The red coffee cups and festive merch have been in stores for weeks, but we all know that the holiday spirit doesn’t really kick in until Thanksgiving. Which also marks the start of the gift-buying frenzy, and this year, we want to enrich your Black Friday with a more meaningful way to shop our best WONDERSKIN deals.
We’ve joined forces with our incredible Team WOW ambassador Renata Helfman to launch Angel Friday, a special one-day event on Friday, November 25th during which a portion of all our online sales will be donated to Lipstick Angels, the nonprofit organization that Renata founded and directs. This nationwide network of specially trained makeup artists and aestheticians provides complimentary beauty and wellness services to individuals living with cancer and other chronic illnesses, helping lift them up and support their sense of dignity while undergoing medical treatments. WONDERSKIN is a proud partner of Lipstick Angels, and we donate our Brow Pomade In A Pencil to every beauty package that they send to patients.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Lipstick Angels, which has served over 20,000 patients in its first decade and is about to launch some exciting new initiatives. If you’ve been a Skinsider reader for some time, you’re probably familiar with Renata’s story. An early advocate of clean beauty who began her career as a highly successful celebrity makeup artist, Renata was struck by how doing her grandmother’s makeup throughout the duration of her cancer treatment helped her grandmother maintain her spirits. Inspired to bring this kind of joy and feelgood self-care to other cancer patients, Renata launched Lipstick Angels in 2012, combining her passion for clean beauty with her deep commitment to helping those who are sick maintain their confidence, hope, and self-esteem.
Since the pandemic, the organization—which originally provided comfort through mainly hands-on treatments and human touch—has made some profound shifts that broaden its impact. “So much of our programming has evolved as a result of covid, allowing Lipstick Angels to substantially grow our reach and diversify our treatment approach,” explains Renata, adding that all their in-person services have now resumed.
“We switched to all virtual sessions during the pandemic, mailing out beauty boxes to patients who were then connected with a Lipstick Angel on a video call for an interactive session that was educational and motivating,” she says. This helped the organization blossom in several key ways. First, “it gave us the ability to connect with patients all across the country and to recruit makeup artists and skin and wellness experts who could volunteer their services via video calls,” says Renata. “Throughout the duration of covid, we learned how to perfect our virtual program in a really meaningful way, which is why we’ve made it a permanent option.” The program also helped Lipstick Angels form new partnerships with hospitals who’ve adopted their on-screen classroom.
Going virtual also prompted Lipstick Angels to offer a new range of wellness services. “During covid, we knew that people were aching for ways to calm their anxiety and feel more connected, so we worked with a reiki teacher to train our Angels on how to conduct energy practices including guided breathing, aromatherapy, and facial reflexology,” says Renata. “These mind-body techniques are a crucial part of helping people feel better, and they’ve allowed us to reach more male and transgender patients who might not be interested in our more traditional beauty services.”
In addition to bringing beauty and wellness treatments into the homes of people living with cancer via virtual connection, Lipstick Angels is expanding their on-the-ground presence, too. “A cause close to my heart is to work with underserved communities, so we’re launching a program in a hospital in the South Bronx of New York City beginning next year,” says Renata. “Our goal is to initiate more hospital partnerships in underserved communities within the next several years.”
Also coming in 2023 is a brand-new Lipstick Angels website that will allow anyone undergoing treatment to access their network of virtual services, regardless of whether they’re a patient at one of the organization’s partner hospitals or treatment centers. But the greatest change that’s occurred, says Renata, is seeing how cancer patients themselves are reshaping the narrative around their illness on their own terms.
“When I started Lipstick Angels a decade ago, there was still so much embarrassment around the physical changes that occur during treatment,” she says. “Now, a lot of people living with cancer—especially those under 30—are saying, ‘Forget the wig, I’m bald and I’m beautiful.’ But there’s also zero judgment of the individuals who choose to wear a wig and recreate their eyebrows and lashes with makeup. The attitude now is to simply embrace whatever makes you feel better. The emotional discomfort around the physical changes seems to be fading, which is truly amazing.”
Be sure to join us for WONDERSKIN’s Angel Day on Friday, November 25th, when 10% of all online sales will be donated to Lipstick Angels, which will help support 1000 people living with cancer to look and feel their best. To make an additional donation to Lipstick Angels, please visit lipstickangels.kindful.com