During the festive period it’s all to easy to think about eating too many Quality Street and how many presents you’ll find stuffed in your stocking. But Christmas is also about giving back to the community and celebrating the great things that people do for others. Boots have teamed up with Macmillan Cancer to bring ‘Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors’ to stores across the country, hoping that their expertise can help those currently suffering the side effects of living with cancer. Boots and Macmillan believe every woman has the right to feel good about themselves. A poll by Macmillan Cancer Support showed 81% feel the physical side-effects of their treatment have negatively affected their self esteem; despite this, 64% are unsure of how to disguise them and 73% would welcome beauty advice from a local trained advisor.
In response to this obvious need, No7 advisors have been specially trained to offer advice and support to help people affected by cancer to manage the visible side-effects of their treatment. This support aims to help women undergoing cancer treatment to feel more like themselves again at a time when they need it most – with a discrete one-to-one consultation. The Beauty Advisors have completed an in-depth training programme enabling them to advise customers on the best products for their needs, and demonstrate how to apply cosmetic techniques to minimise (often embarrassing) visible side-effects. Their training means they are able to offer advice on the side effects of cancer treatment that aren’t handled by medical practictioners – such as the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, deeper wrinkles, dry or sensitive skin and brittle nails. This simple service can offer a unique opportunity for women to regain their confidence and feel more like ‘them’ on the outside, even if inside they’re experiencing some difficult times. I had the pleasure of visiting a hospice during 2013 to see first hand what a difference a little bit of makeup can make to someone going through a difficult personal time, (you can read my experience here) so I only have supportive things to say of this venture. I was able to catch up with Geraldine Freer, one of the ‘Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors’, to find out what difference the service really makes to those suffering from cancer.
Why did you want to get involved in the Boots Macmillan campaign?
I wanted to become a Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisor to help ladies undergoing cancer treatment not only look good, but feel good too – by teaching them how to disguise the visible side effects of cancer treatment themselves.
Do you have any personal experiences that have made the campaign feel even more important?
I know lots of people who have suffered from cancer, but to see a friend’s mum going through it and see how the treatment can affect people in so many ways really made me want to be able to support them. I wanted to show people how they can disguise the visible side effects of their treatment.
What kind of questions do you get asked?
Most frequently, we get asked
· ‘How can I feel more feminine?’
· ‘What products can I use with the treatment I’m going through?’
· ‘How can my draw my eyebrows on?’
· ‘Can I use false lashes as I’ve lost my eye lashes?’
How do you feel you’re making a difference?
The invaluable training I’ve had has equipped me with both the knowledge and confidence to hold these sensitive conversations, and help people feel that little bit better about themselves at a time when they need it most. Whether it’s teaching them to give advice on brittle nails, care for dry skin or draw on their eyebrows, it’s great to see people leave feeling more positive about their appearance.
What’s the best advice you’ve been able to give?
The best advice I’ve been able to give is how to draw on eyebrows and make eye lashes look fuller since losing them. Until you lose yours you really don’t understand how hard it is to redraw your eyebrows – especially as you have no brows to follow.
Why is the support of a company like Boots so important?
Every woman has the right to feel good about themselves – and they shouldn’t have to wander far for this to be the case! The fact that an accessible, high street store such as Boots provides a service such as this is important because people trust Boots to give them the best advice and support possible. Now customers can access beauty advice, alongside support on medication and the associated side effects from qualified pharmacists, under one roof.
Find out more about the ‘Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors’ here.