It’s no secret that I am slightly obsessed with beauty and makeup, my ever-growing stash of products is proof of that. However, my passion for beauty is often questioned due to my vision impairment and people are often left confused when I tell them I can apply my makeup independently.
‘How do you do your makeup?’ is undoubtedly one of the most common questions I receive when it comes to my disability and I can understand why people are curious because it’s something that is quite often considered to be a visual concept.
After publishing my post, Beauty without a mirror, a couple of months ago, I received a lot of lovely comments and a few people asked me if I’d be willing to publish a more comprehensive guide, going into a little more detail about my makeup routine and how I carry out certain steps within it.
I think that makeup is all about trial and error for all of us who choose to dabble in it and whilst it can be a difficult skill to master, especially when you can’t see the results of the steps you carry out, it’s still possible to have a passion for it.
I’ve discovered my preferred methods of application and what techniques work well for me and even though my makeup is never perfect by any means, it has come better with practice, at least that’s what I’ve been told.
From the blotchy orange look that persisted in my early days of makeup application, I think I’ve come a long way since then so here is how I apply my makeup as a visually impaired person.
I apply primer before concealer but that’s a simple step which I don’t think needs much explaining but just incase you’re interested, I use the Soap & Glory ‘One heck of a blot’ primer which is one of the best I’ve come across and it helps to keep my makeup in place for longer.
I know some people prefer to apply concealer after their foundation and some like to do it before, I am one of the latter. Whenever I apply concealer after foundation, it always ends up very blotchy, which ideally is not the look I’m after.
When it comes to applying concealer (my holy grail is the Too Faced ‘Born this way’), I use my fingers to feel for any blemishes which then gives me an inkling of where to apply the product.
I also apply it under my eyes as I’m constantly tired and under-eye circles are not my friend. It’s quite easy to navigate to the under-eye area though so that’s not normally an issue. However, blending the product in under my eyes is another story and seems to take forever, I’m not sure I can blame that on my vision impairment though!
I use the miracle complexion sponge by Real Techniques to blend in the product and go over with my fingers afterwards which normally gives me more of an idea if the product is blended in properly.
I find that liquid foundation is the easiest for me to apply. Again, using the complexion sponge, I apply a small amount of the product on to the back of my hand and then apply it to my face in sections.
This method of application means that I know that every inch of my face is covered and also means that the product isn’t drying anywhere else without me noticing when I’m blending it in another section.
Despite using my sponge, I do sometimes go over the foundation with a brush, you can never blend enough, right? I think it’s even more important as a blind/VI person since I can’t see the lines or where the product might be a little more uneven so blending and blending some more is an essential step for me.
I’ve recently been using a loose powder foundation by BareMinerals and whilst I love the product, it’s not the most accessible since I can’t see how much of the product is coming out when I’m tapping it into the lid, plus it goes everywhere so you don’t want to be wearing your best clothes when applying this!
However, how I go about this is, count how many times I tap the pot into the lid, say I tap it three times, swirl my brush in it 4 times, tap off the excess and then apply it to one cheek and then repeat for the other and then my forehead. This helps me to know that I have a similar amount of product all over and so far, it’s proven to blend better than my liquid foundation. I just have to deal with the residue of the product on my floor!
I have to admit that I’m much more of a bronzer girl rather than blush but I do apply it when I feel like I want that extra pop of colour.
I will normally tap my brush into the product a couple of times, making sure I tap off the excess.
I then smile which makes it easier to know where to apply the product and I count how many strokes I do. For example, I will stroke the brush across each cheek 3 times, then I know that there will be a similar amount of product on both sides. As long as I don’t get to immersed in my sing-alongs whilst counting, it normally works out well.
As I said, I am a bronzer girl. One of my favourites is the Soap & Glory Solar Powder which has a combination of two shades, one light and one slightly darker.
I use a similar technique to the blusher, counting how many times I swirl my brush in the product, tap off the excess and then apply to where the sun would naturally hit my face. I normally apply in the shape of a 3, starting from my forehead, moving down to my jaw line and then apply on to my neck to prevent any harsh lines.
I didn’t start wearing eye makeup for about a year after I started wearing face makeup because I always thought it would be too difficult.
It’s definitely much harder than the base since it’s harder to know if a product needs to be blended more, if more needs to applied etc.
Also, as a visually impaired person, my eyes can be even more sensitive so I have to be careful what I use on them so I try to steer away from products that contain parabens, sulphates and any other harsh preservatives.
I only ever used to apply one shade of eyeshadow since I found it was easier and I was slightly more afraid of ruining the look if I tried applying more.
I have broadened my horizons since then though and I now dabble in using different colours but nothing too adventurous.
When I started out, I found it much easier to use single eyeshadows since it can be quite difficult to navigate a palette.
But now, I’m much more drawn to a palette since they usually include all the colours I need to complete a look and I don’t have to rummage around my collection trying to find different single pots.
I normally use my trusty Too Faced Chocolate bar palette or the Sweet Peach palette, also by Too Faced. They’re easy to find in my collection due to their tactile packaging but saying that, all of the palettes I own have a distinctive feel to them, making them easy to locate.
I can still see colours to some extent but they often merge together making it difficult at times to know if I’m putting my brush in the right shade. However, since I’ve owned these palettes for quite a while now, I’ve learned to memorise which shades are where and also which shades work well together.
Using a similar technique to blush and bronzer, I tap the brush into the product, making sure I tap off the excess to prevent any fall out.
I tend to start by applying a darker shade to my crease using a fluffy brush, working from the outer corner of my eye and making sure I blend, blend and blend some more. I will count how many strokes I make as well to ensure that I get a similar result on both eyes.
Normally, using a flat shader brush, I will then apply a lighter shade to my lids, normally a gold since it’s my favourite colour to use and it helps to bring out the green in my eyes. Counting again, I will apply a small amount of product and build it up, I find it’s easier to add product than to take it away, I will sweep it across my lid, making sure I don’t go over where I applied the darker crease/outer corner shade.
If you’re also visually impaired and are just starting out with makeup, I would recommend single shadows over a palette since it’s less time consuming and doesn’t require as much memorising but if you’re willing to take the time to navigate a palette, go for it.
I think that eyeliner and mascara can be two of the most painstaking steps in a blind/VI person’s makeup routine.
Personally, although I’ve tried to master it, I can’t seem to grasp the art of eyeliner so I avoid including it in my routine. Plus, I have very sensitive eyes so every time an eyeliner pen or pencil touches them, I flinch.
I’ve mentioned a countless amount of times on my blog that I have naturally long eyelashes and although they’re not as voluminous as they once were, I still don’t feel the need to apply thick black mascara.
Instead, when I feel like I need a bit more volume and length, I use a clear mascara.
Clear mascara can still smudge so to ensure that doesn’t happen, I find that a great way of preventing it is by folding a cotton pad in half and gently holding it on my eyelid and hold it underneath my eye if I’m applying to my bottom lashes.
The cotton pad acts like a guard and helps to prevent any mascara mishaps.
If you’re blind/VI and you’re wanting to use mascara but finding it to be a slight struggle, I’ve heard many people say that travel size mascara’s are much better in terms of having more control and it can be easier to apply due to the smaller wand.
I always apply a lip balm before applying any other form of lip product as everything else seem to be easier to work with after this step.
I find that the trick to applying lipstick is by applying it bit by bit. A lip brush could help to make this easier and it’s something I use quite often.
It helps to prevent going over the lip line and it also means that you don’t apply too much product. I normally start applying lipstick, with or without a brush, from the centre and blend it outwards.
I find that I can apply too much sometimes if I’m using a liquid lipstick so when that’s happened, I remove any excess by folding a tissue, clamping my lips around it which will remove any unwanted product. It also helps to prevent the lipstick from going on my teeth which I find can happen when using a product such as a shine lipstick.
After I finish my makeup, I will ask a sighted person if it looks presentable or not and if something has gone wrong then I can learn from it and I’ll know what I can improve on next time.
If no one is around to check the final result of my makeup look then I’ll keep it simple, not applying too much product so I know I haven’t gone overboard. If I stick to the products I know and love, I know I can’t go far wrong.
Makeup is and should be something for us all to enjoy, whether we can see or not and even though it can be a little more tricky for those of us who can’t see, it doesn’t mean that we can’t experiment and enjoy it as much as a fully sighted person would. Those of us who are blind or visually impaired come up with innovative ways to make daily tasks accessible to us and makeup is no exception.
Do you have any makeup tips or tricks of your own to share? A girl can never have too many so feel free to share what you have to say. I’d love to hear from you.