Looking Good to Feel Better

Image of cosmetics

About ten days ago I visited my assigned clinic at the hospital for my regular weekly visit to a doctor and was pleasantly surprised to be invited to a makeup class. Cancer patients undergoing treatment at various hospitals throughout South Africa are treated to makeup and skincare classes by many volunteers from an organization called ‘look good feel better’.* I had visited the Internet one evening in search of various support groups for cancer sufferers and came across this very group. Imagine my joy when I was included in one of these wonderful pampering sessions.

What caught me totally by surprise was my emotional response to this huge gift. I am still baffled by the tears that prickled at the back of my eyes on the day and the flow of tears every time I share this story with anyone…. Was it because I was presented with something so normal out of my daily routine of radiation machines and unpleasant side effects from various other treatments? Or was it perhaps just because this was always my role over the years, to pamper others and now it was simply my turn to be blessed? This walk of mine has certainly made a mixed salad of my emotions and daily norms….

I was one of fourteen ladies seated around a huge conference styled table with laminated place mats bearing the name of the local cosmetic house, Avroy Shlain. Various other South African companies generously donate products regularly to benefit women who don’t feel so good while undergoing radiation and oncology treatment. Each lady receives a beautiful grey and pink cosmetic bag filled with excellent products donated by Estee Lauder, Environ, Yardley, L’oreal, Clinique, Avon, Revlon and Avroy Shlain. Due to the location of my seat at the head of the table, I was chosen to be the model and I reveled in the confident sets of hands that pampered and applied makeup to my face using all these luxurious products. An added treat was a little plate of carefully prepared eats and a carton of fruit juice to round off the session. My, how special I felt…….

One of the volunteers had previously shared with us the origin of “look good feel better”. An oncologist had become very concerned about one of his female patients who was not responding well to her treatment. He questioned her regarding this matter and she shared with him that she felt so unattractive. He summoned his nurse to go out and purchase a lipstick for this patient and when she eventually looked at herself in the mirror, she smiled. A simple tube of lipstick had made a miracle happen…… and so ‘look good feel better’ was born.

My sincere thanks to this special oncologist who had hit the nail on the head, with the realization that we all have the need to feel good about ourselves and that this ultimately aids our healing. My heartfelt appreciation is extended to all the dedicated volunteers that bless cancer patients with genuine care and service during their time of treatment and healing.  I would like to convey a huge thank you to all the cosmetic houses who bigheartedly contribute hundreds of products to this noble cause. You all made me feel so special…….


“Smiling is definitely one of the best beauty remedies. If you have a good sense of humor and a good approach to life, that’s beautiful.”- Rashida Jones






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  1. Dear Dear Laura, I continue to marvel at the way God is using you to journal (blog) everything. It amazes me every time. Joyce Meyer calls this a gift of Faith. When one person is in a place that others just could not cope in – and to boot does an eloquent report back – with a grace that includes all the “uglies” yet excludes the “self pity” and additionally protrays what others are uncapable of sharing in a place like this.
    Faith plus giftings plus courage + Laura Kirsten + her family/friends and “attendants” who make sure you are always cared for in whatever way is needed at that specific time. Now the “make up” I have read of this often, and understood its need, and also understand your “switch-over” position shared with frankness. It does touch a very deep part of oneself, when life finds us in a place where gifts and strengths given to us by God for others cannot function – but instead we need them desperately from others. That was incredibly humbling for me, and the tears were all that could express the combined gratitude and strangeness of being so in need that all I could do was receive in my weakness. It still happens, and now I am welcoming it – although I never quite now when it will happen – and it still catches me offguard.

    Sending you love and hugs, thank you so much for this amazing report-back – which could become a book….? but that is up to God. Love Glen

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