FOR 20 years they have put smiles on the faces of women fighting cancer.

They may arrive with the weight of the world on their shoulders, wearing wigs and scarves to hide their hair loss from chemotherapy, but they all leave laughing and celebrating their femininity.

This week cancer support charity, Look Good Feel Better (LGFB), is celebrating its annual Feel Better Week.

And to mark its milestone anniversary, it hopes to show the people of Hampshire the true meaning of beauty.

The organisation that offers free makeovers for women with cancer to help combat the visible side-effects will tomorrow host a three-day fundraising event – and everyone is invited.

Women are invited to book appointments at Boots in Southampton High Street. In exchange for a donation they will get a mini facial, make-up colour consultation, refreshments, entry to a raffle and a goodie bag.

Money raised from the event help give women with cancer a feel-good boost.

With the backing of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, the first LGFB workshops arrived from the US in the UK 20 years ago.

Southampton General Hospital’s Macmillan Cancer Centre was among the first five hospitals in the UK to offer the programme which is now across the UK and is run with the help of volunteer beauticians.

Each woman, who is referred by her consultant, is given a box containing £300 worth of cosmetics from premier brands and taken through a 12-step skincare and make-up regime.

They learn tips for countering common treatment-related problems such as sparse eyelashes and eyebrows, sensitive or dry skin, uneven pigmentation and puffiness.

Workshops are held every fortnight and there are also two teenage sessions a year targeting young people with cancer. If women are too unwell to attend a workshop, a DVD kit called Confidence Kit is available.

Louise Willis, who has volunteered as a regional coordinator for the charity in Southampton for 20 years, said: “It enables women to regain a sense of control and normality at a time when cancer has taken over their lives. They arrive feeling very unfeminine and lacking confidence, but leave with new friends and their spirits are uplifted.

"It is about looking good but also about how you feel inside."

Louise, who works for Clinique, added: “The workshops are so beneficial and I really hope as many people as possible will come for a pamper to support us in Boots.”

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