from Glow Salon in Altoona, who were specially trained for the Look Good ... Feel Better program.
"It really goes hand in hand with salon," Glow Salon owner Sarina Yingling said. "We really enjoy making people feel good. We want to make people feel like they're glowing. It's about feeling good. You look good, you feel good."
Fellow hairdresser at Glow, Erin Masone, said she enjoyed the experience.
"I like to see someone who's going through a hard time feel better. When they leave they really feel better," she said.
Evans can attest to feeling better after the session in July.
She had originally registered for the program in her home town of Williamsport, but it flooded in town on the date of the session and it was cancelled. Wanting to follow through with the program, Evans signed up for the session in Altoona because she knew she could stay with friends.
"Look Good ... Feel Good came at just the right time for me when I was feeling not so pretty and was tired from treatment," Evans said.
During the session, Evans learned everything from applying eyebrow pencil to scrubbing skin and washing skin correctly.
"You're not supposed to use a loofah during chemotherapy. I didn't know that," Evans said, explaining stylists gave pointers that made a difference.
Before cancer, Evans only applied blush and lipstick. After the Look Good ... Feel Better program, Evans learned how to correctly apply mascara and which eye shadows were best for her skin and eye color.
"This helped me to feel normal and normalize things," Evans said.
As part of the hair loss portion, Nevling and stylists talk about proper wig fitting, as well as scarf and turban tying.
Nevling chose a wig that was a little longer than Evans' usual style, but Evans felt great.
"People thought I looked great," Evans said. "I thought this is my chance. I can really step out here."
Evans is not alone. Many women feel better after going through the program, said Lloyd said.
"I feel the program is important for woman with cancer because of what I see on the faces of women who participate in the beginning of the session insecurity, fear or curiosity. by the end of the workshop smiles and a beauty that glows from within," Nevling said. "I have always told my esthetic students that the true beauty of a woman is found within their heart and beautiful makeup comes from beautiful skin and personality."