Making It Up

A pair of feet with mismatched socks. The sock on the left of the image is white with three dark blue stripes near the top. The sock on the right of the image is light blue and features four stacked diamonds. From top to bottom, the diamonds are red, dark blue, red, and dark blue.
“Mismatched Socks Solidarity Day” by rikomatic. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

As someone who is completely blind, I have been asked many times about how I organize both my clothing and makeup. I had to come up with some effective ways of doing this while growing up, so that I could be as independent as possible. I will share just some of the tips and tricks I use, but what may work for me may not work for you, so feel free to play around and discover what works best for you and your needs.

Let’s start with clothing. This can be challenging for some, especially if they own a lot of different clothing, or the same piece of clothing in different colours. I personally don’t tend to purchase the same piece of clothing in several colours for this reason, but if you choose to do so, a colour identifier or the Seeing AI app may come in handy here. Depending on what colour identifier you have, the way in which to use it may be different compared to the others. However, the general principle is the same across the board as the main goal is to provide colour recognition for the item at which it is pointed. This can be a quick and easy fix if you cannot remember all the colours of your clothing. In some instances, you may be able to differentiate your clothing colours by feel. This is what I do as I do not have a large amount of clothing, so I am able to remember what colour goes with which item. In addition to these techniques, some people will sew in a Braille label to the tag in a piece of clothing with the colour name. Some may also organize their clothing layout from lightest to darkest so that they know which part of the closet or dresser to search for depending on what they wish to ware. When it comes to socks, you can either wear mismatching socks if you wish, or use clothes pins or safety pins to clip them together before tossing them into the wash. This allows for the socks to still get clean but not get separated from the pair to which they belong.

Makeup is another area where misguided beliefs exist. I have been subject to many questions on how a person who is blind can do and organize their own beauty products. I can confirm that this is indeed possible. I am someone who is new to this, as I never thought I would be able to do this with great success. I would suggest practicing putting on lipstick with ChapStick at first so that you are not adding colour to your face as it won’t leave residue. Once you can do this, you can use lipstick or lipgloss and as a trick to remove any excess product, fold a tissue and put it between your lips and close them. If you do this, you can make sure there is no extra lipstick remaining. Soon, you should begin to learn how many swipes work for you and it will become muscle memory the more that you do it. This can be similarly done for eyeshadow. When practicing this, I suggest using one solid colour rather than getting into eye designs with more than one colour. I tend to use my finger for this rather than a brush so I can really feel what I am doing. I usually start at the top of my eyelid and at one corner and swipe across with the eyeshadow on my finger. I repeat this process but as I slowly move down my lid. It is like when you are vacuuming or mopping; following a grid pattern will ensure your eyelid is equally covered. The more you swipe with your finger back and forth, the better your makeup will blend into your eye. I do the same when applying blush to my cheeks. I smile so I can feel my cheekbone and then swipe across with some blush on my finger. With blush, be careful as you can easily put a little to much on your face, which will make you look like a smiling clown. So once you have added a dash of colour to your cheeks, move your finger in a circular motion on your cheekbones to help it blend in better. You can also use a brush, but again, I like to feel what I am doing. Take your brush and dab the ends of the bristles on your cheek for an even blend. These are just some small tips from your beginner makeup connoisseur.

Now for organizing your products so you can pull out exactly what you need. I personally am planning on investing in a makeup bag with several compartments so that I am able to store my makeup to my own preferences. Moreover, if you have many different eyeshadow pallets, you may be able to tell them apart due to their size and shape. For instance, I have a small four colour pallet and then one big one with nine colours, so those are pretty easy to tell from one another. Since pallets usually have a hard cover, you could also put some Braille labels on the front if you wish. You can also buy different scented lipglosses and that can help with determining the differences as well as adding a small strip of Braille on the side of it. Make sure to always put your products back the way you like them so that you do not mix anything up or misplace anything. Washing your brushes too will not only help with bacteria, but you will then be sure that there is no leftover products on them when you go to use them for the next time.

Hopefully these basic tips are a way for you to enhance or start your fashion journey. Remember to play around with different things to see what works for you and make up your own accommodations and stick to it. Go discover your style!

Organizing wardrobes and managing beauty products are part of the home management curriculum, one of the many blindness/Deafblindness skills courses that will be taught by instructors at the Bowen Island Recreation, Training and Meeting Centre. By supporting this project, you can help us to insure that Canadians who are blind and Deafblind receive the skills and confidence to express themselves independently and with dignity.