"I have never had eyebrows before."

That was one of the comments overheard during a makeover session for cancer sufferers in Gate Pa, yesterday.

When the Bay of Plenty Times visited the Look Good Feel Better makeover station - a travelling 40-foot shipping container which also hosts workshops - five women from different walks of life, but battling the same devastating disease, were getting tips on how to mask the effects of cancer treatment.

"It's about you, and it's about you looking and feeling fabulous," Look Good Feel Better volunteer Gaelene Falconer told them.


During the workshop, Mrs Falconer delivered simple and effective tips aimed at boosting their confidence during a difficult time.

After treatment for cancer we lose hair, eyebrows and eye lashes, and this can obviously affect our appearance.


"The time it takes skin to burn is halved when going through treatment, so extra SPF is needed to protect the skin. But at the same time Vitamin D from the sun is very important too. So it's working out that balance and staying out of the sun during peak hours between 10am and 2pm."

One of the tips most valued by women receiving cancer treatment was learning to how fill in and define their eyebrows, she said.

The eyebrows were often one of the first things women lost during treatment, she said.

Welcome Bay resident Louisa Allwood said she felt like a new woman after her makeover.

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Mrs Allwood was diagnosed with breast cancer last year after a routine mammogram showed a lump. She was both excited and nervous about receiving a makeover, she said.

"The ladies were totally transformed - one lady especially looked amazing. I felt great - everybody was saying, 'wow'.

"Look Good Feel Better, really gives women and men a well-needed boost.

"After treatment for cancer we lose hair, eyebrows and eye lashes, and this can obviously affect our appearance.

"The wonderful group of volunteers who run the workshop helped restore our confidence back in a much needed time."

Mrs Allwood said being able to share her stories with other women in the workshop, and other people in the community had helped.

"It's really important. If we share our stories we learn."

Mrs Allwood had recently stood up in her church and told them about her cancer. Afterwards she was amazed at how many people came up to her later and told her their cancer stories.