The Beauty Business Owner Who Gives Homeless Women Free Makeovers

It may sound shallow to some, but being happy with your appearance and feeling comfortable in your own skin is far from trivial. For vulnerable women in particular, especially those with little means, a spot of pampering can help to recover lost self-esteem.

Someone who realises the power of beauty treatments is London entrepreneur Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, 34, who recently spent the day giving homeless women free makeovers in a bid to “boost their confidence and self-worth.”

Mohammadian-Molina, who used to run a beauty business, organised the pampering day with east London homeless charity Whitechapel Mission, which now hopes to make it a monthly event, the Evening Standard reported.

With help from a team of beauticians, she offered free hair treatments, facials, manicures and makeup to dozens of homeless women, many of whom had experienced domestic abuse. There was even a wardrobe from which they could select an outfit, Time Out London reported.

“Some of the ladies I did a skin cleansing on said to me they’d never had their face cleansed before," Mohammadian-Molina told the Evening Standard. “One lady couldn’t believe we were using good brands such as Yves Saint Laurent on her. She clearly recognised the brand but it says a lot about her self-worth that she almost thought the brand was too good for her.”

Watching the women “forget about their individual issues for a few hours and just enjoy themselves" was priceless, she added.

Mohammadian-Molina was inspired to hold the event by her own experience of growing up in Iran in the '80s and '90s, "when women could not wear a hint of makeup". When she began working for a male-dominated investment bank in Britain, she soon realised the power of looking and feeling good.

“I quickly realised I felt empowered and capable when I looked good. Makeup made me feel like I could get up and achieve," she told the Evening Standard.

“I hope for these women feeling good about their appearance could be the first step towards believing in themselves and their ability to change their lives, to get back into society,” she added.

Whitechapel Mission, which fully embraced Mohammadian-Molina's project, said there is more to their work than just a hot meal or a shower. “We need to raise these women’s self-esteem to try and get them to understand their true value," Tony Miller, the charity's director, told the Evening Standard.

“Something as daft as sitting and talking while someone does someone’s nails can make the biggest difference to somebody who has never had that experience before. It’s an intimate thing," he added.

"As a charity we're often asked about positive results but sometimes it’s just about acknowledging that someone is a person and has value.”

Whitechapel Mission isn't the only charity working with women that realises the transformative potential of beauty. Six years ago skincare expert and blogger Caroline Hirons set up Give and Makeup, which passes on donated makeup and clothing to thousands of women who arrive at refuges with nothing after escaping domestic abuse.

Find out more about the Whitechapel Mission here.
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