Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Additional Makeup Application Tips

by Lisa Salinger

After reading the information on the Fred’s Head Blog, I would like to add a few additional tips which may make the application of cosmetics a bit easier

Consider spending a little more for some products. While you can get away with less expensive lipstick and any liquid cosmetics, consider going “higher end,” especially for any powder-based item. While there may be exceptions at both ends of the spectrum, less expensive powders may tend to not be as firmly packed, so that a few swipes of the brush gives you more product than you need.

Don’t buy in bulk. This advice may vary based on the product and your degree of vision loss, but many with low or no vision choose not to buy a palate containing several shades of blush or eye makeup. While it is certainly easy enough to make a large print or braille representation of the layout of the various colors, it is also easier for colors to be accidentally blended together, with less than spectacular results.

Use a numeric labeling system. This is just one of many good labeling options, and has worked well for me, as well as for my clients. I suggest labeling cosmetics numerically for several reasons. If, for example, you have more than one shade of blue eye shadow, or more than one shade of pink nail polish, you’ll have room to label a bottle with a number, but space may not permit you to write “Hot Pink,” for example. Also, if you have certain colors that match certain outfits, you could conceivably carry such a numeric system over to marking your clothing. Such a system can get involved, so if you choose to do so, be sure to keep good records in your method of choice, detailing each color’s corresponding number.

Brushes or fingers? It seems that whenever the discussion of makeup application for the blind arises, the question of whether to use fingers or a brush or included applicator is debated with some vigor. Since certain methods work best for each individual, here are some things to keep in mind, regardless of which one you choose. If you mostly use your fingers to apply makeup, remember to keep your touch light and even. Some who use their fingers to smooth makeup once it has been applied suggest using the ring finger. Since this is one of the weakest fingers on the hand, you can be assured that you will not press too hard and accidentally rub off the makeup instead of gently blending it. If you mostly use your fingers to apply makeup, you will need to thoroughly wash and dry your hands between the use of each product. Not doing so can cause an excess of powder, and often in places where it is not wanted. If your hands are wet, the powder you touch can cake or clump. If you’re using a brush or sponge-type applicator, be sure to clean regularly in warm water, and dry thoroughly. This will remove excess product, and keep you from accidentally applying more than you intended.

Whatever you do, be comfortable. Whether you’re starting to apply makeup for the first time, or you’re starting from scratch due to changes in your sight, do what’s comfortable for you. Maybe you’ll want to start out with just a little lipstick, or maybe you have one standard eye shadow that you wear all the time. The important thing is to start out at a level that’s comfortable for you. Knowing what looks good on you is important, but deciding how much and what kinds of makeup to wear is an individual choice. So, if you’re not comfortable applying two shades of color to your eyelids, or using lip liner and lipstick, then do what works for you. There are methods for independently applying all kinds of products, and having that knowledge will give you options. So whether you go for the glamorous, the basic look, or something in between, start with what you can do comfortably, and go from there. It’s all about the confidence that comes from caring for yourself.

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