By Mahalia Creft
My journey with makeup has been somewhat of a rocky one. As a young child, makeup seemed to be that thing that I would just never pick up or get good at. In fact, I began renouncing makeup, in the name of defiance. To learn to do makeup always seemed like such a hard feat. One of the ways in which my visual impairment affects me, is that I am unable to move my right eye outwards, so when applying makeup, I am unable to see a large portion of the right side of my face. I was convinced that because of this, I would never be able to do my makeup as well as people who had no sight restrictions or impairments and so did not think it was ever worth trying or experimenting with.
As I grew older and began seeing my friends honing their skills, I started feeling more determined to try my hand at makeup once again. “Beauty YouTubers,” had also started becoming more popular and so having a tutorial to follow made things slightly easier. Starting any new skill can be daunting so I was very apprehensive to pick up my brushes. However, my love for makeup persevered. I always enjoyed being able to use beauty, makeup and fashion to express my style and also found it extremely fun to experiment with other styles, whether I needed to look more professional for an interview or whether I was going out with friends, I always liked being able to change up my style.
Keeping myself motivated was another hurdle I encountered. When starting to learn the ins and outs of makeup, I began to struggle. The placement of where I put my makeup became a point of contention. As I am unable to see part of my face, matching both sides to each other is quite difficult and so I struggled with being precise and symmetrical. Also, another way in which my visual impairment affects me is that my eyes become very tired if I have been looking at something for too long. This made learning makeup even harder as throughout I would become fatigued.
At this point, I could only see two options moving forward. Either I give up completely or I find solutions to work around some of the problems I was encountering. Luckily, I chose the latter. I think one of the things that was a massive setback was my mindset.
I believed that I had to do and learn makeup as if I had no visual impairments, and if I did not do that, then I wasn’t “normal” or I was failing. By taking a step back and re-evaluating my outlook on learning a new skill, things began to take a turn for the better.
The first step I took to improving my skills was recognising that it takes me longer to apply my makeup and that I did not have to be as fast as those with no sight impairments. So setting aside enough time for me to take breaks for when my eyes get tired became really important. Also utilising the technology around became super useful. If I wanted to check whether I had applied my products symmetrically on the right side of my face, I would take photos to see whether there was anything I needed to change. Another really helpful tool that I have, is a mirror that enlarges the reflection which makes it so much easier to focus on smaller details. Additionally, finding YouTubers such as Molly Burke who is a blind woman that does makeup was also very inspiring throughout my makeup journey.
All in all, I think the most important thing to remember when doing makeup is that it is so subjective and that – even though it is said so often – doing what works for you is key. Being able to find a routine that accommodates your needs and that allows the best outcome for you is something that should always be kept in mind, not what works for others.