Looking good, feeling good
When you know you look good it also makes you feel good. On this page our Managing Sight Loss group members have shared their tips and tricks for looking good, applying make up and other everyday tasks.
Getting opinions from other people
The group agreed that if you’ve got someone you trust giving you support and an opinion on what you look like it really helps. Some of the group found their hairdressers a good source of information others used personal shoppers available in most large department stores. Make up counters in stores such as Boots were also felt to be invaluable.
Checking your appearance
Carefully exploring your features with fingertips can allow you to find unwanted hair, breakouts or simply tell you areas you’ve missed when shaving. The Living with Sight Loss group told us about different ways in which they have checked their appearance.
Make sure you can get as close to the mirror as possible – a mirror doubles the distance when you look into it. Mirrors surrounded by lights such as those used by makeup artists can improve the clarity for some people, and you can also use magnifying mirrors (these are available from most good stores).
If you have a video magnifier with a distance camera this will allow you to enlarge your face many times on the screen. It’s possible to do this by attaching a smart phone to a TV or using a tablet. Most have magnification apps built in. A tripod or stand will allow you to operate hands free.
You will find tutorials and vlogs on applying makeup or shaving when you live with sight loss. One of the best know vloggers is Lucy Edwards, and she has loads of tips about doing your hair or makeup. You can find her YouTube here.
Bhavini’s top makeup tips
Choosing your foundation can be accomplished by seeking assistance from any high street, department or specific makeup store. They will help you find a shade that suits your skin tone, though the products can vary in price depending on where you go. If you have some useful vision you can then test the shade on the back of your hand. I always go into a makeup or department store who have many brands who will match a shade to your skin and apply it for you. You can choose from a powder, liquid or cream based, and application can be with your fingertips, sponge or brush. The assistant can teach you and recommend the most suitable and you too can have the opportunity to test it out to see what you prefer.
I personally now find a liquid based foundation much easier either with a squeezing element or a pump to avoid over-using and wasting of the product. I then apply with my fingertips as I can then feel I’ve covered my whole face. As I can’t see my face in a mirror I like to cover my whole face to ensure I’ve covered all blemishes, marks or circles but alternatively, if you have some useful vision, you can choose to just apply to the parts you need to cover.
Again, seek assistance or test out on the back of your hand for choosing the right shade for you. You can again have a loose powder, a solid or a compress and application can be done with a sponge or brush. I prefer a compact powder applied by a brush and again covering my whole face and neck to ensure even coverage.
The best tip I can offer is that I hold down my eyelashes with my opposite hand, with my fingertips and then apply the eyeliner following my eye lid. Depending on how thick or thin I want the application, I can judge how close I am to the base of my eye lashes. I can layer it up or move slightly higher to create different looks. There are many types of eye liner, liquid, gel, pencil, or in a pot and fibre tip. Depending on the eye liner, it requires application either directly, with a brush or by sharpening the pencil or twisting to reveal more of the pencil tip. I used to love liquid eyeliners as you can create different looks, manage the thickness, be dramatic or subtle but as I lost my sight and was not able to see the application in a mirror I sometimes used to accidentally touch my nose or eye lids, causing smudging which I couldn’t rectify. I sometimes used to walk out of the house looking as if I had a black eye! I found a gel pencil more enjoyable and simpler to control. This was less messy to apply. You can apply on the lid and in the inner part of your eye depending on what look you wish to create. A good high street store like Superdrug or Boots will allow you to try out different options many of which will be less than £5.
You can choose whether you wish to create long, curvy or thick lashes but personally I prefer one with a long stick as I can then bring the brush close to my eye, until my lashes can be felt. I then move the brush closer and apply and then do the same for the other eye. I then use an eye lash curler to finish off with.
There are many types: powder, pen, gloss or matte finish. I prefer to use one of the smaller compacts, with 3-5 colours, as opposed to a big palette. This is because I can remember each colour and in the smaller compacts, colours are usually put together to create certain looks. I prefer more natural colours for the daytime: beiges, creams and sandy colours. I apply using my fingertips when using gloss eyeshadows, but using eyeshadow specific brushes which a shaped to apply eye shadow is easier and cleaner when applying powder based shadows. Remember, the general rule is to blend when using several colours to create certain looks.
There are many forms of blusher powder, liquid or an all in one application which I use. However, to ensure I know which way is the correct way, as the highlighter should be at the top of your cheek, I put a little bit of a marking or one of the smallest bump ons to help me identify which is the correct way to apply. It has a highlighter, brush and finish all in one which you can apply by just rolling onto your cheeks.
If you just wish to apply some colour then a powder blusher can do this and you can apply with a brush in a upwards motion just under your cheek bones. A good tip is to smile when applying. You can also use concealer, primer or a finishing spray to hold your makeup. A concealer or primer needs to be matched to your skin tone and this can also be done with assistance at a department store.
Once you have an idea of products you are happy with and know what shades are suitable to your skin you can then go to any store of your choice and take advantage of offers. It is worth bearing in mind that some shades may differ slightly from brand to brand.
I like to get make up from QVC, the TV shopping channel. The presenters talk through the shades, give tips on application, give additional useful tips and if you are able to see the TV you can watch how the makeup artists apply the product. QVC has the benefit of paying in monthly instalments and has 30-day money back guarantee. So, you can try out the product at home and if you don’t find it comfortable to apply or have bought the wrong shade, you can give it back and receive your money back.
Visit a department store and ask an assistant to help you choose a shade, the general tip is to go for a shade 1 or 2 tones darker than your inner lip but also depending on the look you are going for. I prefer a matte finish as opposed to a gloss as this can be smudged and can go all over your mouth. Once applied, blend between a tissue to make it long lasting. Also applying a lip liner on your lips as well as around can also enhance long wear. A lip liner should be matched or a shade slightly darker than your lip stick, but it is personal preference.
Good luck and don’t be shy about asking for help! Remember, the Be My Eyes app can help with matching colours and checking your appearance. Be my eyes connect s you to a volunteer who can see the wold through your phone’s camera.
Cutting toe and fingernails can be challenging with low or no vision. Depending where you live you may be entitled to free chiropody so have a chat to your GP surgery and explore whether you qualify. Some of the group members visited nail bars regularly for both pedicures and manicures as it not only makes your feet and toes look good it’s a great opportunity to sit back and relax. Prices can be surprisingly reasonable.
Want more resources? Go back to the Managing Sight Loss course resources page.