beauty & grooming
Brave Face
Anna Warner-Mayes is fighting cancer one lipstick at a time
By Blake Miller

nna Warner-Mayes has seen it all. Back in 2008 when the former singer and mom of five was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, she never imagined that her cancer journey would inspire her to become a successful entrepreneur.

Although singing wasn’t her full-time job, Warner-Mayes sang at church, sporting events, weddings, performed a couple radio jingles, and was once flown to New York as a finalist to play the lead in Miss Saigon on a national tour. But her battle with cancer resulted in a severed nerve to her vocal cord, leaving her unable to sing again.

“I didn’t have a voice for six months, and that’s when I started going to Sephora and Macy’s and Nordstrom and started trying on lipsticks,” says Warner-Mayes, a now 10-year cancer survivor.

Anna Warner-Mayes in black tank top and white blazer smiling
liquid and cream lipsticks
During her multiple bouts with cancer, Warner-Mayes found comfort in makeup, specifically lipstick. She saw it as a way to express her emotions despite her inability to talk. “My cancer diagnosis at the time wasn’t great. I’d lost my voice. I couldn’t sing anymore. I was in a dark place,” she explains. “I realized that in the times where I couldn’t speak or didn’t want to speak, lipstick was how I expressed myself. It was my language. If I was wearing red lipstick it was because I felt confident and felt I could beat the cancer.”

Wanting other women to feel the same, Warner-Mayes created The Lipstick Journey, a line of bespoke liquid and cream lipsticks. “It took 18 months of working with a cosmetic chemist to perfect the color and texture of each lipstick, but we finally got it right,” she says. Beautiful hues such as Brave, a bold red; Fresh, a soft nude pink; and Strong, a deep berry plum, reflect just a handful of the emotions those battling cancer go through.

Giving back to those fighting cancer as well as cancer survivors is the core of everything Warner-Mayes does. For every lipstick she sells, she donates one to someone who is fighting or surviving cancer. Through the sale of The Lipstick Journey’s products, Warner-Mayes has also donated to organizations dedicated to fighting cancer, including Imerman Angels, Fighting Pretty, and Twist Out Cancer.

“This is part of my quest to help cancer thrivers not feel alone in their journey because it’s helped me not feel alone in mine,” she says. “Every time I feel like I can’t do this anymore or it’s too hard or I’m tired, I remember why I started this.”

To glam up for your wedding day while simultaneously giving to the fight against cancer, visit