'I feel like a woman again': Romford beauticians offer free treatments to cancer patients
PUBLISHED: 07:11 03 June 2019
A pair of Romford cosmetic tattoo artists are using their skills to provide free eyebrow and nipple tattoos to people who have had cancer.
Rachel Lovel from Rachel Rose Cosmetics and Bobbie Lovett from Oystey Beauty Academy have been using their cosmetic skills to tattoo eyebrows and nipples for cancer survivors at their beauty parlour in Seymer Road.
And all they ask for in return is a small donation towards cancer services at Queen's Hospital.
Their joint venture began after Bobbie's mother was diagnosed with cancer.
"About two years ago my world shattered when my mum was diagnosed with Stage 3 to Stage 4 breast cancer," said Bobbie.
"Queen's Hospital is absolutely amazing and supported us throughout her whole journey.
"Through the gruelling chemotherapy, radiotherapy and then the operation - my mum's journey inspired me to give back to women and men that have fought and won against cancer.
"I went and trained with the famous Vicky Martin and qualified in 3D areola tattooing."
Vicky Martin is a well-known 3D areola tattooist.
She created her own method for tattooing areolas and patented her own tattoo practice breast moulds using non-animal material.
Bobbie qualified from one of Vicky's courses last year and began using her new skills after her mum was given the all clear from breast cancer.
She told the Recorder: "This was never going to be a treatment that I was going to ask any money for.
"This is a completely free treatment for anyone who has had cancer.
"We ask for a £30 donation which goes straight to Alex at Queen's Hospital's oncology department. She works for Macmillan.
"That way we are giving back to our community where we live."
Rachel specialises in providing eyebrow micro-pigmentation for people who have lost their hair from cancer treatments or people who suffer from alopecia - a condition that results in severe hair loss.
She said: "Sometimes their hair can go sparse, or they can go totally bald. [The treatment] is like a tattoo.
"It's semi-permanent and gives them their brow shape back.
"They can have all different styles, looks and colours and shading. I try to keep it as natural as possible.
"You wouldn't think that eyebrows can make such a difference, but it helps them feel like themselves again and gives them their confidence back."
She added that it can be a pain for someone who has lost all of their hair to redraw their eyebrows every day, especially when they go swimming or on holiday.
"The ladies are so pleased and always give good feedback.
"It's so heartwarming," said the 30-year-old from Tiptree.
"It's such a lovely thing to do and I usually get a card after with a thank you note."
Bobbie shared a story about one memorable client whose reaction after the treatment blew Bobbie away.
The 37-year-old said: "There's one particular case that stands out.
"This lady had fought cancer in different parts of her body for five years and then she went to have a double mastectomy.
"They found out that she did actually have breast cancer behind one of her nipples, so she had both of her nipples removed.
"Once she had her treatment, she stood up and looked in the mirror and said 'I feel like a woman again'.
"I think that is the biggest compliment you can get and that's why we do it."
The pair also run a beauty training academy together at the Cox House in Romford.
Bobbie said: "We don't accept payments [at the academy], we ask for donations.
"Again the money goes straight to Queen's Hospital where they can spend it on wigs and scarves for those who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy."
"We want to be the end point of their journey to getting back their self-esteem and to make them feel whole again."
To apply for one of Rachel's or Bobbie's treatments, the applicant has to have had the all clear from cancer for six months.
Visit Facebook.com/rachelrosecosmetictattoo to find out more.