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Easy makeup tips keep up your color

Chemo may change your look, but you can re-create the old you with a few brush strokes

Marcia Frellick

HealthKey contributor

October 21, 2009

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Chemo not only can do a number on your hair, it also can cause your eyebrows and lashes to fall out and affect nail and skin color. A few tips can help restore your old look.

EYES: If your eyebrows have fallen out, you may want to draw them in with a pencil and feather the marks for a natural look, suggests breastcancer.org. Refer to a close-up picture of your face before you lost the brows for guidance on how they should look. Choose the current shade of your hair or wig or one slightly darker and use a wax-based brow filler for better adherence. Note that if you're wearing a hat, the brim will likely rub off the liner so you'll have to get used to reapplying. You'll need some definition for your eyes, so use a brownish-black liner and smudge it into the lash line top and bottom. It will look more natural if you smudge rather than draw a perfect line, says tlcdirect.org (that's "tender loving care," an American Cancer Society-affiliated Web site.)

You may get dark circles under your eyes, so you'll need concealer. Choose a yellow-based shade, rather than pink, if your skin has taken on a sallow tone.

FOUNDATION: After moisturizing, use a foundation that matches or is slightly lighter than your skin tone and blend evenly. Powder can help set the finish and avoid a shiny look. But avoid powder if your skin is dry. Keep a mister of water with you and spritz several times a day for a fresher look.

NAILS: Find a pretty polish on the darker side. Some drugs may turn your nails dark. Also keep them short as they may break more easily.

BLUSH: Brush some color and bronzer upward along the cheekbone to fight the chemo pallor. Women of color can go with bolder colors in plum or burgundy hues. Otherwise, subtle shades work well.

LIPS: Moist, vibrant lips are an important final touch. Use liner--it will make the color last longer and help prevent smudging or feathering when you add your favorite color.

Since treatment may leave your skin more vulnerable to infection, be sure to buy new makeup and replace eye makeup monthly, tlcdirect.org says.

The American Cancer Society has helped organize a free program called "Look Good … Feel Better" available throughout the U.S. in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The program, developed by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, offers two-hour sessions with skin care/makeup sessions, and participants can take home complimentary cosmetics. For more information, or to find offerings near you, see www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org.