By the nature of its side effects, cancer treatment can make a private battle a very public affair. For a woman with cancer, having a bald head, pale skin or a missing breast can make her feel like she's being targeted by a bright spotlight and a banner that says "cancer patient."
But now more than ever, there are resources for women that will put the spotlight back on their work, their accomplishments and their life—and change that banner to simply read "woman."
Imaging International, located in West Los Angeles, provides Lhair treatment services, specifically for cancer patients. Women with cancer can also order a wig of their choice at headcovers.com. This site provides women, who are battling cancer, many types of wigs or headwear they need. There is also Patti’s Pearls, a service that encourages and supports women with cancer by carrying wigs that meet their specific needs. These are just a few places women battling cancer can go to for hair and make- up services. It is important to call any beauty salon beforehand and ask if they do any specific services for cancer patients. Premium Skin Care by Diana, located in Santa Monica, specializes in organic skin treatments. Hair In Vogue, located in West Los Angeles, specializes in wigs and hair extensions. They fix wigs and style them. Barrington Court Health and Beauty, located in Brentwood, offers a variety of services; hair treatment, body treatment, eyebrows, skincare and more. Claudia’s All About You, located in Culver City, provides clients with a variety of services, including hair extensions.
Girl on the Go provides private or in-home wig consultations for women with cancer, with locations in 12 states, including Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
Breast cancer survivor Sheril Cohen started the business after her own struggles with hair loss that were matched only by the frustrating process of getting a wig.
"Wig shopping was awful," Cohen shares on her website. "[The attendant] tried to sell me this wig. I thought it was a cute cut, but I thought it made me older and unattractive. I cried. I felt sexy with my long hair. With this wig on I felt like a suburban fortysomething-year-old soccer mom. I was successful, single, a thirtysomething NYC woman. I wanted to retain me—not become someone I did not recognize."
Now Cohen proudly sells wigs of all kinds—synthetic, hybrid, human hair—to women all over the country, providing, as one of her clients says, privacy.
"I felt so like myself in my wig," said Ellen, a client. "No one knew. People who knew I had been diagnosed but did not know much else used to come up to me at events and ask when I was going to start chemo or if I had chosen a doctor yet. I did not have to tell anyone anything I did not want to tell them."
As women in chemotherapy treatment discover, hair loss isn't limited to their locks. It means no eyebrows, no eyelashes and, as Cohen points out, one bright spot—no shaving.
Women can visit a lash studio to get back that feminine flutter of the lashes, and maybe even amp up their look with a few sexy, extra-long lash extensions.
Shapes Brow Bar, located in Culver City, provides a variety of services for clients from brow treatments to makeup. Get Waxed, located in Venice, specializes in waxing, including eyebrow maintenance. NearlyYou is a website that sells breast forms, breast enhancers, mastectomy bras, and more for cancer patients. Lashes by Chou Chou, located in West Los Angeles, specializes in eyelash extensions.
There also resources online for women who have had surgery during treatment. KA Mastectomy Bras and Apparel, started by survivor Kimberly Ashmand, features pretty and practical bras tailored to the unique needs of survivors, as well as some with a little lace and sparkle to help women feel sexy again.
Adopting a new look during treatment is about more than simply feeling good for the moment—it can be another weapon in a woman's arsenal against cancer, giving her a deep well of positivity to sustain her.
TELL US: We want to know what matters most to you, whether it's lashes, lipstick or lingerie. Share in the comments section below what aspects of a makeover makes you feel the most beautiful.