New and favourite things in April

I want to make these posts a bit more than favourites, so from now on I’m going to be talking about new things, things that have made life easier/better, as well as the usual favourites.

Bluetooth headset

My old headset was doing well – it was held together with sellotape on both sides, but one day it refused to charge any more and I knew I had to get a new one. I needed something that’s comfortable, because I wear a headset a lot of the time, something with good sound quality, a microphone, and for it to be wireless. The last headset I got was a gaming one – I’m not a gamer, but a lot of the requirements are the same.
Having a wireless one is good because although I usually sit at my desk, it gives me the freedom to pick up my wireless keyboard and work anywhere in the house without having to take my laptop along. This is also good for Dungeons and Dragons night because my stuff is easily portable and the added bonus is that nobody can see what I’m writing because there is no screen involved!

So, I was complaining about needing a new headset and S ordered one as a surprise – from, a site I hadn’t heard of before – scan.co.uk .
This is the one I got and I’m very happy with it.

a plastic storage box”

I don’t have the link for this, but we were in a craft shop looking for something else, when we came across some large, shallow plastic storage containers and I decided one of them would be perfect for my make-up.

It’s not that I have any embarrassing stories. I didn’t colour my eyes in with the bright red lip crayon because it felt like the eye crayons. I’m careful about knowing what everything is and labelling everything, but having set compartments for eye products, lipsticks, blushers, highlighters etc just makes everything quicker to find, and who doesn’t want to make life easier?

Make-up

Around Easter time I had some time off and I did a bit of make-up shopping.

I got the Clinique highlight and contour sticks for Christmas and discovered that they do a blusher too. There’s a range of colours – I got the plumped up peony. These are quite expensive, but they go on smoothly, are easy to blend, and you get a decent amount in the stick. They all feel the same, so I have marked them, but I think they are a good product and there are about 3 other colours if you want to have a choice.

I also tried one from another brand – Isadora, which is slightly cheaper than the Clinique one. I got the English rose blush stick, and these cream blushers make life so easy, particularly for people who can’t see what they’re doing. I’ve tried sticks, tubes and pots of products, but I always come back to the blusher sticks. You just have to remember to blend them properly!

I’ve already complained about the horrible eye shadow in my March empties, but I did get a couple more that were better.

I’d heard about 3ina make-up and I was interested to see that they did a selection of cream shadows too. I would say these are mid-range in terms of the price, but after applying this for the first time, I was told I needed another coat. Adding another coat did make it look better, but then because it’s cream to powder and there were two coats of it, it was a total pain to get it off again! Maybe in future I just need a thicker coat. This is definitely a formula that I can work with – it’s nice and creamy and goes on easily, but it seems the colour pay-off isn’t great and it’s therefore not as good as some of my similar ones that are cheaper. I’ll definitely use it, but probably won’t get any more.

I also got a Revlon Colorstay crème shadow, which was fine. It’s a bit firmer than some of the other creams, a bit like the Maybelline Color tattoo ones. I prefer the application of the 3ina one, but the Revlon one looked better afterwards and didn’t need a second coat.

Going back to the more high-end products, I picked up a Nars lipstick because I’d read good things about the formula and I like a satin finish that doesn’t dry out your lips. You can see the range here.

Skincare

A while ago I talked about the Body Shop® Oils of Life cream because I got a sample of it in the 2016 calendar. Last year I then got the full size because it’s such a lovely cream, especially in the Winter/early Spring when the weather is cold and your skin gets dried out because of being in heated buildings all the time. It’s not the cheapest night cream that they do, but if you feel that you want to give your face that extra bit of nourishment, I can really recommend this.

Haircare

I try to take good care of my hair, and I don’t use straighteners or other heated stylers on it, but it occurred to me that I could protect it by getting a blow drying spray because even in the Summer, I have to dry it to some extent because it’s so long. So I picked up the Percy and Reed perfect blow dry make-over spray. It’s one of those products where you can’t see the benefits, but protecting my hair from heat damage has to be a good thing.

I’ve never tried any haircare products from Molten Brown before, but I got a couple of samples in a beauty box and I really liked them! This is the <a href="https://www.moltonbrown.co.uk/store/bath-body/shampoo-conditioner-sets/purifying-hair-care-set-with-indian-cress/WBB319/#BVRRContainer&quot; purifying set for all hair types with Indian cress. I only had little 30ml testers and the full size is quite pricy, but this stuff is amazing and my hair was so soft and silky afterwards! Here’s where you can get the full size set.

So, have you tried any of these things? What have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

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Make-up without sight – how one blind woman does it

Have you ever wondered what your make-up would look like if you did it without being able to check in the mirror?

I can see the sun streaming in through the window, or whether the light is on or off, but as I have been almost totally blind since birth, that’s all I can see. No shapes, no colours. So when I do my make-up, I can’t check in the mirror to make sure it looks ok.

When I was a teenager, I never considered make-up as something that wasn’t accessible to me. It was just like everything else – I’d probably have to find a different way to do it, but as long as I could get the results I wanted, I didn’t care about the process and whether my friends did it the same way. That doesn’t mean that the learning process was easy. I was being taught by people who had always put on their make-up using their sight, and if you can’t do that, sometimes you need to be creative.

The first thing you need is honesty. The only time my grandmother said “You can’t go out like that” was when there had been a particularly bad loose blusher disaster of which I was blissfully unaware (I never use loose powder blusher now because it’s too unpredictable!), and when I ask my partner whether my make-up looks ok, I’m not looking for a “you look wonderful” (unless I do of course!). I want to know if I’ve got the look I was going for or if I missed a bit of foundation near my hairline or had a mascara fail. I can usually tell if I did the latter, but it gives me peace of mind to check. That doesn’t mean I won’t go out the door without asking someone first, but if I’m on my own, I’m probably a bit less adventurous.

The hardest thing for me is having no concept of colour. I don’t know what my favourite colour is because I’ve never seen them. That makes it harder to decide what look I want to go for. I can make informed choices about the types of product I want to use, but when it comes down to the colours, I have to trust people. Rather than naively trusting anyone though, I do think about all the feedback together, to look for patterns. Some shop assistants are fantastic, whereas others just want to sell you stuff. Even well-meaning friends can get it wrong when they are influenced by what they would usually buy, instead of really thinking about what would suit someone else. You can ask 10 people and get 10 different answers, so I tend to choose people whose choices and suggestions have got me the most compliments and people who can explain their choices.

I wouldn’t say there is one way for blind people to do their make-up. I know blind women who like short mascara brushes, use powder eye shadow and get their lashes tinted. I don’t do any of these things, but I think you just need to find out what works for you. I tend to be a more hands-on kind of girl, blending products in with my fingers so I know exactly where they are. I avoid powders where I can, apart from my foundation setting powder, because cream products have less chance of fall-out, and when you can’t see the end result, it’s good to eliminate the chance of product landing where you don’t want it to. Until a few months ago, I wasn’t aware of many of the products that are on offer now. I have discovered new things that make life much easier and solve some of the problems I had as a teenager. I’m now eager to see what else is available, both by trying things out in beauty subscription boxes, and working with brands to make their products and services more accessible to blind people.

My products fall into two categories – ones that I’m happy to change up all the time, and ones that I stick to because I’ve found something that I like.

I like foundation in a pump dispenser because then I know how much product I have each time and that one pump of it will cover my face. When you can’t see the coverage, you have to be thorough and aware of the areas that you sometimes miss. For example I pay extra attention to my hairline and above my left eye, because these are the areas where I sometimes forget to blend, and the skin under my nose so that I don’t forget it altogether! I then cover it with some fixed powder using the sponge that comes with it.

When I was younger, I used powder eye shadows, but to be honest, the results were a bit hit and miss. I could usually manage to cover the eye, but sometimes there was fall-out on my cheeks and I wasn’t always sure that I had got rid of it. It was only recently that I discovered two types of product that make the process much easier for someone who can’t see: cream shadow crayons and cream shadow pots. Both of them are cream-based. I either use the crayons or sticks to colour in my eyelid, or I apply the cream shadow to my finger tip and apply it to my lids. Ok, it’s non-conventional, but it is a way to make sure I apply the make-up evenly and exactly where I want it to go. Eye primer can make this process more difficult, because the eye already feels creamy before you add the products, but again it’s about being thorough – going over an area twice is better than missing half your eye!

Some blind women don’t like applying mascara, but I’ve always found it ok as long as I’m not rushing. The critical point is making contact with the brush. I usually bring the brush up to my eye and blink gently so that my lashes touch the brush. This means that I don’t poke myself in the eye with it or paint part of my face. Once I can feel the lashes with my brush, I can follow round and coat all of them. I always go for bigger brushes that look the same all the way round. Combs annoy me. I’ve found one that I like now and the only reason I would change would be if someone recommended a fatter brush.

You already know about the blusher disaster that made me hurl my loose blusher to the back of the cupboard. When I was a teenager, I swapped it out for a fixed powder, but as I couldn’t feel it on my face very well, I was never sure about the coverage. Now I have cream highlighter, which I just draw on my face and blend in, cream blusher and cream contour. I love these products, because applying them is a really tactile experience. I can feel where they are. I can feel the shape of my face and where the product needs to be. I can feel if something isn’t blended in properly because of the texture on my skin.

I know there are blind women who use a lot more brushes than me for jobs where I use my fingers. It’s a matter of choice. The idea that a brush may not be clean or it may have a different colour on it than the one I want to use is a major turn-off for me, and I feel I have more precision with my fingers. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try them, but I don’t feel I need to use them just because most other people do.

Applying lipstick is not difficult, but I find the traditional lipsticks easier to apply than the liquids, because you have more control over exactly where they are going and they are more forgiving than the extra-long lasting liquid ones if you make a mistake. I have a selection from different brands because they are easy to identify by touch. If I have a number of lipsticks or cream shadows from the same brand, I mark the packaging in some way so I can tell them apart.

I’m no expert and I know I go for simpler looks than many of my sighted friends. That’s ok for me – partly because I want the make-up to be more subtle anyway and to enhance what’s already there, and partly because I would rather do a simple thing well than a complicated thing badly! I’m still learning, but I wanted to share these ideas to show that this is something that blind people can do if they want to.

I can’t see the results, but the people around me can, and if I do it well, I feel good about it in the same way that I feel good wearing nice clothes or a piece of jewellery.

Some of my favourite products

These products won’t suit everyone, but I’ve listed some of the ones that I like and find easy to use. Also, as I can’t easily get pictures of all the products that I use, linking them means that you can have a look at the images on other sites or get further information.

Face

Lips

Eyes

Over to you!

Has reading this article made you want to ask any questions? If it has, post them in the comments and I’ll try to answer! Also, if you’re visually impaired and you want to add anything about how you apply make-up, or any tips for making it easier, I’d love to hear them!

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