When my grandmother was alive, she was in the hospital often. It took a toll on her spirit—especially toward the end of her life. She looked so different than I remembered her when I was very young. I recall her on warm spring days tending the roses in her garden. She was all smiles and laughter back then and let everything roll off her shoulders.
My grandmother’s health started deteriorating when I was around 12. My mom used to pick me up from school and drive over to the hospital regularly. Almost every day, we’d watch TV, chat, and share meals with my grandmother as she lay in her bed.
One day, we came in the room and she had a glow about her that I hadn’t seen in a long time. She was wearing mauve lipstick with her hair brushed back and had rosy cheeks. A makeup artist had come in that day, my grandmother gushed, and she got to choose the exact color she wanted to wear on her lips. It was one of the few times I can remember her being happy in the hospital. I was so grateful she had the chance to feel confident about the way she looked. Even if it was just a quick 20 minute makeup job, it made one of her few days left that much better.
Lipstick Angels is a Los Angeles-based organization that rallies volunteer makeup artists to make women feel beautiful and special—similar to the experience that helped my grandmother. Founded by makeup artist and organic beauty expert Renata Helfman in 2012, the nonprofit provides beauty treatments for women in need to ease their pain and discomfort. Volunteer artists visit hospitals such as Cedars-Sinai and hold special quarterly events.
It’s a natural act of goodwill: a makeup artist’s interaction with his or her client can be a very personal and bonding experience. The volunteer artists at the Lipstick Angels Foundation make patients feel less like health cases and more like human beings. Some women they visit don’t even have loved ones coming to see them. Many patients are nervous, depressed, and stressed as they wait for word or a diagnosis from their doctor. With genuine, professional care and sanitary makeup application, the Lipstick Angels help women feel better about themselves during a very vulnerable time in their lives.
The foundation, just beginning its first year, provides standardized makeup kits to every volunteer, filled with natural and organic products provided by sponsors. The process of donating time is made very easy—less of a task and more of a personal fulfillment for every volunteer. I am so thankful for the selfless makeup artists who take part in this cause because if you’re ever been a loved one of someone in pain or in need, any small gesture can make a huge difference. My grandmother isn’t with me anymore, but I know that special day in the hospital was a break from the heart-wrenching reality she was forced to deal with day after day. On that day, I saw her smile, and knew she felt as beautiful on the outside as she was on the inside. It was the best gift anyone could give.
If you would like to volunteer, donate, or learn more about the Lipstick Angels Foundation, please visit www.lipstickangels.org