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She's Got It 18:25 29 Nov 2021

More than make-up: how an Ivano-Frankivsk beauty salon helps women with cancer

It has already been proven that appearance affects a person's psychological state. In Ivano-Frankivsk, women with cancer are given faith in themselves and hope in a hairdresser's chair.

Some believe that in the fight against the disease, it's not the time to think about beauty. Especially when the disease is cancer. But one of the Ivano-Frankivsk hairdressers does not think so. For more than a year, Diva beauty salon has been doing haircuts, coloring, permanent make-up, manicures, and pedicures for women with cancer. So salon employees want to support their customers and help them survive difficult times. And absolutely for free.

What is the problem?

People who suffer from cancer lose all their hair after chemotherapy. This is a tough moment, which often prevents a person from accepting themselves again, causes psychological discomfort, and thus complicates rehabilitation.

Більше, ніж макіяж: як івано-франківський салон краси допомагає онкохворим жінкам

Once the owner of the Diva salon Nadia Ostapenko overheard a conversation of a client with cancer with one of the masters: a woman in a friendly way shared the course of the disease, talked about her feelings, difficulties, and hopes.

"At that moment," says Ms. Nadia, "I realized how I could help such women. After all, treatment is very expensive, it is even difficult to imagine how much effort and resources women spend to recover and stay alive. In such cases, a visit to the hairdresser is not just about fashion. It is extremely important for women with a terrible diagnosis to see themselves in the mirror not only beautiful but also to feel confident that everything will be fine, as it was before the disease. I wanted to cheer up these women, support them and improve their lives at least a little bit."

What is the solution?

Since then, all services in the beauty salon on Symonenka Street, 24-b, are provided to women with cancer for free. Nadia Ostapenko posted an announcement about this indefinite initiative on the social media pages of Diva. Other employees of the salon enthusiastically supported the owner of the establishment, although she was willing to pay for the work of colleagues from her pocket.

Більше, ніж макіяж: як івано-франківський салон краси допомагає онкохворим жінкам

Before and after. Photo from the archive of Nadia Ostapenko

Nadia Ostapenko herself is a permanent make-up artist. This service is most in demand among women with cancer, but people come to Diva for haircuts and beautiful manicures and pedicures. At first, people called the salon with distrust; those who are exposed to "free" medicine every day, it was hard to believe in the altruism of beauty professionals. But now every week the hairdresser plans free services for people who are fighting for their lives with an insidious and debilitating disease. "Diva" helps women with cancer to save about UAH 1600 on the eyebrow tattoo alone.

How does it work?

Більше, ніж макіяж: як івано-франківський салон краси допомагає онкохворим жінкам

Nadia Ostapenko at work

During all the time working with cancer patients, Nadia Ostapenko has developed her method. For example, she uses warmer tones for eyebrow tattoos, because the pigments on the skin of a woman with cancer tend to fade more than usual. This makeup lasts about a year. All corrections and other procedures are also at the expense of the establishment.

Every visitor leaves the salon in a good mood. Some continue to communicate with the artists and then message in Viber about their news, share positive moments and plans for life. "These smiles, these tears of joy, and the fact that women just leave the salon beautiful, happy, the words that 'I finally have eyebrows,' well-groomed nails, or a beautiful hairstyle is probably the biggest fee for our a job we can get," says Nadia Ostapenko.

This initiative has its limitations. An experienced artist will always ask even ordinary clients whether they have acute or chronic diseases. Only in their absence will they take the job. In the case of cancer, they have to be doubly careful, because with this disease several cosmetic procedures are prohibited both during treatment and in remission when the symptoms of the disease almost disappear. Some procedures should be avoided only during therapy. That is why Nadia Ostapenko asks clients not only for documents confirming the diagnosis but also for a certificate from a doctor stating that permanent make-up will not cause the situation to worsen at the appointment stage.

And did they succeed?

During the year, more than 50 women received various services in the salon. Nadia Ostapenko shares: if it weren't for such a plan, she wouldn't even know how many women in Ivano-Frankivsk live and fight cancer and need full support. Each of the women who responded to the ad of "Diva" has their own special story, complex and touching. The artist recalls that when hearing the stories of the first cancer patients she had to work with tears in her eyes.

Khrystina is 35, she has two small children. She has already undergone five courses of chemotherapy. She came for a permanent eyebrow tattoo for the sake of the children: "My daughters," says Ms. Khrystyna, "should see their mother beautiful every day!" Thus, a woman wants to protect children from unnecessary stress: their mother is not sick, their mother is beautiful. Khrystina has to go through another course of chemistry, after which she hopes that her hair will start to grow back and then the woman will visit "Diva" not for eyebrows, but a modern haircut.

Even more useful solutions!

We become stronger together

Helping people find the psychological comfort they need to fight the disease is a trend that has long existed among the artists of the beauty industry around the world. In Canada, for example, there has been a community of Henna Heals artists since 2011 who help women who have lost their hair after chemotherapy regain their confidence through henna painting. In Ukraine, such projects are only gaining momentum. And unfortunately, according to disease statistics, they are needed in almost every corner of our country.

Більше, ніж макіяж: як івано-франківський салон краси допомагає онкохворим жінкам

"We believe," they say in the Ivano-Frankivsk beauty salon, "that this experience teaches us all that we should rejoice in every moment, love and appreciate life, and never despair. We have something to learn from all these women. Their situation is a great motivation to enjoy every day and have the strength to move on, despite any troubles."

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