Cosmetics And Chemotherapy: “Lipstick Angels” Bring Beauty Treatments To Cancer Patients

Kerri Stimson has always believed that, when done correctly, makeup is about revealing beauty, not concealing flaws.


It is a philosophy Stimson carries with her everytime she enters a chemotherapy infusion center such as the Stanford Cancer Center, bringing free beauty treatments to cancer patients there.

"You are trying to show them how beautiful they are if they’ve lost sight of it," Stimson said.

Instituto Nacional de Migración / Archivo

The San Mateo makeup artist is the Bay Area Program Manager for Lipstick Angels, a non-profit dedicated to making infusion and chemotherapy treatments and little less dreary and much more uplifting for those going through them.

At the very least, the visit from a Lipstick Angel makeup artist like Stimson is a welcome distraction from the often tedious hours of treatment.

Stimson has found it be so much more, though.


"When you are able to do that kind of application for someone it's not about, 'Oh, look at my makeover. Look how pretty I look,'" Stimson said. "They do look pretty but a lot of it is also that self-recognition, 'Oh, that's me not that sick person.' That can be so uplifting."

Stimson said doing makeup has been a big part of her life ever since she was young. It was, Stimson said, the icebreaker that first helped her connect with others as a teenager.

"If you know how to put on eyeliner and no one else does, you will get invited to parties," Stimson joked.


Makeup evolved into a career for Stimson, working with models on fashion shoots and with brides on their wedding days. She would experiment with other occupations but always find herself coming back to makeup. She enjoyed the connection she would inevitably make with her clients.

"A lot of it is about the connection and the human touch," Stimson said.

It is why when Stimson heard about Lipstick Angels she immediately knew she wanted to be a part of it. "It's so obvious my career was leading up to this," Stimson said.

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