AUGUSTA — Victoria Littlefield gave a one-on-one makeup tutorial Monday to Kenlyn Clark of Waterville, who is undergoing radiation treatments for breast cancer.

It was one of the smaller classes Littlefield has taught in the 27 years she has volunteered her professional services to women being treated at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care and formerly MaineGeneral Medical Center.

“It’s just you and me, baby,” Littlefield quipped.

Last month, a dozen women sat in the same conference room at the Augusta cancer center, learning how to apply make up, draw eyebrows, wear wigs and tie turbans so they look good and feel better as they go through various cancer treatments.

Clark, 55, said she signed up after hearing about the program from Dan Bahr, one of two American Cancer Society patient navigators at the center.

“I said, ‘That sounds good,'” Clark recalled.

Littlefield opened bottles of concealer, foundation, creams and boxes of powder and eye shadow and unwrapped brushes of varying sizes. Then she started the class the way she starts every one by asking Clark to wash her hands and telling her to apply facial sunscreen with SPF 40-50 first.

“Always work up,” Littlefield said. “Always blend up on your face.”

She offers more tips on using blush. “We’re not clowns; we just want to enhance,” she said.

The products, with an estimated worth of $400, are part of a free kit given to each participant in the class.

Larger groups of students start out quietly, Littlefield said, and by the end, “It’s like a family. They’re all talking because they all have something in common. It’s like a counseling session.”

The most repeated refrain: “I just wish I had my hair.”

Littlefield helps with that as well, cutting wigs and helping to select a good wig “to get as close to their look as possible.”

Littlefield, 55, who runs the Shear Elegance Hair & Day Spa in Pittston, recently received the Look Good Feel Better 2015 National Sunrise Award for her volunteer service and commitment as well as the state award.

The Look Good Feel Better program is a collaboration of the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association.

Littlefield was one of three national recipients. Others awarded were Sharon Howard of Kansas City, Missouri, and Hans Kalset of Potomac, Maryland.

Littlefield has spent almost three decades working with female patients on their appearance, including hair and makeup, and offering a monthly session to help them deal with the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

“This has been a privilege for me. I’m honored by this award,” Littlefield said. “I do it because it’s been a privilege to work with these people.”

She’s worked with countless cancer patients.

“I have thousands of cards from people thanking me for the difference I’ve made in their lives,” she said. “They’re so happy.”

Diana Frith, 54, of Hallowell is one of them. She took the Look Good Feel Better class with Littlefield several months ago.

“She’s been a tremendous boost for my well-being overall, helping me feel better about myself and my appearance,” Frith said via phone on Monday.

She said Littlefield also helped her choose an appropriate wig after one Frith obtained elsewhere turned out to be unsuitable.

Now, Frith said, “People compliment me on my hair.”

Clark too was pleased with the class and with the products that came in a mauve-colored zippered case. However, she added, “I wouldn’t recommend breast cancer surgery as a way to get free makeup.”

Littlefield began her volunteer service after being approached by Anne Chase, a nurse in MaineGeneral Medical Center’s oncology department who had come to Littlefield’s salon.

Littlefield agreed immediately. “I thought, if I can give back to my community, why not?”

While she sees some of the people in her salon, she continues to do the class at the center.

“I cut and fit wigs,” she said. “I’ve been doing wig-cutting for 30 years and helping them to feel better as they’re actually going through treatment. If you look better, you’re going to feel better.”

She is a cosmetologist and an oncology aesthetician, helping people who are going through chemotherapy and radiation and resulting side effects, including rashes and radiation burns.

“Now my own personal clients are being diagnosed with cancer,” Littlefield says, a lot with melanoma, so she really pushes sunscreen.

When a large number of patients sign up for a particular monthly session, Littlefield gets assistance from another volunteer cosmetologist, Colleen Anderson of Winthrop.

Littlefield said it would be good if more aestheticians and cosmetologists volunteered to help because of the demand.

“It’s about making a difference,” she said. “If we all spend a little time giving back, it makes a better world.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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