I first came across Lipstick Angels founder Renata Helfman through our partnership with Credo Beauty, and I was immediately moved by what they are doing. My personal history with health and wellness relates to witnessing the illness of my father, who passed away from cancer. This experience has undoubtably influenced me in more ways than I know, and it makes me deeply empathetic to the nature of cancer treatments. Although modern medicine is quite remarkable in its ability to heal, the results of invasive treatments can be quite disfiguring and leave people feeling like they are having an out of body experience. The transition from treatment back to normal is far from streamlined.
With a background in makeup artistry, Renata took her skills and compassion to initiate the founding of Lipstick Angels to help bridge the gap between treatments and helping people feel like themselves. Professionally trained in oncology aesthetics, the "Angels" visit treatment centers and offer varied organic spa experiences, along with comfort and care to patients.
Working in the skincare space can at times feel less impactful than other areas of work, and yet I know the deep importance of feeling good in your own skin as a means to empowerment. It matters a lot. I've been very surprised by the quantity of feedback we've received from people who are undergoing cancer treatments who have used our products to feel comfortable, and relieve dry skin. These are some of our most meaningful testimonials.
We are so grateful for Renata and all that she is doing in the space, and honored to support in any way we can.
Read our interview below to learn more about this amazing foundation.
1 - Your 3-word bio.
Late bloomer. Advocate for the underdog. Absolute beauty junkie.
2 - Tell us briefly about your background and how you started Lipstick Angels?
I was a makeup artist in the film industry for about 15 years. During these years I was dipping my toe into the water of volunteerism. When my grandmother got cancer, I helped her navigate the side effects and it became apparent this was a very untapped and needed service. I was really shocked there was not more support for cancer patients in this way.
3 - For those who don't know, what is Lipstick Angels?
Approaching our 10 years anniversary, Lipstick Angels has helped thousands of people living with cancer navigate the devastating physical side effects of treatment. We have built a community built on compassionate care mind, body and spirit.
We work inside cancer infusion centers while our patients are receiving chemotherapy and at their most vulnerable offering not only a varied organic spa menu but a friend to the patient and the entire family.
Lipstick Angels are not only licensed professionals but are also fully trained in Oncology Esthetics. We take deep pride in our extensive knowledge and understand the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation on a patient’s skin and lymphatic system.
4 - I personally really resonate with what you do because my dad suffered from cancer illness for a long time before passing. He was well taken care of, but I do look back sometimes and wonder what more could have been done on a more holistically nourishing level. What do you supply that is missing from traditional treatment?
We definitely fill the gap I think by providing an all-natural alternative in our services. I always think of our treatments working alongside the medicine in the hospital as good team (we need each other).
5 - The lens you all put on beauty and self-care rituals is so refreshing. So often this industry gets cast in a superficial light (and so much of it is). I feel like what you are doing shows the importance- and the true beauty, behind these little routines that can make a huge difference in how we feel and present to the world. If you could please say a few words about the underlying value of beautification rituals, and how they can be restorative?
I think when you are going through this sometimes need to simply just feel like yourself again.
6 - Can you share with us a testimonial that has been exceptionally meaningful to you and/or your business?
Yes, there was a beautiful woman I worked on in the hospital (I should mention she had lost her hair and eyebrows) who shared with me after I did her service, “today when I pick up my daughter I am not going to hide in the car” I am going to go in and get her! I always to this day think of that little girl and how amazing that must have been to see her mom.
7 - The power of touch is so important. With Covid, I know your business model has temporarily shifted. How are you bridging that gap from in person to online?
When COVID hit we went to work to create an interactive virtual platform to help our patients as we could not go into the infusion centers. Now we can do our services in their homes (on zoom) as well as the hospital and expand our footprint. Our hopes and dreams are to expand and help as many people as possible all over the world.
8 - Based on your experience, do you have any hopeful words for someone going through a cancer treatment or diagnosis?
Well, it is impossible to put myself in someone’s shoes that is enduring this, but I will say from my experience of all the people I have worked with that keeping the mind positive as much as possible and trying to keep doing the things that bring you joy is vital.
9 - With October being breast cancer awareness month, do you have any advice to women on how to be proactive in early detection (the ultimate self-care)?
Get your annual, find a doctor you trust and never put it off!
10 - What are some ways that you personally take care of yourself?
Besides the usual eating well, trying to exercise, taking the time to do my makeup and have fun, I really try to be self-aware and set healthy boundaries. It is all hard but worth it. Staying in good old gratitude always wins!
11 - Lastly, where is the best place to look for opportunities with Lipstick Angels? And do you have any specific needs currently?
On our website www.lipstickangels.org we are always looking for volunteers, donations and new partnerships. Lipstick Angels is a 501c3 charitable organization and relies on partnerships, grants and donations to sustain our programs across the country.