For 20 years Christine Sedely has changed the lives of women in need one makeover at a time.
She's works as part-time stylist at Headlines Hair Salon in Belleair Bluffs. In Sedely's world helping people look their best is not only a talent, but a passion and one that goes well beyond her chair.
Women undergoing cancer treatments experience difficult transitions mentally, spiritually and physically. For many, the physical effects of harsh chemotherapy, radiation and other medications can be overwhelming, especially as patients begin to lose their hair.
Look Good… Feel Better is an organization that's responded to the need to support women during their personal journey of survival by offering techniques and encouragement to help boost self-esteem. They are a free nationwide program that teaches women experiencing the physical side effects of cancer treatments, how to care for themselves so that they feel good from the inside out.
“Twenty years ago, I was approached by one of my salon clients to get involved with this organization. It all started with a practice demonstration with local doctors to get them on board and I’ve been part of this amazing program ever since,” reflected Sedely, a stylist for 37 years.
Each woman in the program receives a free “tool kit” tote bag that includes high-end cosmetics and skin care products. In a session women learn how to use eyebrow pencils and apply makeup to improve their appearance due to facial hair loss and changes in skin pigmentation. They learn scalp and skin care techniques and proper nail care to avoid infections. They are shown how to fashionably wear turbans, hats and scarves in addition to different styles of wigs.
Volunteer beauty professionals in the program are certified and trained by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association/ National Cosmetology Association. Stylists get reinstructed every two years to ensure they learn the latest skin care precautions and cleanliness protocols, such as using disposable makeup applicators. This provides the most protection to clients as most cancer patients have compromised immune systems due to their medications. Other health care professionals and individuals also volunteer time to this program.
“We teach our clients how to put wigs on and how to care, style and fluff them. We don’t distribute wigs, but we can put clients in touch with organizations that do," Sedley said.
There are programs that help clients with financial hardship to purchase a wig.
Several cancer patients attend each makeover session. There are currently about six licensed hair stylists teaching local sessions offered at , Bardmoor Cancer Center, Morton Plant facilities, and other locations. With the high demand there is a need for more licensed stylists to volunteer.
“Doing this makes me feel good and we make the program an upbeat and positive experience for the recipients. We want to inject the notion that if you look good, you feel better,” Sedely said.
By giving back to the community through a talent she's fostered and honed over the years, Sedely is not just making over faces, she’s making over lives.
She provides the tools and skills for cancer patients to reclaim their confidence and offers support as a friend. Sedley said the personal joy she receives in helping these women has made the experience part of her journey.
Sedley's haircuts are not just for looks, they're for the soul.
For more information
To find out when and where local Look Good...Feel Better sessions are offered or if you are a beauty professional who would like to volunteer, contact the organization directly or the American Cancer Society for more information.
Look Good…Feel Better
American Cancer Society
Headlines Hair Salon
100 Indian Rocks Rd N, #4
Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770