BY LISA STAHL
Maurice Stein has worked makeup magic on the brightest stars of film and television. While he has secrets tabloids would die for, he has another story to tell. Stein was trained on a movie set, learning the trade from top makeup artists. He’s worked on stars like Raquel Welsh and Sally Fields, on Funny Girl, Golden Girls, and MASH. But he finds his work with burn survivors immensely gratifying.
One time a doctor referred a young lady to him whose face turned purple after a laser treatment mishap. “When she came in, I was horrified. It looked like her whole face was bruised. I was her last resort. There wasn’t much natural color left on her skin. When I got done, I brought her skin tone back to a natural color. She cried and hugged me. ‘Maurice, you were my last resort. If you couldn’t do anything, I wasn’t going to be alive tomorrow.’”
Stein has his own makeup line. His foundation has a long-lasting silicon base widely used in the entertainment industry — also the “standard” for burn survivors. “I take over where the medical industry leaves off,” says Stein. In addition to burn survivors, he works with cancer patients disfigured by radiation and disabled veterans with disfiguring scars. “Emotionally it can tear them apart. (Makeup) makes a world of difference to them.” His services and products are often donated. These days he travels all over the world, training makeup artists and medical personnel of burn hospitals in trade secrets.
A survivor of an electrical burn, Amy experienced first-hand the trauma, pain, and social stigmatism burn survivors suffer. She’s dedicated her life to making a difference.
A burn nurse for 13 years, she now uses her talents and skills to assist the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors as Executive Director. The 30-year-old national organization strives to improve quality of care, providing emotional support, education, and advocacy to burn survivors. They work closely with 150 Burn Centers and hospitals.
Medical care for burn survivors has improved dramatically. 94% now survive, thanks to aggressive treatment. But “recovery” and healing is slow and painful. Disfiguring scars and skin discoloration can leave survivors socially isolated.
A facial burn often has several different colors. Makeup can help improve self-esteem. Maurice Stein works closely with the organization. “Psychological trauma is the last hurdle that we have to address,” says Amy. They have a team of psychologists, social workers, and experts in grief and loss to help. “We’re the only national organization that helps survivors get back to living. We give the survivor a voice within the medical community.”