Getting used to short hair takes some practice and figuring out how to make it do what you want takes even more practice. 🙂 Getting your pixie to stand out and be fun and bouncy is always a top priority when you have short hair after chemo (or any time!). If you haven’t seen it already, check out Sarah Bryant’s youtube and Instagram. Her hair is awesome and her hair tutorials are really easy to follow. (Her make up tutorials are fun too!) When I go and get my hair cut, I bring a picture of her hair along with me.
This video shows how she gets her pixie super voluminous (and also shows how to afix a graduation cap as a random bonus). Try it out! Let us know how you like to style your pixie as your hair is growing back in!
As a proud partner with Sephora, we are super excited to tell you about a great opportunity! Sephora Stands with those facing major life transitions. Sephora’s Brave Beauty in the Face of Cancer Classes for Confidence were created by employees who are survivors to help others address the visible effects of cancer treatment. From skincare tips to step-by-step instructions on how to create a radiant complexion or re-build brows and lashes lost from chemo or radiation, these FREE in-store classes are designed to empower you throughout your journey.
Sephora’s National Classes for Confidence Week is coming up September 10-16 and many stores are hosting a Brave Beauty class.
To find a Brave Beauty class at a Sephora near you, please click here. Scroll down until you see “Brave Beauty in the Face of Cancer” and then type in your location.
Shopping for a swimsuit can bring even the most confident woman to tears, so just imagine how that experience is magnified when shopping for swimwear after breast cancer. No matter what your body type, shopping for a bathing suits after cancer can seem daunting. Your body has changed and you might not be sure where to start. Try to make the shopping experience fun. Bring a friend and make it a day of pampering and fun. The more you can do to set yourself up for success the better.
Shopping for a Swimsuit Online
Hate shopping in stores, consider shopping online. Return and exchange policies are usually very flexible and with you will be able to try items on in the comfort of your home.
As a breast cancer survivor, my body is not what is once was and the styles I used to gravitate toward no longer flatter my body. I have cried in many a fitting rooms starring at an unrecognizable figure before me. Over time, I forced myself to move away from the comparison to my old body. Just like with my hair, I took this as an opportunity to find new styles and try something different. It was through this new outlook that I was able find more confidence. I’ve learned creative ways to style one boob, two boobs, a prosthetics, expanders, and now implants.
I realized it’s not about changing my body, it’s about changing the look.
Lessons Learned: Shopping a Swimsuit After Breast Cancer
[list_item]Anything with underwire or hard formed cups is out[/list_item]
[list_item]Comfortable fabric and design are a must[/list_item]
[list_item]Patterns, ruffles and details help focus the attention away from a lopsided/uneven chest[/list_item]
[list_item]Higher prices – better quality – more comfortable[/list_item]
Don’t Feel Limited to Mastectomy Swimsuits
Initially I felt very limited looking for swimwear specifically for mastectomy patients. After a lot of failed searches, I realized that many of the mainstream swimsuits meet all of the criteria above, you just have to do your research. Instead of limiting yourself to surgery specific swimwear, focus on the elements above along with her personal style and you’re bound to find something that works well for your new body. And if you’re overwhelmed by the hunt, do not worry, I have scoured the internet to bring you a ton of amazing options below.
For those of you who are looking for a swimsuit with pockets for a prosthetic do not fear. I have provided many pocketed options below. And for those of you looking to save money, take your favorite suit to the tailor and ask them to add a pocket for your prosthesis. I did this with some of my bras during my one boob stage and it was a lifesaver both in terms of comfort and finances
We are all at different stages of treatment and have varying body types, so not all of these styles will be perfect for everyone. I have grouped my recommendations into categories so you can easily find something that fits your particular style and body type. Flat, one boob, two boobs, expanders or implants… whatever your situation, I have you covered. I also included cover-ups and sunscreen recommendations to round out this summer shopping guide.
Survivor Friendly Swimsuits
Check out all of the survivor-friendly swimsuits below and let me know which styles you like best. Remember, don’t try to change yourself for the swimsuit. Instead, keep hunting, try on multiple suits and eventually, you will find a swimsuit that makes you feel fabulous!
[list_item]A high neck top like this adorable black crocheted bikini from Target is perfect for those with expanders, implants or prosthesis. The wide coverage helps disguise any unevenness and scarring, while the high neck creates a flattering shape and highlights the shoulders.[/list_item]
[list_item]A flouncy ruffled bikini top is perfect for those who are flat or at any stage of the reconstruction process. The extra fabric and ruffles help disguise any lumps, bumps or unevenness. Here are a few of these style bikinis I am loving this season: White Flounce Bikini, Stripe Option, Gingham Plus Size (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Anita has a wide-range of underwire free and pocketed swimwear options for those using a breast prosthesis. The design and shaped cups in these suits can also give the bust a flattering look without added discomfort. Check out the Anita website for even more pocketed styles. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
Full Coverage Swimsuits
If you are looking for a little more coverage, you can try a rash guard suit or a full coverage tankini. The best part is most of these options have great coverage for the chest and built-in sun protection. Adorable Palm Print Rash Guard, Long Sleeve swimsuit, Colorblock Tankini, Peplum tankini. (see here for specific items)
[list_item]Swim Dresses: Looking for a little more coverage and a flattering look during recovery or for those who choose to stay flat? Swim dresses are a great option and they’re perfect for lounging and swimming. These are a few of the styles I am currently loving: Off shoulder style, Paisley Sarong Wrap Swim Dress, Pineapple Party (see here for specific styles)[/list_item]
[list_item]Mastectomy Swim Land’s End is the longtime champion of comfortable mastectomy swimwear for every body type. They have a variety of options that work great for those in the flat crowd or those recovering from surgery. Many of their suits are pocketed and the band free wireless style also works well with expanders. The rash guard shirts shown above are a fan along with their tank suit, which comes in a variety of colors and patterns to fit every style. They also have a wide range of sizes (regular, petite, long, plus & long plus). (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Ruching/Tummy Control: I am in LOVE with ruching and tummy control swimsuits. They are the perfect solution for belly bloating and are just overall slimming for everyone. In the suit shown, I am loving the flattering ruching, and the mesh high neck style, which is perfect for those who are flat or going through a reconstructive transition. Here is another similar version with a floral detail.[/list_item]
[list_item]Cup-Less Suits: Swimsuits without cups and/or tailoring on the top, like the super cute tropical tankini shown will be best for those of you with flat chests. This style will ensure there is no excess fabric and the suit will conform to the chest. This simple tank cut also means fewer seams and thus more comfort for those of you dealing with sensitive skin during recovery. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Sports Bra-Like Tops: Bikinis with a sports bra style top are great for those with implants or those going flat. The simple design means fewer seams and edges to cut into the skin. This gingham style is adorable and the high waisted bottoms are a win! It fits just like a sports bra and PJ material, but it’s cute enough to rock at the beach or pool. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Tank Style: Tank swimsuits are another great option for all my flat ladies. They are flattering on all body types and the bright blue poppy pattern in the one above is adorable. The tank swimsuits I have linked are all pocketed and suitable for those with a prosthesis. Solid color, Pattern option, Plus size options. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
Not everyone is a girlie girl like me, so I wanted to make sure to provide a whole section of swimsuits for those of you looking for the perfect casual, sporty look to fit your personality. These suits are great for all my active ladies.
[list_item]Outplay This awesome company offers a whole line of swimwear and sportswear for the tomboy in all of us. The best part is you can mix and match their items to find the perfect style for your body. Here is another sport tankini/bikini option from Target (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Nike Want to feel like you threw on your favorite tank and a pair of briefs to go to the beach? Then this is the perfect suit for you. Made by Nike, you know it’s ready for whatever adventure you have planned. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Lands End Sporty, practical and comfortable, the Tugless tank suit from Land’s End checks all the boxes. Available in huge range of sizes, cup variations (included pocketed), and lengths, this suit will work for any body type at any stage of recovery. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
One Shoulder/Off Shoulder Swimsuits
I am obsessed with the off the shoulder/one shoulder trend. It is super flattering and sexy. I’ rather show a little shoulder than the cleavage I miss. Ruffles on swimsuits are also great, because they add movement and dimension while concealing the unevenness I am self-conscious about. The off the shoulder/strapless/one shoulder looks were never something I could pull off pre-cancer due to my large chest, so I am taking full advantage now. This style works best with fully healed expanders, implants or flat, but would not accommodate a prosthesis.
[list_item]J Crew has some adorable off shoulder, one shoulder and ruffle swimsuits. I’m struggling to choose just one. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]La Blanca is my all-time favorite swimsuit brand! Their suits are SO comfortable and flattering. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]ASOS has some adorable styles like this gingham off shoulder bikini (or this one), but keep in mind they run small so size up 2 sizes. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Hulabelle Swimwear Love my Hulabelle swimsuits created by fellow survivor and Stage IV Thriver. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Mesh accents are a great way to add a fun flirtatious feel without feeling exposed. Black One Piece, Zig Zag Bikini (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Halter/keyhole cutout styles are perfect for the expander stage. They provide a flattering fit with a hint of cleavage while still disguising any shape or position issues you might have with your rock hard mounds. Check out this one with a criss-cross neck or this one with embroidered detail. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Deep Plunge is another style to take advantage of when you have foobs or go flat. You don’t have to worry about support and the plunge cut is slimming and flattering. Ruffle Plunge, Floral Halter Plunge, Hot Pink. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
Finish off your summer swim look with the perfect cover-up!
[list_item]Throw on a tie-dye cover up for a fun casual day at the beach or pool. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]The pom pom tassel trend is here to stay. Get playful with a tassel cover up or this pom pom maxi dress. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]I am obsessed with summer prints like a pineapple print cover up or this floral romper that doubles as a cover-up. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
[list_item]Looking for something that won’t contrast your stick with a simple solid or stripes. (see here for specific items)[/list_item]
Don’t forget your SUNSCREEN!!! Protect your skin and look closely at the ingredients in all of your sunscreen and skincare products. All three of these sunscreens have great ratings by the Environmental Working Group and have very clean ingredient lists (EWG ratings 0-3 are ideal). You can also use the EWG search tool and Sunscreen Guide to learn more and review other brands/products.
[list_item]I discovered the Coola brand through a fellow blogger last year while looking for natural/organic sunscreen alternatives. Be sure to check the EWG rating 2018 Sunscreen Guide for other Coola products and scents, because they are not all items are equally as clean. Also keep an eye out at Marshalls, because many times they have Coola sunscreen on sale.[/list_item]
[list_item]Alba Botanicals makes a lot of great natural beauty products and their sunscreen is another winner.[/list_item]
[list_item]Blue Lizard is an Australia brand that I discovered through my dermatologist. When I was going off all medications and switching to natural beauty in preparation for pregnancy (pre-cancer), this is the only sunscreen he was comfortable recommending.[/list_item]
I hope you found this exhaustive swimwear shopping guide helpful. For more ideas, check out my older swimwear post. If you end up purchasing any of these items, share your thoughts on the My Cancer Chic Facebook page or on Instagram. I love hearing from you and get feedback on which products work well.
After polling on Instagram this week I discovered that almost 95% of you want more surgery/reconstruction content. So, since I have been putting this post off for about 4 months, I figured it is time to bite the bullet and share my most recent surgery recap and insight with you all. When I think about why I have been putting it off, I think it’s because I kept waiting for perfection, and complete satisfaction. After 5+ surgeries I can now say I have accepted the fact that perfection and complete satisfaction are unattainable. My reconstructed body will never be perfect and it will never be what it was before cancer. I have finally come to accept that, that is perfectly OK.
If you haven’t been following me since the beginning you can read my previous surgery and reconstruction posts to catch up:
Before cancer, my breasts were one of my favorite parts of my body. Sure they were huge (36DD) and quite saggy for age 27 (thanks to gravity and aging), but I loved them. They were a part of me and made me sexy and womanly. Going through chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, I felt my femininity was stripped from me. I couldn’t wait for the reconstruction stage, so that I could begin to feel whole again. I saw reconstruction as the answer to my insecurities and sadness about my newly changed body.
Just like with many things in life though, the things we see as the solution for our unhappiness never work out as planned. Each surgery left me with new disappointments, added recovery time and new complications to face. Beginning the road to reconstruction was a step in the right direction for me, but being such a long process I had to find other ways to reach acceptance and reclaim my body. Ultimately it was blogging, reflection, and lots of self-love practice that helped me love my body again. It definitely didn’t happen overnight. It took a year and a half of ups and downs, sadness, reflection and lots of work to get to where I am now. And to be honest I still have a lot of work to do – thus my self-love goals for this year.
All in all, my reconstruction has lasted 2 years. When the plastic surgeon first told me it could take up to 2 years for the reconstruction process, I didn’t really understand the weight of her remarks. I thought after the first surgery I would be satisfied and it wouldn’t matter that there would be “touch up surgeries” down the line. Now after 5+ surgeries including 3 specifically for reconstruction, I have new perspective and insight on the process. There are a few important lessons I have learned and I am sharing them with you now.
Be your own advocate – Do your research before reconstruction. Look into a variety of approaches (expanders, immediate reconstruction). Research implant types, sizes, materials, surgery specifics like under the muscle or over the muscle. The more you know, the more questions you can ask and the more satisfied you will be with the results of your surgery. Make sure you are the driving force in the decision making.
Be patient – This is the hardest part. Expanders take time, recovery takes time and waiting in between surgeries takes time. Immediately after each surgery, my world revolved around my recovery, my feelings about my results and ultimately my disappointment. The more I learned to be patient and let me body heal, the less I stressed about the results. In time, I was able to reach a healthy level of acceptance.
Take progress photos – Just like with weight loss, it’s hard to see growth when you are looking at yourself everyday. I am so glad that I started taking progress photos at the very beginning of my cancer journey. Those photos help me see how far I have come and how strong I am. They help me celebrate my strength, my beauty and my growth both physically and emotionally.
Live your life – Sitting around waiting for your reconstruction to be perfect can keep you from living your life. When I finally let go of obsessing over my reconstruction I found I had much more time, energy and interest in living life, trying new things and connecting with others. Our disappointment and self-doubt can hold us back from greatness
OK so now that I have I overloaded you with my insight and emotional reflection, let’s get back to my latest surgery. In late August I had reconstructive revisions and fat grafting surgery. The revisions were to remove extra skin and tissue that made my foobs (fake boobs) look disproportionate. The fat grafting was also done to improve the natural appearance of the foobs by adding fat taken from my stomach and hips to my chest. The goal was a more rounded, natural shape. For reference my implants are under the muscle Natrelle Inspira Overfilled Round in 750CC (Silicone).
I knew from the beginning I wanted to get fat grafting because I mean free liposuction, why not haha? I also knew from my research that fat grafting on smaller framed women is the only way to create a more natural appearance after reconstruction. What I was not prepared for was how painful the liposuction was. I woke up from surgery in horrific pain and my abdomen and hips were painful to the touch, tender and sore for over 30 days. I had to wear compression garments (this girdle) 24 hours a day for 4 weeks!!! I also had the typical 5lb weight limit for 4 weeks and dealt with heat rashes (yay sensitive skin), itching, and the delightful post-surgery care. In terms of functioning, I was able to move around a day after surgery and started a new job 7 days later.
So you may be thinking… was it worth it? My honest answer is, I am not sure. I am now 4 months out and while the appearance of my foobs is improved, not all of the fat took. The average survival rate for fat grafting is about 60%. Did you know that you are born with a set number of fat cells and that number never changes? The reason you may gain or lose weight is because those cells grow or shrink. When moving fat around in fat grafting surgery, they go in with a scraping tool (yes that’s why it’s painful) and remove cells from areas where you have a large concentration. They then run those fat cells through a processing machine to “purify” them and then they inject those fat cells to the new location. The injected fat cells need enough oxygen and blood flow to survive in the new area. If they inject too many new cells at once the fat cells will die. It takes time to determine what amount of the injected fat cells survived. This process can take up to 3 months. After the 3 months, many plastic surgeons will then suggest another round of the fat grafting. On average most patients go through 3 cycles of fat grafting to achieve the desired results.
At this point though, I will not be going through another round of fat grafting. In terms of the appearance, I know another round would help and I would be more satisfied, but it’s just not a priority for me right now. Right now we are focused on pregnancy and a family after cancer. My reconstructed foobs will never be my pre-cancerous boobs and that’s OK.
My plastic surgeon and I will revisit the topic after children and may at that time, assuming my body has changed even more, I may go through additional fat grafting sessions. Maybe in the future, it will become a priority again, but for now, I am sticking with this body I have and I am celebrating my foobs. Sure there are imperfections but they are all part of my story. I choose to celebrate instead my strength, my determination and my amazing body that has gotten me through so much.
Wherever you are in the reconstruction process, I hope you find peace and love for your body. I now know that no surgery will solve my insecurities, that was something I had to resolve from within. I had to find love for myself and then the body acceptance followed. You are beautiful inside and out and your foobs do not define you! Rock on my beautiful survivors.
Another day, another awesome tutorial for short hair! Tondie makes this transformation look super easy and the transformation to a long hair bun is beautiful! She has an entire youtube channel with great videos of both hair and makeup tutorials!
Do you have any favorite tutorials for hair or makeup? Any favorite youtube channels? Let us know!
Young adult cancer treatments often cause hair loss. Many people use makeup to take back control of their appearance or to develop a self-care routine. I have to say, if you’re worried about getting used to short hair that is growing back slowly but surely, adding in false eyelashes to your makeup routine is an easy way of adding a lot of feminity to your face. I’ve always had trouble applying them though…but this video has made false eyelash application after cancer super easy! Chloe’s youtube channel is full of great makeup tutorials and this eyelash application video is no different. She’s is funny, friendly, and accessible in her approach. (She also does short hair styling tutorials!)
What do you think about false eyelashes? Yay? Nay? Excited to try?
I’ve always found that hair tutorial videos are just what I need to get out of my short hair funk…or my ‘goodness gracious what the heck do I do with this short hair’ kind of funk too! For this exact reason, I absolutely love this faux hawk pixie tutorial from Sarah Louwho. In fact, all of the videos this lovely lady does are awesome whether they are hair or makeup related. Sooo, if you need any short hair tutorials, definitely check out her youtube page!
To celebrate our 2-year anniversary of being a nonprofit, Lacuna Loft is bringing back our top 31 articles from our archives! The countdown to our top post is continuing today with Flashback #2: Post-Chemo Hair Growth + Styling Tips, written by Anna. These 31 articles are the best of the best and we’re very happy to share them with you again! The countdown continues tomorrow!
….The number one thought on most people’s mind post-chemo is how quickly will their hair grow back and what will it look like. Though I became quite fond of my bald head, the day chemo was over, I threw that love to the wind and put all my energy into regrowing my hair. After many nights of research, I settled on Biotin as my first plan of attack. I started taking the Biotin supplement the day my chemo ended (with my doctor’s approval) and I was so amazed by the results. My hair grew like weeds. Though I was thrilled to have hair on my head again, I was not so thrilled about the hair that quickly sprouted EVERYWHERE else. One day, I even found 2 long hairs coming out of my cheeks! It was also around that time that I experienced a horrible bout of cystic acne so I decided to take a break from the Biotin and exercise some patience. I have since gone back on a lower dose of Biotin and have had no side effects (2,000 mg/day).
Now I am about 13 weeks out from chemo and I am finding creative ways to style this odd little mess of hair on my head. As someone who has always had long hair, this is a new beast for me to tackle. As a beauty addict, I am taking this as just another beauty challenge. It’s a chance for me to try new styles, experiment with new products, and build my confidence along the way…….…
To celebrate our 2-year anniversary of being a nonprofit, Lacuna Loft is bringing back our top 31 articles from our archives! The countdown to our top post is continuing today with Flashback #10: A 2 Step Easy Smoky Eye, written by Mallory. These 31 articles are the best of the best and we’re very happy to share them with you again! The countdown continues tomorrow!
….Don’t you just love a makeup tip that only involves two items, is super easy, and results in a great look?! (Me too!) For a young adult cancer survivor, sometimes it is hard to feel like yourself. I found that when I took care getting myself ready in the morning, I looked better…and felt better. Sometimes that little bit of eye makeup can really help to brighten up your face, helping you to look more like yourself..…