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Landscapes of Our Faces

The Terrain

Landscapes of Our Faces; sounds poetic and could double as a soap opera title. The first time I heard the term used was when Stephanie Van, my vision rehabilitation teacher, was giving me some makeup tips and I liked the sound so much I just had to write about it.

Like life itself, with the exception of those whose livelihoods depend on facial care, many of us can take our faces for granted. How many times do we really pay close attention to our own face unless there’s an issue requiring closer examination?

I think it’s safe to say that we understand the face is necessary for individual recognition and we are familiar with its various components. We may even know our facial shape, tone and type but what if you couldn’t see your face? How would you do what millions of women do every day when preparing themselves to face the world?

Many of us get up each day, take a shower, get dressed, style our hair, apply makeup, and go about our day without giving any of these preparations a second thought. There is a segment of our population however who for numerous reasons are very intentional in any given area of their morning ministrations.

I suppose a certain amount of complacency with regard to routine is not a bad thing for if we were constantly reminded of pain, discomfort or incessant empathy, moving beyond today would be a great hardship. The pain of childbirth is one of those milestones though very rewarding, if we had the ability to carry that pain for any length of time beyond the birth of a child I dare say there would probably be a serious population decline.


Back to Landscapes of Our Faces, when Stephanie demonstrated what she meant by the landscape of the face it made complete sense to me. Allow me if you will to take you through the process:

  • Close your eyes
  • Using the pads of your fingertips on both hands start on your forehead gently trace your hairline past the temples
  • Continue down past your ears, under the jaw line and to chin
  • Going back up to your forehead trace your eyebrows and the orbital socket of the eye
  • Feel how tissue thin your eyelids are
  • Trace your eyelashes
  • Notice contour of your bone structure from your eye socket to your cheekbones
  • Run your fingers along the ridge of your nose to the cartilage at the tip and nostrils
  • Now trace your lips

It took me several times of doing this to be able to feel my unique characteristics. I found that though the skin on my face is very soft there are some uneven areas that feel like tiny pimples. I’m now even able to feel the soft tiny hairs on the sides of my face (okay I have to say I was a little shocked to find that I have a quasi-beard). Taking it a step further and smiling I could feel the muscles under my cheeks causing them to elevate along with the laugh lines.

Just like I recommended at the outset of this blog, Stephanie also advises her blind and vision impaired clients to consult with a trusted friend or family member when first learning how to use or switching makeup products/types. This is to ensure that you’ve attained complete coverage and correct application.

I showed Stephanie some of the stencils that I’ve recently acquired and asked for her opinion. While she could see the benefit of some of these tools for some women with low vision she recommends using the fingertips for most makeup application. The reason being, that one can use the sense of touch to determine the amount and coverage of the cosmetics.

Stephanie went on to show me how to line up an eyebrow pencil with the eyebrow and tracing with the fingertip along the brow line. For liquid foundation she uses what she calls the Power of Three. First she places one dot of foundation on each of the following: forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Then with three fingers on both hands she swipes the cheeks in an upward and outward motion three times. This process is repeated on the forehead, nose and chin.

What I would like to do next week is shoot a video demonstration on Stephanie’s method so that I can talk you through the process.

“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.” ~Sally Field

7 thoughts on “Landscapes of Our Faces

  1. I don’t often feel other people’s faces to get an idea of what they look like, but I know my own face like the back of my hand. 🙂 This can be hard for me because, without seeing, I still feel like I am getting a distorted view. I often scrutinize what I feel and I have to focus on the good parts, but I suppose that is not unlike any other woman who looks in the mirror. Excellent post here though.

    1. Thank you Kerry. For me it was strange doing this because prior to my rehab teacher mentioning it I didn’t really give it much thought. Maybe my face was one of those things I took for granted because I was able to see it clearly in the mirror prior to losing my sight. The first time I closed my eyes and lightly ran my fingers over it, it was almost like I was seeing myself from a different perspective. When I would look at my spare eyebrows many times I felt like cringing but when I touched them with my eyes closed it was almost as if I could feel each hair.

  2. This article is amazing. I don’t have any visual impairment however I do know a sweet friend that is. I’m going to refer her to this blog. It was a beautiful post!

    1. Thank you Alyssa!

    2. You’re very welcome Alyssa!! Thank you for referring your friend to the blog, I appreciate it!!

  3. Closing my eyes and using my fingertips felt around the landscape of my face. I found this amazing to really think about what my face may look to other people. Putting on my makeup; I thought I knew what my face looked like. Never knew I had very fine hairs covering my cheek area.

    Thank you, Steph.


    1. My pleasure Sherri!

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