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Unless you go into hibernation or take up residence under a big rock at this time every year, you'll know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The 2011 campaign has a particular personal resonance for me because this year, my aunt was one of the 2,500 women who are annually diagnosed with the disease in Ireland.

During October, even your beauty purchases can help to make a difference as limited-edition pink items are released in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Before you shell out on such products to show your support, do check that the brand is donating a proportion of the purchase price or percentage of their profits to breast cancer charities and not just taking advantage of customer goodwill.

>Laudable

Evelyn Lauder launched the first Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in 1992 and co-created the pink ribbon that's now synonymous with the cause. The Estée Lauder group remains heavily involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, the brand's Pink Ribbon collection includes a choice of two limited edition pink Pure Colour lipsticks with matching clutch bags, €23 each with a €10 donation going to Clinical Cancer Research Trust at St Vincent's Hospital. And their jewelled pink ribbon pin has been given a makeover: a blue stone has been added to represent the 1pc of breast cancer sufferers who are men. All net proceeds from the €15 purchase price of the pin will be donated to CCRT.

>Making a difference

Origins Make A Difference skin rejuvenating treatment, €27, is a cream-gel moisturiser designed to help all skin types rebound from dehydration, and it's been gussied up in pink packaging especially for October. In addition, €3 from the purchase price of every moisturiser sold during Breast Cancer Awareness Month will go to CCRT.

>Look Good . . . Feel Better

On top of everything that patients have to go through, the visible side effects of cancer treatment can be extremely difficult to cope with. Look Good . . . Feel Better is a practical programme run by the Irish Cancer Society, offering free informal skincare and make-up workshops in 12 hospitals nationwide. Attendees receive a gift bag containing products donated by the cosmetics industry, and are then guided through how best to apply each item by beauty professionals.

For further details, see www.lgfb.ie or contact the Patient Support Services department of the Irish Cancer Society on 01 230520.

For more information, support, and advice about breast cancer, visit www.cancer.ie or call 1800 200 700