WOTM and Blind Beauty Jenni Dunlap wrote this amazing article on beauty, blindness, and makeup. As a body-positive guru, I love how Jenni concludes Blindness and Makeup as it’s a reminder that Real Beauty Transcends Barriers. Thank you, Jenni, for giving Bold Blind Beauty permission to republish here.
Housewife Hustle Talks Beauty, Blindness & Makeup
As a woman with low vision, I hear a lot of surprised reactions when people find out that I love beauty and style. Just because people with visual impairments can’t see well, doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy feeling beautiful or love beauty products in general.
It’s not complex or revolutionary- blind people can do their makeup and pick out clothes on their own. It might not be the same process, or as easy as it is for the sighted, but don’t count us out of the beauty world!
Tricks & Tools
I didn’t learn how to do my makeup growing up. I watched my mother, who is also blind, get ready to go dancing with her girlfriends sometimes, but I figured out how to apply most of my beauty products on my own. To be honest, I still don’t know all the ins and outs of makeup, because I’m pretty set in terms of my routine. I do want to keep learning and branch out though. It’s just easy to keep doing the same makeup routine.
For example, I don’t use foundation. Instead, I use a tinted moisturizer or BB cream. Sometimes, I even skip those all together and just use a primer. I don’t use a bronzer. I rarely use lip liner unless I have a liquid lipstick that desperately needs a helper. I guess I never really do a full face because I tend to like a simple, natural look. Although, a full glam face is something I want to learn.
What I do is watch and learn from a variety of places online, and then I figure out what works best for me. My favorite tools are my fingers because I use my hands like eyes sometimes. I feel where things go rather than see. I do own brushes and sponges and use them too, but the majority of my application process is with my fingers.
I can see a bit, and I’ve talked about the way I see before. My visual field is like looking through a straw, but at the end of that tunnel is almost like broken glass. I have no peripheral vision, and I also have a lot of floaters. I don’t see color the same either, but I still find a way to make it work.
I do use a magnifying mirror when doing my makeup. The only time I find myself needing the eyes of someone else is when I ask my husband if my eyebrows are even, but that’s about it.
I have a lot of makeup, but I also have a handful of favorites that I use regularly. Not only am I a bit cheap, I have to find makeup that is sensitive enough for my eyes, so the combination of budget and sensitivity can be tricky sometimes.
I love Almay, Rimmel, and Maybelline products. I use a decent amount of them, and my new favorite eye shadow palette is Rimmel Magnif’eyes Nude Palette. It has the right amount of shimmer and gold tones for spring too.
The products in the picture above are pretty much what I use if we are running errands. I switch out eye shadow palettes occasionally, but I’ve been using this one for a week or two now.
Step By Step
When it comes to the application process, it’s fairly simple and just like a sighted person. I just poke and touch my face a bit more.
First, I put on my primer. I put two or three pumps on my fingers and spread it around my face until it’s all covered. After my primer, I do the same thing with my BB cream. It’s not full coverage, but it blurs and minimizes the appearances of my freckles and uneven skin tone areas. Some days, I skip the BB cream though.
While my primer and/BB cream is drying, I use my pronged brow pencil to darken and shape my brows. I try to tweeze the unibrow and all the unruliness that isn’t where the hair is supposed to go, and then I fill in.
I start with my eyes, and I put concealer on the lids and under the brows. Then, I put my highlight shade under the brow and in the corner of my eye. Next, I cover the center of my lid in my base color, which is usually a neutral tan. Sometimes, I mix it up and do something that isn’t necessary neutral. Then, I add a dark shade to the outer edge. Finally, I blend.
When I do my eyes, I line the top lid after I do my center/base color, and I also line the bottom then too. I do a few swipes of mascara after all the shadow and liner is on.
The last step to my eyes is putting concealer under my eyes and cleaning up any shadow that is out of place. I use q-tips or wet a brush if I have too much of a mess. Usually, the concealer takes care of any little smudges.
Blush & Highlight
When I put on my blush, I do use a brush, and I smile and hit the apples of my cheeks. I use a fan brush to highlight the tops of my cheekbones. If I’m feeling fancy, I put highlight in a few extra areas.
When everything is applied and I’m feeling good, I finish it all off with setting spray. And there you have it, a blind lady’s makeup routine!
Colors & Textures
I mentioned that I can’t see color very well. As much as I love red lips and my giant lipstick collection, I have a hard time seeing the differences in most reds. My husband helps me pick out a lot of my lip colors.
Eye shadow is an area I’m picky with, but I’m learning to explore new colors. I own a lot of nude/neutral palettes. I love plums and amethyst purples. I have hazel eyes, and those colors always make my eyes pop. I have been gravitating towards rose golds and pinks lately too. Even if I wear color or a metallic, I try not to go crazy. I’d love to have a dramatic smokey eye, but I need to learn a bit more about blending and application. I don’t want to look like a raccoon.
Asking for Help
I’ve thought about taking a class so I have help learning how to do more with my makeup. I’ve watched tutorial videos and been through the makeup corners of Pinterest, but I really need to have it all in front of me to touch and feel so I can get used to it that way.
I don’t have an issue asking for help, but I don’t really know any makeup mavens personally. My family and a few friends aren’t major makeup experts. They tend to have routines similar to mine if any at all.
I also hear a lot of, “you don’t need makeup.” Let me just say, no one needs makeup, but some of us genuinely enjoy it. Loving makeup doesn’t mean I’m trying to hide my face, so that assumption about makeup lovers needs to disappear. I hate when people say “that’s too much makeup.” Mind your business, please. What makes some happy, doesn’t have to make others happy. Just be kind.
I can see beauty, but I don’t see it the same of course. Because of my blindness, beauty is different for me. I see beauty in a way that’s hard to describe. Of course, personality and someone’s character are a major part of their beauty, but when it comes to the bare aesthetics, it is obviously not the same for me.
I don’t know if I’d want to see like everyone else. For years, I struggled with body image, beauty, and eating disorders. I used to blame my vision because I couldn’t truly see how I looked.
Now, I see that my eyes aren’t to blame. It took some time, but I love myself. I love my face, and I’m learning to love my body. Beauty will always be more to me. There’s a bigger picture at hand, and blind or not, I’m going to keep wearing makeup and seeing beauty way.
- Featured image: a white cup with assorted makeup brushes is in the foreground. In the background is an eye shadow palette and beside the cup are more brushes/pencils, etc.
- Wide assortment of different types of makeup: pencils, lip colors, foundation, etc.