Online Exclusives

Look GoodFeel Better

April 29, 2009

The venerable program that boosts the morale of cancer patients celebrates 20 years.

Look Good…Feel Better

The venerable program that boosts the morale of cancer patients celebrates 20 years.

By Joanna Cosgrove
Online Editor

For cancer patients, feeling good about how they look can boost the spirits in a big way. For 20 years, beauty professionals have dedicated countless hours of personal time helping cancer patients look and feel better about themselves through a program called Look Good…Feel Better. Created in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the Look Good…Feel Better program is a charitable organization established by the Personal Care Products Council. And though it has helped an estimated 550,000 women, men and teens since its inception, its origin began with just one patient.

In 1987, a physician asked former Personal Care Products Council president Ed Kavanaugh how to get a makeover for a woman in cancer treatment experiencing appearance-related side effects. The woman, the doctor said, was so depressed and self-conscious she would not venture outside her hospital room. Mr. Kavanaugh made some calls and was able to provide cosmetics and a makeup artist.

The makeover transformed not just the woman’s look, but her outlook, as well. She immediately felt happier and less burdened, laughing for the first time in weeks. The doctor credited the makeover with improving her attitude and emotional approach toward her treatment.

That success prompted the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) to seize the opportunity for its industry to help more women maintain self-esteem and face cancer treatment with greater confidence. Mr. Kavanaugh presented the idea to the Personal Care Products Council membership who immediately offered funding and cosmetics.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) also joined the effort, providing a national network to assist women seeking information and access to the program. The National Cosmetology Association (NCA) signed on as the third partner, encouraging its member cosmetologists to volunteer their services. The Look Good…Feel Better launched with two groups sessions at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., in 1989.

To date, the national reach of the Look Good…Feel Better organization counts more than 25,000 hairstylists, wig experts, estheticians, makeup artists and nail technicians. On a global scale—which spans 19 countries—it is supported by 309 cosmetic industry companies and other sponsors.

Look Good…Feel Better Honors Its Outstanding Volunteers
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Look Good…Feel Better honored three outstanding individuals - Eivind Bjerke of Washington, D.C., Robin Enos of Bakersfield, CA; and Guy Lento of New York City - as its National Sunrise Award Winners.

Mr. Bjerke, co-owner of Lucien et Eivind Salon, has been involved with Look Good…Feel Better since the program’s inception in 1989. He was one of the first Look Good…Feel Better volunteers, participating in the pilot program at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center. Mr. Bjerke has helped thousands of women by donating his time and talent to a number of national Look Good…Feel Better projects including videos and training programs, and he has served as a program spokesperson on numerous occasions as well as a local Look Good…Feel Better chairman and national advisor.

(l-r): Eivind Bjerke, Robin Enos and Guy Lento.
Robin Enos, president of the Kern County Cosmetology Association in Bakersfield, has been a Look Good…Feel Better volunteer since the program began twenty years ago. Ms. Enos has facilitating over 200 Look Good…Feel Better workshops over the course of her service, even during her own bout with breast cancer. She was also instrumental in helping to expand the Look Good…Feel Better to reach diverse and multicultural audiences in 2006 by assisting with the launch of the first Spanish language Look Good…Feel Better program.

Guy Lento, director of makeup education at Chanel Inc., has been a Look Good…Feel Better volunteer since the program’s inception in 1989. He was a part of the 1988 pilot program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, and also took part in the original Look Good…Feel Better video. He continues to volunteer at MSKCC on a regular basis, bringing “endless energy and dedication, and seeming always able to give a little more than the ordinary,” said MSKCC Look Good…Feel Better Coordinator Penny Worth.

Like Ms. Enos, Mr. Lento is also a cancer survivor and, he said, the experience gave him important insight. “I know firsthand exactly what these women are going through,” he said. That experience inspired Mr. Lento to also help male cancer patients. He is now facilitating a pilot Look Good…Feel Better for Men group workshop program at MSKCC, with the goal of developing a model that can be used nationally.
Today, Look Good…Feel Better group programs can be found in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico with products donated by 40 Personal Care Products Council member companies. Teen and Spanish programs, self-help mailer kits, online programs and a 24-hour hotline are now offered, as well as numerous independent international Look Good…Feel Better programs across the globe.

At the heart of Look Good…Feel Better are its volunteers. “In total, 20,000 volunteers— cosmetologists, health care professionals and individuals—support Look Good...Feel Better globally,” commented Louanne Roark, executive director of the Personal Council Foundation and the Look Good…Feel Better program. “In the U.S., 14,000 volunteers give an estimated 224,000 hours of service each year to the program.”

Each two-hour, hands-on Look Good…Feel Better workshop includes a 12-step skin care/makeup application lesson, demonstration of options for dealing with hair loss and nail care techniques. Held at comprehensive care clinics, hospitals, ACS offices, and community centers, local group programs are organized by the American Cancer Society, facilitated by Look Good…Feel Better-certified cosmetologists and aided by general volunteers. Patients in various stages of treatment receive make-over tips and personal attention from professionals trained to meet their needs. They also use and take home complimentary cosmetic kits in their appropriate skin tones (light, medium, dark, extra dark) with helpful instruction booklets. Professional advice is provided on wigs, scarves and accessories. Teen sessions also include social and health tips.

More than 50,000 individuals participate each year in small groups of five to ten, offering each patient a supportive circle, as well. Group programs represent the highest level of expertise available in Look Good…Feel Better services.

“The great thing about a Look Good...Feel Better workshop is that it is a safe environment for women to address the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment they have experienced,” explained Ms. Roark. “Each woman’s experience with cancer is different, so while it varies for each participant who goes through a workshop, we do find that many women are looking for wig assistance, as well as tips for dealing with disappearing eyebrows or eyelashes. Also, since cancer treatment can change the skin, many of our participants ask us for tips on overall skin care.”

Ms. Roark added that the organization hosts 8,700 group programs nationwide in more than 2,500 locations.

Five years ago, the Personal Care Products Council Foundation launched Look Good...Feel Better for Men, an initiative geared to help the estimated 675,300 men who are diagnosed with cancer each year. This arm of the program is centered around a ten-page brochure, underwritten by The Gillette Company, which provides information on how man can combat appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment to look and feel confident and in control. There is also a tear-out guide, “The Daily Routine,” which reviews basic steps for good skin care and ways to camouflage hair loss.

With its first 20 years down and nothing short of a bright future ahead, Ms. Roark said she looks forward to expanding the program to continue instilling confidence in those who could really benefit from it. “If in 20 years we can say that we’ve helped many more cancer patients approach their disease and treatment with greater confidence—while also expanding our volunteer and partner base—we’d call that true success!” she said. “Ultimately we’d like to increase awareness of Look Good…Feel Better across the country and be in a position to meet the specific needs of every woman, man and teen with cancer who can benefit from our services.”

For more information about Look Good…Feel Better workshops or to volunteer time and or services, visit:

Related End-User Markets:

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Change Is in the Air

    Change Is in the Air

    Doreen Wang, BrandZ ||October 3, 2016
    Technology is changing the personal care market

  • Skin Care of One’s Own

    Skin Care of One’s Own

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 3, 2016
    Nu Skin’s ageLOC Me—which melds the worlds of smart-phone technology, efficacious ingredients and personalization

  • Proof Positive

    Proof Positive

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 3, 2016
    Testing service providers enable companies to back up their claims and stay in compliance with regulations.

  • A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 24, 2016
    With three doors in Canada, Blitz Facial Bar opens its first US location in one of the hippest areas of New York.

  • Let the Magic Begin!

    Let the Magic Begin!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||October 10, 2016
    IFSCC Congress gets underway at Walt Disney World this month.

  • Ogee Opens for Business

    Ogee Opens for Business

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    Banking on the power of jojoba oil, a Vermont-based start-up is the newest player in organic luxury skin care.

  • P&G’s Latest Patents

    P&G’s Latest Patents

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    A look at recent patent and IP related news from the biggest household and personal care player in the US.

  • A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    Julia Comas, Cristina Davi, Elena Canadas, Laia Gonzalez, Raquel Delgado, Lipotec SAU||October 3, 2016
    Lipotec’s Pollushield creates a barrier between skin and pollutants and boosts the antioxidative potential of skin.

  • Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    September 26, 2016
    Organizing Chair Guy Padulo explains why you should attend the IFSCC Congress.

  • Expanding Erbaviva

    Expanding Erbaviva

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 13, 2016
    A farm-to-bottle organic brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with a new look, new products and plans to expand in the US.

  • Lauder’s Latest Patents

    Lauder’s Latest Patents

    September 1, 2016
    A composition with NIR light emitting material, a skin care device and more awarded to this beauty business giant.

  • ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 29, 2016
    All eyes are on Lash Star Beauty, a lash-centric beauty brand that recently made its QVC debut.

  • Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    August 23, 2016
    Learn more at Cleaning Products USA, Nov. 9-11, 2016

  • TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 22, 2016
    New curriculum debuting at Bellus Academy helps estheticians treat a population that needs TLC.

  • Individualism IS The American Way

    Individualism IS The American Way

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 15, 2016
    Why blue hair and BB creams still thrill US consumers.

  • Red, Black & Blue

    Red, Black & Blue

    August 8, 2016
    No matter who wins the US Presidential election, Americans expect their finances to get bloodied and bruised in 2017.

  • Athletes, Not Objects

    Athletes, Not Objects

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||August 1, 2016
    Dove Unveils My Beauty billboard in Times Square.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    July 28, 2016
    Three-layered hair product from Lauder, palm oil extracts for wrinkle treatment and more in recently awarded patents.

  • Pushin’ the Cushion

    Pushin’ the Cushion

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 26, 2016
    AmorePacific, the creator of the cushion compact, continues to improve its unique product.

  • Senior Skin Care

    Senior Skin Care

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 19, 2016
    McCord Research and Product Quest Manufacturing roll out new hospital-grade skin care kits for seniors to use at home.

  • An Antioxidant Arsenal

    An Antioxidant Arsenal

    July 11, 2016
    BioRewind is Dermarché Labs' new anti-aging regimen that delivers broad-spectrum antioxidant protection against free radicals

  • Enter Éclair

    Enter Éclair

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 5, 2016
    A new naturals line rolls out in Rite Aid stores nationwide.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 30, 2016
    J&J's anti-aging patent, LVMH and cannabis essential oil, transdermal botulinum toxins and more in recent patent news.

  • Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    June 28, 2016
    Vote on the finalists in Happi's reader's choice Anti-Aging Product of the Year contest!

  • What

    What's Next for the UK?

    Sarah Boumphrey, Euromonitor International||June 27, 2016
    Euromonitor weighs in on how Brexit could impact consumer product companies.

  • The Future of Innovation

    The Future of Innovation

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||June 27, 2016
    Fashion Institute of Technology graduate students tackle a far-reaching topic for their Capstone project.

  • Problems for Preservatives

    Problems for Preservatives

    June 20, 2016
    David Steinberg details the issues surrounding this critical ingredient category.

  • Voyage to Better Skin

    Voyage to Better Skin

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 13, 2016
    Skin Inc. rolls out new light-based device to US market.