I was 23 when my 50-year-old mum advised me medical doctors had discovered cancerous cells in her ovaries (Picture: Shannon McGuigan)Applying her cool ivory No7 basis with a brush within the lavatory mirror after our buying spree, my mum had a glint in her eye.
It was one in every of happiness, pleasure and a renewed sense of confidence.
At that second, I realised the ability of makeup was greater than only a superficial factor. For my mom with most cancers, it was transformative and, in flip, my love for it was reinvigorated.
My mum has all the time been the strongest individual I do know and I’m not simply saying that due to how she’s dealt with her most cancers analysis.
As a robust Welsh lady to the depths of her bones, she’s all the time been fiercely unbiased and resilient. She grew up a second-generation Irish immigrant in west Wales throughout a time full of anti-Irish sentiment.
She additionally singlehandedly raised me and my sister, which wasn’t all the time a straightforward job to do.
Yet, she all the time made positive we have been completely happy and by no means went with out – though instances have been typically financially troublesome. She has been the singular fixed supply of stability all through my complete life.
My mum has all the time been a really glamorous lady. Oscar Wilde’s quote that says you ‘can by no means be overeducated or overdressed’ is what she has all the time lived by.
We as soon as went for a night meal as a household once I was six years outdated and I’ll always remember my mum wore a wise black high coupled together with her diamante choker, paired with immaculately straightened blonde hair and her dewy pores and skin, which was adorned with Rimmel London Perfect Match basis.
She all the time smelt of glamour too. You all the time knew when Mum was close to since you might odor Jean Paul Gaultier.
As a baby, I assumed she was essentially the most lovely individual. Growing up, I developed my very own relationship with makeup however I might usually attempt to emulate my mum.
As she misplaced her hair, she additionally misplaced her relationship with glamour (Picture: Shannon McGuigan)As a youngster, my ardour for magnificence merchandise all began with carrying that identical Rimmel London Perfect Match Foundation, however mine was embarrassingly a shade or two too darkish.
Over time, my ardour for makeup artistry diminished and I fell out of affection with it. That is, till my mum’s most cancers analysis.
I was 23 when my 50-year-old mum advised me medical doctors had discovered cancerous cells in her ovaries throughout her post-op biopsy. When she received again into the automotive with myself and our canine, she was visibly upset.
This was an odd incidence as a result of I had solely seen her cry two instances my complete life earlier than this. She waited till we arrived residence from the hospital to say what was unsuitable and that was when the flood gates of tears burst open.
Hearing her say these phrases felt very surreal and I couldn’t consider it. The actuality of simply how a lot it could change all of our lives didn’t totally set in till she began chemotherapy although.
When individuals consider chemotherapy, their minds in all probability go straight to hair loss, nevertheless it’s a lot greater than that. It’s excessive nausea, debilitating ache, emergency hospital journeys within the early hours of the mornings, and – in a Covid-19 world – a life full of excessive precaution and isolation.
It was a troublesome adjustment. Selfishly, it felt like a way of limbo for our life as a household. It was a pause button looming over our lives that was usually full of loneliness and moments of despair.
One of the toughest components of the most cancers analysis was watching my fiercely tenacious mum – a girl who took satisfaction in her look – not need to go into the store as a result of she was self-conscious about her thinning hair.
As she misplaced her hair, she additionally misplaced her relationship with glamour. Initially, she wore a scarf, which she hated. It made her uncomfortable. She spent most days drained on the couch with the canine watching Doctors on BBC One.
In an effort to alter this, I insisted on a visit to the wonder retailer that grew to become a big second for Mum and I. My mum was desperate to go to Boots to get some new merchandise that can be applicable for her extraordinarily drying pores and skin.
When she first put her makeup and wig collectively, she was so vibrant (Picture: Shannon McGuigan)We went to the muse part and explored all of the shades and formulation to see which one would match her altering look. The magnificence advisor was so useful in aiding us with the right one. She additionally helped us select out a concealer and a rosy blush to breathe life again into her pores and skin.
We then made our method to Wigs & Co, the place my mum was greeted by one of many loveliest gross sales associates.
She let my mum trial bins and bins of wigs, totally different types, colors, and the occasional Rod Stewart-esque one. Mum took her time to verify she felt assured.
She discovered the right one – blonde balayage, brief, good however fascinating. She fell in love with this wig. It remodeled her from a girl uneasy about leaving the home to completely happy and excited to point out off her new look.
When we received residence, she was so ecstatic to attempt on these new merchandise to see how all of them coupled collectively. She was so longing for a way of normality and a way of self. When she first put her makeup and wig collectively, she was so vibrant.
But it was my sister’s commencement when she actually radiated pure magnificence. This was her first main public outing since her beginning chemo and he or she seemed unimaginable in her new look.
When it was all put collectively, she beamed. It stuffed my coronary heart with pleasure to see her so confident and cozy in her pores and skin.
I was witnessing first-hand, not solely the bodily transformation that make-up and the wig gave her, but additionally the shift in power that was eons aside from how she felt earlier than. It was like magic.
She was not the identical mum that was extraordinarily unwell at first of this troublesome journey. She was happier and he or she appeared extra excited and full of life.
I’ve seen chemotherapy steal features of my mom’s confidence, however I additionally noticed this restored with new hair and makeup.
Today my mum’s relationship with makeup is renewed (Picture: Shannon McGuigan)It made me need to discover the artistry of makeup once more.
By this level, I had deserted glam but additionally creativity. I by no means tried any SFX or graphic liners anymore. I by no means pushed myself out of my consolation zone with my craft.
I started to experiment with extra color, extra graphic liners, and extra inventive appears to be like for my on a regular basis.
Too usually, makeup and hair are seen as materialistic and surface-level – a instrument to make others superficially understand individuals extra positively.
However, seeing it restore my mum’s confidence and make her really feel higher throughout a time full of ill-health, it’s redefined for me the place makeup’s energy lies.
Today my mum’s relationship with makeup is renewed.
Since the day we invested in her new wig and expanded her makeup assortment, she has a brand new power. She is not apprehensive about leaving the home.
Makeup is usually not skin-deep, and hair isn’t simply ‘hair’. They could make us really feel higher, even once we are gravely unwell.
It’s not nearly how others understand us, however the way it could make us really feel sunshine on our pores and skin throughout our darkest moments.
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