Sarah’s battle with breast cancer inspired her all-natural beauty line
After Sarah Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer, she struggled to make sense of why it had happened. But she got the answer when her illness inspired a healthy idea that helps women like her!
Sarah Kelly stared at herself in the mirror, gaping at her reflection in awe. “I can’t believe how beautiful I feel!” the 36-year-old breathed, marveling at the magic some bright lipstick and a colorful scarf had worked. Ever since she’d been diagnosed with stage III triple negative breast cancer when she was 32 weeks pregnant with her second child, Sarah’s world had been turned upside down. Along with the terror and the harsh treatments, fatigue and nausea, the Maine native had also lost her beautiful red hair, and with it, her confident feminine energy she’d affectionately called her “saltiness.”
But that day, her sister, Leah, an oncology nurse, had come over with some makeup,
and with one coat of lipstick, she completely transformed Sarah’s spirits. “I feel good for the first time in so long!” Sarah exclaimed.
Still, the sisters were perplexed about how, with no family history, Sarah had gotten breast cancer. After doing some research, they were shocked to discover that harmful chemicals in the very beauty products that made Sarah feel so good about herself could have raised her risk of cancer.
“We have to help other women protect themselves,” the sisters resolved. And an idea bloomed.
Making over hearts
To raise awareness of toxic ingredients in makeup, the sibling team began curating natural beauty products and selling them in a small boutique. As their business grew, they began to think even bigger. “Why don’t we start our own line of colorful organic cosmetics?” Sarah suggested, and Leah enthusiastically agreed.
Realizing they needed guidance, Sarah contacted chemists for advice on how to make cosmetics that were not only nontoxic but also nourishing. And after trial and error, Sarah and Leah launched a line of lipsticks called Saltygirl (Saltygirlbeauty.com), followed by an aloe-based foundation, mascara and more.
Seeing other women recover their confidence as they used Saltygirl products inspired Sarah as she entered remission. “I want to do even more to help them!” she beamed. So she and Leah began the Warrior Revolution conference to empower women with cancer through education and makeovers. They also formed a nonprofit, Foundation4love, which has raised $40,000 to offer stress-relieving experiences to families navigating a diagnosis.
“Supporting women in their healing process is such a gift,” says Leah. Sarah, who has been cancer-free for four years and is the mother of a healthy 4-year-old girl, agrees. “Helping women like me to heal heals me every day!” — Alexandra Pollock
“Opting for natural personal care products can cut cancer risk!” — Sara Gottfried, M.D.