Expressing Yourself Through Makeup

image of a lightly tinted pink lip-glossOften times when I’m in public, I receive compliments on my makeup and get asked who did it for me. Some people are quite shocked to find out I did it myself. Although I have help for formal occasions, in my daily life, I do my makeup independently. As a legally blind young adult who has been a makeup user for over 5 years, it’s a conversation I’ve had many times. Breaking down this barrier is extremely important to me because I know other people besides me who care about the way they look, even if they don’t see it. I’ve been to a Sephora in France that had braille labels on products. A store in the London airport also had basic makeup and hygiene products with braille labels, so I know it’s definitely possible.

This passion stemmed from when I was much younger. As a child my parents got me the same toys as my sighted peers, including dress up items and play makeup. I would relish Halloween and specific formal events because I could wear the slightest amount of my mom’s makeup. When I turned 13, I was so excited because I got my own makeup and could finally practice what I had learned through You Tube videos. If you have concerns about animal testing in the cosmetic industry, there are many good quality yet cheap options; however, first and foremost it is important that you find what works for you as an individual.

picture of a six pan eyeshadow palette in various shades of brown and beige neutral coloursWhen starting, it might be useful to have some basic neutral items. Although I love wearing green eye shadow or orange lipstick, it is not the norm. A small eye shadow pallet containing 3 or 4 shades is a good starting point. With smaller pallets it is easier to memorize the position of each colour. There are also colour indicators that are useful with single shadows. A lip product with a light wash of colour such as a tinted lip balm is also a great starter.

A popular technique even with professional artists is to use fingers instead of brushes to apply cream or liquid products. When applying cream bronzer, I suck in my cheeks and I’m able to blend it out in the hollow part. If I have a pimple that day or any inflamed spots that I can feel, I will use my index finger to blend concealer directly on the affected area. I’m able to tell when I’ve finished evening out my foundation, if I can’t feel any thick pools of liquid on my skin. It’s much easier if you start out with a small amount of product at first. Adding more is always easier than removing mistakes, which I’ve learned the hard way.

I think the most important tip is to recognize the reason you want to use makeup. I use it because I consider it self expression. If there comes a day when I’m tired and don’t feel like doing my makeup routine, I have no problem skipping it. In early high school there was a small period of time when I would use it mostly because I was ashamed of my acne and wanted to fit in. This wasn’t a healthy mindset and I’m happy to be out of it. I still have those days once in a while, but now for the most part I accept my imperfections as a beautiful part of myself and my journey. No one needs makeup to cover up.

by Nika Najafi