(guest blog by Janice Archer and Stacey Leigh Spalding of All About Brows)
“Some things stay with you forever.”: On a rainy afternoon over a cup of coffee, we got chatting to a family friend about her experience through breast cancer and this was a phrase she used. For Lorraine, it was the words “You will lose your hair.” She clearly remembers these words from her Consultant Oncologist, shorty after hearing “you will need surgery and chemotherapy” – and of course, all while processing the statement, “I’m afraid it is Cancer”.
Lorraine recounted this story recently, when we spoke about how her chemotherapy affected her. When we talk of the hair loss, Lorraine recalls how she initially thought about her head – losing her beautiful locks and exposing her scalp. Never, until it actually happened, did she fully appreciate what “you will lose your hair” really mean. Lorraine’s chemo-cocktail was an aggressive mix and as treatment progressed and her eyebrows shed, she remembers realising how much of a job her brows perform, to give structure to her face. She told us how that coping with the lack of identity to her face was hard – she couldn’t disguise her eyebrows with a wig or silk scarf – and she learned that it wasn’t just about how it made her see herself or the pain of how that made her feel, but also how the world saw her. Lorraine talked of how her then 8-year old daughter struggled tremendously with the change in her appearance. She wished that we had been in our business at the time to help her reframe her face.
This really struck a chord and stayed with us.
Stacey is now a professional make-up artist and specialises in brow enhancement. We moved our business in to Falkirk Business Hub last summer and we’ve loved becoming part of the community.
When we heard that FBH had decided to nominate Strathcarron Hospice as their charity partner, Lorraine’s words echoed in our minds and we came up with the idea of FeBROWary: a month dedicated to cancer patients – helping them to overcome the visible side effects of cancer treatment.
Beyond their function as a filter for the eyes, brows have a strong social significance for emotional expression as well as facial recognition.
Every Thursday in February, Stacey will donate her time to offer special master-classes for those who have lost their brows through cancer treatment, to show them how to professionally pencil them back in. The brow tutorials will give individuals the skills they require and also allow them to boost their confidence, at a time when diagnosis, illness and treatment may have taken over their lives.
It’s not just as a result of chemotherapy that a person can lose their brows. We work with clients who have no eyebrows through other medical conditions or who have simply never had significant brow growth.
Make-up can’t alter the structure of your face or improve its appearance permanently, but the immediate visual effect can help someone regain self-esteem and confidence, which can result in an improved sense of well-being. I’ve been working as a make-up artist since 2011 and also offer a permanent brows service; so know first-hand what a difference brows make to your face.
The beauty industry often gets criticised for marketing perfection – but there’s nothing I love more than seeing someone’s face light up when they see for themselves how good they can look!
Our beautiful client Lynne, kindly agreed to being photographed before and after her visit, so you can see for yourself the difference make-up and tuition can make. Lynne lost her eyebrows through a medical condition and as a teacher says that having her brows done “makes me able to face not just the mirror but also my day.”
I’ve been lucky enough to receive support from various avenues as I’ve grown my career. Lorraine’s words stuck with me and I’m delighted to be able to use my skills to help people to feel better about themselves.
The first FeBROWary event will take place at the Hub on Thursday 4 February which is also World Cancer Day. We are grateful for kind donations and support from Benefit Cosmetics, Candle Shack, Falkirk Business Hub, Findlays, The Howgate and Pilgrim, which will all go in to making the FeBROWary events an enjoyable experience for the ladies involved.
February also sees Strathcarron Hospice launch a new Snowdrop Campaign, with funds raised from the sale of snowdrop pin badges going towards Starthcarron’s much needed facilities and hugely supportive services. If our words have struck a chord with you – why not show your support for Strathcarron by buying a pin from FBH reception and wear it with pride!