Why My Beauty Routine Was So Important During My Battle With Breast Cancer

This story is part of Survivor's Guide, a series on navigating the impact of breast cancer through beauty and self-care.

One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. I am one of those women and I've learned that breast cancer can only be defined by uncertainty. While it's a different journey for everyone, one thing always holds true: It doesn't affect only the person who is diagnosed. Whether you're going through it yourself or supporting someone else, it's difficult. Rarely are there definitive answers. With a cancer diagnosis, life changes in an instant and you have no choice but to persevere through every unknown. 

But amid unimaginable ups and downs, I found one constant: my beauty routine. I was fortunate enough to have my mom (my ultimate beauty queen) by my side through it all. She knew exactly how to help me keep a smile on my face. While I was recovering, we would do face masks and manicures together. Or when I couldn't lift my arms after my mastectomy, she'd blow-out my hair and help me swipe on my signature red lipstick. And when I looked in the mirror, I saw myself. 

The impact of beauty should not be underestimated.

Different things — a touch of lip balm, the feeling of a fresh face, a spritz of scent — might spark a similar feeling for you. Regardless of what that ritual might be, the impact of beauty should not be underestimated. Being able to feel like yourself is one of the most powerful treatments of all. It is not being vain. It is not superficial. It's not for anyone else. When you look like yourself, you feel like yourself. 

I hope the stories and tips from Allure's Survivor's Guide bring you happiness even if it's just for a moment. And survivor to survivor, no diagnosis will ever define you. You are beautiful just the way you are.

Take what you need from our survivor's guide: skin-care advice, courage, help with hair loss, or just the knowledge that you are never alone.

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