I often like giving people food for thought so to start off today’s post, here are a few questions for you: How often do you look in the mirror on a daily basis? Do you whip out that compact mirror every time you want to put that stray hair back in its place or if you want to touch up your lipstick? How would you feel if you weren’t able to do that? If you tried looking yourself up and down in the mirror, trying to identify the person staring back but it was all a blur, maybe not even that.
A common misconception that is often held by people is that beauty and fashion is mainly a visual concept, something that can’t be appreciated by someone who can’t see but that isn’t necessarily the case. No one would believe that about me if they saw the inside of my jam-packed wardrobe and the volume of my extensive makeup collection.
‘How do you apply your makeup, do your hair and pick out an outfit?’ are undoubtedly some of the most common questions I receive as a visually impaired person and I can understand why. After all, when most people are so dependent on mirrors to carry out these tasks and judge their final look, it can be quite baffling to think how a blind/VI person can do the same without being able to see the steps they carry out and what the final result looks like.
I can’t write this without pointing out that putting a full face of makeup on as a visually impaired person has proven to be quite tricky at times and there’s been more than one occasion when I’ve walked out the door looking worse than I did before I spent 20 minutes putting it on my face. But, I believe that everything comes better with practice and this has definitely been the case for me in terms of applying makeup, experimenting with different hairstyles and when pairing outfits together.
Here are just a few ways I make beauty and makeup accessible to me.
It’s all about the numbers
From counting how many times I swirl my brush in a product to how many strokes it takes when applying the product to my face, to me, makeup is all about the numbers. This is especially true for things such as eyeshadow or blush. I know that if I’ve tapped my brush into the product a couple of times and then sweeped it onto my eyelids 3 times, I’ll have a similar amount of product on both eyes and they’ll hopefully look quite similar.
When I bought my first ever foundation back when I was 14, I applied it the next day and looked like an oompa-loompa who had never heard of the word ‘blend’ in her life. I’m sure you can imagine that look. Since then, I’ve learned that blending is VERY important and I’ve tried a few different tools to do so but the most sacred has to be the ever so popular makeup sponge.
For me, it’s the easiest way to apply base products such as foundation and concealer and it blends them in much more seamlessly than any brush ever has for me. I apply my foundation in sections so I know I’ve covered every inch of my face. As someone who can’t see herself in the mirror, it’s important for me that I use tools that allow me to blend my makeup easily and a sponge is what delivers that for me.
I’ve talked in a couple of my previous beauty posts that labelling products is a vital step for me in terms of recognising the products I pick up. I normally label products that aren’t as easy to indentify or things such as different shades of lipstick or foundation. I use an audio labeller by the RNIB which allows me to record as much information as I need, I then place the small sticker on any of my products and when I place the device over it again, my recording will start to play, clever eh? It’s definitely one of the most useful things for me when trying to differentiate between products.
Learning from others
There are quite a few visually impaired beauty bloggers and YouTubers out there these days and I’ve learned a lot about their makeup application process and things that could work for me from reading their posts and watching their videos. I always find it fascinating to learn how others go about applying their makeup because people’s preferences and techniques always differ.
I always ask someone if my makeup looks right before I walk out the door, just to make sure. That person is normally my mum and I learn a lot about what I need to improve on from what she tells me about how it looks.
I think that beauty and makeup is often trial and error for many people, whether you’re visually impaired or not, it’s all about experimenting. I didn’t want to go into too much depth in this post so there are so many more techniques that I use to make beauty accessible to me that I haven’t shared with you yet. So, if you’d like a more comprehensive guide then please let me know.
Although it would be nice to see the result of my makeup look or final outfit, maybe the fact that I can’t is a blessing in disguise. So many of us, or you rather, are quick to judge yourselves due to what you see staring back at you in the glass so wouldn’t we all feel more confident in ourselves if that wasn’t the case? I’m not telling you to ditch your compacts or to cover up that beautiful full length mirror you have in your room, maybe just think about how often you really need to use them because a lot of us who are visually impaired don’t have that option in the first place and whilst that can be frustrating at times, maybe it can also be considered as a positive thing.
As a visually impaired person, I’m used to problem solving and coming across obstacles and as my vision deteriorated which meant that I lost focus of myself in the mirror and could no longer see much of what was in the glass, I had to learn to adapt and become familiar with ways of applying makeup without the need to see. Learning to focus more on how it felt rather than how it looked. In all honesty, I don’t think we need a mirror in order to judge how we look, it’s more about how we feel within ourselves, not what we see.
Despite the fact that the little sight I have left is deteriorating, I still enjoy expressing my passions such as beauty and fashion and I don’t think that will ever change. I love putting time into doing my makeup, picking out a nice outfit and just making an effort with my appearance and I want to prove to people that you don’t need a mirror, you don’t need to see in order to express these things.
Beauty doesn’t need to be seen in a mirror, it just needs to be felt within.
Do you have any beauty or makeup tips of your own? Or do you have any thoughts on what I’ve talked about in this post? I’d love to hear what you have to say.