Makeup and Beauty Tips for Breast Cancer Patients: Staying Beautiful Inside and Out!; Product reviews – Bath & Body Works In Touch Breast Self-Exam Glove; Tarte’s Sweet Dreams Lipstick

Published in: Beauty Tips, Drugstore Beauty Finds, Hair, Makeup, Makeup Tools, Nails, News, Product Reviews, Skin Care

Makeup and Beauty Tips for Breast Cancer Patients: Staying Beautiful Inside and Out!

This is a picture of my friend, Mary Anne. She’s a breast cancer survivor and the coolest dentist I know.



We met a few years ago at UC Davis (GO AGS), where she had the annoying habit of getting good grades in organic chemistry!

It seemed like our lives were destined to follow a certain track: finish school, get great job, find kick-ass boy, etc.; so when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year it was really shocking. It felt like it was only yesterday when we were at her house at 2:00 in the morning “studying,” aka pigging out and watching Jerry Springer.

Next thing I know we’re kickin’ it at the chemotherapy ward and making jokes about the IV she’s toting around.

Yet despite this difficult and emotional year, I’ve watched my friend handle this challenge with grace and positivity.

One of the many challenges for Mary Anne was navigating the world of makeup and beauty as a cancer patient. How do you deal with losing your eyebrows? What do you do when you feel a hot flash coming on? These are just a few makeup/beauty issues that she had to deal with.

So without further ado, here are a few great tips that she’s learned this past year on how to stay beautiful both inside and out.

And if you have a friend or a relative who has breast cancer or was recently diagnosed please forward this post to her. Let’s make someone feel hopeful today!

Makeup and Beauty Tips for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors from the Lovely Mary Anne

Mary Anne

Age and occupation
31 years old (My 31st birthday was very special, it happened to be my last day of radiation!)

When were you diagnosed? How did you find out?

During a routine physical exam in October 2006, my primary care physician found a lump on my left breast. Prior to that, I had no idea it existed and never had any symptoms. Nine days later, the pathology report was in. I was in total disbelief when the doctor said “malignant invasive ductal carcinoma.” All I could do was cry.

After feeling the lump for the first time, I thought to myself…”It’s so obvious; I should’ve found it earlier!” I did not do monthly breast exams and thought I was immune to cancer because I was young, strong, and heading to the top of my career. Cancer was NOT on my agenda. Little did I know, it was going to be my only agenda item for this year.

Self-breast exams are recommended every month after our menses. Palpating your breasts in the shower with soap is the perfect time to get to know your breasts. Be sure to lift your arm and check the underarm areas as well.

What are makeup/beauty tips that you’d give to a woman who has breast cancer to stay beautiful on the outside?

Here they are in order of importance! I had to figure most of this stuff on my own, so I thought I should share them all.

– Hydrate daily. Drink plenty of water and moisturize your body including your lips. I like Cetaphil and Eucerin products.

Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser, about $11 for 16 oz bottle, at your favorite drugstore

– When you feel tired, your body is telling you something…it’s saying “REST, I’m tired!”

– With clearance from your doctor, EXERCISE! If you are taking steroids to counter the side effects of chemo drugs, don’t be surprised if you find yourself a little plumper.


– Eat healthy but don’t deprive yourself of an occasional treat. Ask your doctor to speak to a nutritionist. Some hospitals offer complimentary consults. If needed, you may also want to consider speaking with a cancer psychologist as well as a social worker to assist with financial aid and participation in cancer programs.

– FLOSS! See your dentist for regular dental care. Post chemo and radiation, I now have xerostomia (dry mouth) and gum recession. Some cancer patients also experience cold/canker sores. I recommend topical fluoride treatments (like Omnii Pharmaceutical’s varnish) and regular cleanings with clearance from your medical physician. Saliva acts as a buffer against the acidic environment that causes tooth decay; so lack of saliva (dry mouth) may result in increased cavities. Speak to your dentist about Biotene (for xerostomia), Periomed (which contains stannous fluoride), Prevention Oncology Rinses (found it in Walgreens, soothing to the tissues), and Colgate’s Orabase (it contains cyanoacrylate, the same stuff in crazy glue, it’s palliative for cold sores). Chew sugar free gum with xylitol. Brush twice a day.


– Before your hair falls out, try a funky, new, bold short haircut to minimize messy floors and clogged drains. It was only two weeks into chemo that my hair started falling out in clumps. A very sweet hairdresser, Jessica, at Thirteen Salon in Walnut Creek, CA shaved my head. It was one of the most liberating things I have ever done.

Halle Berry with a short style

Alyssa Milano with cute, short hair

– Anastasia’s Eyebrow Kit. I was never one to draw in eyebrows. The kit has everything for a beginner…stencils, mascara, the perfect eyebrow brush and colors.

Anastasia Five Piece Brow Kit, $65.00, or Sephora

– Find pretty nail polish. Chemo drugs such as Adriamycin and Cytoxin will turn your nails black. I prefer darker colors like OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark and Mrs. O’Leary’s BBQ.

OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark, $7.50 at

– Treat yourself to a nice scarf. I found a classy large scarf at H&M for $8!

– Try NARS bronzer and blush. Apply a little bit to give yourself a healthy glow. It works!

Nars Orgasm Blush and Laguna Bronzer duo, $36 at Sephora

– Attend “Look Good, Feel Better,” a seminar held by the American Cancer Society free of charge for cancer patients. They give $200-$400 worth of brand name cosmetics to each attendee. They also give free wig and make-up tips. Call your local society for more information.

– Carry hand sanitizer wherever you go.

– When a hotflash comes on, just imagine that you’re in a sauna and think peaceful thoughts. Get a meditation CD.

What beauty tips would you give to a woman who has breast cancer to stay beautiful and positive emotionally?

– Pray. Meditate. Yoga. Walk.

– This really helps…Whenever I was feeling down, I started to count my blessings. I thought of all the things I am thankful for i.e. mom, dad, sisters, brothers, nephew, relatives, friends, advances in health care, food on the table, plumbing, clean water, chocolate.

– Remember, life is worth every minute. You can choose your thoughts. Keep a positive attitude and if there is any time to erase negativity in your life, it’s NOW. Choose to LOVE LIFE and never lose HOPE. Plus, when your kids see you love life and do good for others, they will be happier and will contribute more to this beautiful world in their lifetimes. As you go through this challenge, you will be amazed by your strength, courage, and stamina. You will also be amazed by the resilience of your body.

– Growing up, I have always believed that there are virtues that no one can ever take away from me like integrity…same goes for your HOPE, FAITH, and your ability to LOVE.

– Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Truly Forgive.

– SMILE, it doesn’t cost you anything.

– Dance, it doesn’t cost you anything.

– It’s okay to cry. It can be very cleansing. Lean on your family and friends for support.


– Take a picture of your baldness. I wish I did.

– Do something good for yourself everyday.

– Meet other cancer patients and survivors. Make friends at the infusion center. Might as well make your 3-5 hour infusions pleasant.

Welcome to the sisterhood, sista! When you are done, you will come out with GRACE, SERENITY, and POWER! This is where true beauty is found…in your heart and soul. There are people who are fighting for you and who want you to win this battle!

What are you looking forward to most in the next year?

I’m looking forward to enjoying family, friendships, life, more rigorous workouts, learning how to cook gourmet meals, travel, and mission trips. I’m looking forward to practicing dentistry again. I love my patients. Oh and, taking a picture with the kitty on this website.

More Fab Breast Cancer Awareness Products

It’s not too early to start thinking about stocking stuffers for Christmas! One gift I plan on getting all the women in my life is In Touch Breast Self-Exam Glove, which you can purchase at Bath & Body Works for $9.00.


This reusable glove reduces friction by 50% and increases sensitivity, so your fingers can glide smoothy across the breast during your monthly breast self-exam. This kit also includes complete exam intsructions, a monthly reminder calendar, and a pretty travel satchel for your glove.

I just tried this glove during my last breast self-exam and it really does make it easier. I now keep the kit in my bathroom and just check off date on the calendar so I can keep track of my exam dates. Every woman on my Christmas list is getting one of these!

Another great stocking stuffer is tarte’s inside out lipstick in the shade Sweet Dreams, which I reviewed a few weeks ago.


October is a great month to pick up this pretty dusty-pink rose lippie, because 20% of the retail sales will go to Young Survival Coalition, You can purchase Sweet Dreams inside-out lipstick at Sephora stores nationwide.

Ladies, please do a monthly breast self exam and encourage the women in your life to do the same!

Hugs to you and to all the breast cancer survivors fighting to stay healthy.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 32 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. nilla cookie says:


    This is such a moving story and thank so much to you and Mary Anne for sharing! It must be such a hard thing to endure the news of cancer at such a young age, but you handled it with such grace and (obvious!!) style!

    This is an important message for all the ladies out there and should we find ourselves in that same place, now we know we can still fell and look as HOT as Mary Anne.

    Thanks again and all the best!

  2. Karen says:

    Hi Lilan,

    Doesn’t my friend rock? I love her.

    I’ll send along your nice words…I’m sure it’ll make her day.

    Take care and have a grrrrrreat weekend!

  3. Christine says:

    GREAT article and feature, Karen. Mary Anne is definitely a TRUE survivor, and it was so eye-opening to read her story!

  4. Karen says:

    Hey darlin’! Hope you are feeling better 🙂

    I know when I was your age (many, many moons ago, HA!) I really didn’t even think about breast cancer, but now is the time to start. I’m so glad we as beauty bloggers have this amazing platform to reach and effect other people’s lives. Who knows? Maybe all of our breast cancer coverage will save someone’s life.

  5. Christine says:

    A little bit better, it’s not real full blown sickness, just a very irritating sore throat.

    I have to pick up that glove thing, so hopefully next week since I’ll be heading to the mall for Antiquitease anyway.

    What are your Friday evening plans?

  6. Hey Karen,

    This post of yours really moved me, two of my aunts have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so October’s usually a very emotional time for me. I swear I cried when I read the makeup tips for women with cancer, because under all the toughness u need to battle cancer, it’s hard to look at urself in the mirror with sores and grayish skin…I think we all need tips to make us look pretty, even in our low times, because looking pretty and feeling it, give our egos and self-esteem a boost like no other. I love ur post, and forwarded it to so many people. Keep up ur excellent posts girl…u rock…and so does ur wonderful site:)


  7. Vera says:

    Your article was really touching. I’m so glad that she’s doing well now. My great aunt died because of breast cancer, and her death was especially tough on my mom. And thanks for telling us about the glove. I’m planning on getting it for my friends. And go Ags! I’m part of class of 2005. Keep up the great work!

  8. Karen says:

    Oh good! I will see how long I can stay away from Antiquitease…I’m sure it won’t last and that my curiosity will get the better of me.

    I forced Le Boy to take me to the movies so that I could have a healthy dinner of popcorn and sour patch kids. We saw, “We Own the Night.” ‘Twas really good!

    How ’bout you? Anything exciting?

  9. Karen says:

    Hi I Love Mac,

    I’m sorry to hear about your aunts. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.


  10. Karen says:

    Hi Vera,

    I’m sorry to hear about your great aunt. I hope that you and your family have found a way to cope with your loss.

    It’s nice to hear from another UCD girl. I was just there a few weeks ago although there’s been many changes since I’ve graduated one thing has stayed the same: L’eau de stinky cattle!

    Take care and have a great weekend!

  11. Alicia says:

    This is a very touching story! I am so glad that Mary Anne now is in remission. She look’s so beautiful and I LOVE that she came out on top with a great attitude. P.s I love your website;)

  12. Glosslizard says:

    Thanks, Karen, for sharing the amazing story and the tips! I was in the Long’s makeup department once, and was randomly asked by a young woman what cosmetics I would recommend to help her deal with the results of chemo. She was convinced that if she asked her doctor, she would simply be told not to use anything at all! I did my best at the time (and tried to convince her that her doctor would help), but I will remember these tips for the future!

    Mary Anne, your story is truly moving, your tips are great, and your courage is inspiring! Plus, your picture is gorgeous and my husband went to UCD too (go Ags)!

    Stay beautiful (I know you will)!

  13. Christine says:

    I’m actually good at resisting! Only bought Black Karat kohl power from McQueen 😉

    I spent my night taking pictures of before-and-after of mascaras and attempting to do a Halloween mask. My poor face!

  14. kia says:

    karen this was the best BCA post ever.. very moving.. it made my eyes well with hope and blessings. thanks to your beautiful friend for sharing tips and her story.

  15. Karen says:

    Thanks Alicia! I’ll be sure to send along your lovely complements to her. Hope to see you back soon!

  16. Karen says:

    Awww, Glosslizard! I love that story of you helping that young lady out. It’s the little things we do for people, I think, that define our lives.

    Have a wonderful weekend and take care!

    P.S. It’s so funny how many UCD folks are around…it’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon up in here!

  17. Karen says:

    Christine, girl, which mask did you do? The devil one looked like someone I used to work with, HA!

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Kia,

    Awww, hugs to you. 🙂

    Take care of yourself my dear and always check “the girls” every month! Baby Yum needs you!

  19. Christine says:

    I attempted one of the robotic ones. Oh, that’s funny, I’m sure they wouldn’t think so, but hey 😉

  20. Marisol says:

    You friend is such an inspiration and thank you for having her share her story and advice with us.

    Marisol´s last blog post..TILT 10.30.08

  21. Sunny says:

    Hello, I just want to make a small comment your site is great. I want to send a warm shout out to my sister Terry who was just diagnosised with breast cancer she needs some real cheering up and I am going to send her your site to make sure she gets all the make up tips she can use for her first few weeks in Chemo.. Huggs to all you brave girls who are dealing with this awful disease.. and thank you for making a site that is user friendly
    Sunny G.

  22. VaneRV says:

    Hello! my mom has been on chemo and radiation treatment for 3 years now. Keeping her feeling beautiful has been a hard chore. I live in Paraguay, and even though there are hundreds of women fighting cancer, there are no stores dedicated to sell things for them -even getting a wig can be a frustrating task. My mother was blessed to travel to Miami to get a bathing suit, a prothesis and a wig.
    I am searching for products available for women undergoing cancer treatment. This was a great story to read. Inspiring, and very good suggestions. Thanks!

    VaneRV´s last blog post..

  23. Melody says:

    I just had my first chemotherapy treatment yesterday. I’ve gathered much medical information and met with numerous doctors to establish my treatment plan. Took a chemotherapy class and all that, but, I woke up this morning thinking -I need beauty tips! So I googled beauty tips for breast cancer chemotherapy treatment – and voila! Thanks for the info and encouragement, time to go shopping! Best Wishes for a happy and healthy holiday! Peace..

  24. Nina says:

    Thank you for this post. I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer, had surgery and am now facing chemo and radiation. Because of this site I can line some things up ahead of time while I am waiting. Thanks you for the tips and good luck to you.

  25. Cat says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m enjoying an ideal Sunday perusing your blog, and I want to thank you for having your friend share her story. Mary Anne is an inspiration and gives great advice. I just bookmarked this page.

    I hope you are enjoying a beautiful Easter with your family.

  26. Kris Q says:

    I’m a professional make-up artist in Calgary and I’m interested in finding out about providing my make-up services to ladies who are ill and need a pick-me-up and/or lesson. Do you know of any organizations that currently offer these services?

    Thanks a alot


  27. Savannah says:

    I have amazing respect for cancer survivors. I don’t think I could have the mentality that they do, I don’t think I could. This was a great article (even did a check) i always forget!

  28. Pam Cleveland says:

    I start chemo tomorrow and took my husbands advise and went looking for someone who cna relate to me. So glad I found you. I am older (64) but even though I am not a comestic person I still don’t want to look “OLD” form the drugs. This has helped me a lot and thank you so much. I may be a grandmother of 12 but I am still a young women at heart. Your words of hope were well timed for me.
    Bless you!

  29. Marina says:

    Hi, I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 29th Nov 12 then on the 17th Dec had a mastectomy right breast. I am starting chemotherapy this month, so feeling scared about the side affects as it is important for me to feel and look good. Feeling a little down today but your story has made me pick myself up. Normally I am a strong, confident women and I am sure I will be this person again so stories like yours is comforting to read. Thank you

  30. Sarah says:

    i hope your friend continues to do well and be happy. just wanted to thank her and you for this post. it gives me a little hope for what I’m facing this summer.

    thank you. xo

  31. Barbara says:

    ❤️❤️❤️Thank you for this blog article. I have just had my breast cancer surgery, and am preparing for the months of various treatments to come. I really appreciate what was shared. By what was shared, from a person who has gone through this, I was informed and encouraged.
    Thank you again!!! ❤️❤️❤️

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