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Putting Your Face On

A mini makeup workshop with blind beauty vlogger Lucy Edwards.

Lucy Edwards spent six years perfecting her beauty routine after she lost her sight, and has passed on all she learnt in a book called The Blind Beauty Guide. She gives fellow blind journalist Emma Tracey her best makeup tips.

Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Lee Kumutat

Pictured, from left to right: Emma Tracey and Lucy Edwards standing in the In Touch studio.

Available now

19 minutes

In Touch Transcript: 24-09-19

Downloaded from www.bbc.co.uk/radio4

THE ATTACHED TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT.  BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF MISHEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS COMPLETE ACCURACY.


IN TOUCH – Putting your face on

 

TX:  24.09.2019  2040-2100

PRESENTER:          PETER WHITE

PRODUCER:            LEE KUMUTAT

 

White

Good evening.  Just because you can’t see yourself in a mirror it doesn’t mean you don’t care about looking good.  The point was beautifully illustrated a while back by a charming video that went viral and found its way on to the BBC News website – the story of 84-year-old Des learning to do his wife Mona’s makeup for her as she’d just lost her sight.

 

Video

That brush now Rosy, is that the one you’d usually use to do what he’s doing?

 

Yes.

 

It’s rattling anyway, there’s something wrong with the handle.

 

Maybe just a little bit more on either side of the nose, see the way that she’s a little bit wetter looking there, that’s where the makeup is going to come off.

 

Oh, I see.

 

So, that’s your setting powder, so that sets the foundation.

 

Yeah, it’s not going to run away on me.

 

Exactly.  Her eyes are little bit sensitive but…

 

They’re more than sensitive.  I’m going to be very careful of them.  It might take longer but it’s…

 

Well, it’s whatever you’re comfortable with…

 

… much nicer, yeah.

 

…and if you – if you think it looks nice on Mona, use it.

 

White

Well not all Monas have a Des but they do now have Lucy Edwards – visually impaired vlogger, now author, who’s produced the Blind Beauty Guide – a how to book for visually impaired people of any age who want to be able to put on their own makeup with confidence.

 

Well, so does journalist Emma Tracey.  We brought them together for a lesson.

 

Edwards

The background to the Blind Beauty Guide was six years of making videos, after my video Blind girl does her own makeup went viral.  And visually impaired people coming to me in workshops saying – how do you do your makeup Lucy, how do you do it?  And I kept giving the same advice, as I did, and I completely don’t mind doing that, that’s my job but I thought I’d put it into a guide.

 

White

But I mean how did you do it and who taught you?

 

Edwards

I have a fully sighted sister, we’re completely obsessed with makeup.  I went into her room day after day, night after night doing my own makeup, saying – Alice, does this work?  And she would say yes or no, at the end of the day she’s my mirror now, she could be brutal.  I used to go crying sometimes.  Then I thought – I don’t want other people to feel like this.

 

White

Well also with us is Emma Tracey.  So Emma, what’s your relationship with makeup?

 

Tracey

I’m definitely not obsessed with makeup.  What I would like to be is competent at it, to be able to just quickly in the morning do a simple day look and then if I was going out on a rare night out nowadays a bit of a night look, whatever that means.  So, I think I’d love to be competent but I don’t feel like I have the time or want to spend a huge amount of time learning and trying and testing.  I think it’s brilliant and fantastic that Lucy has done that for me and I’m just going to take advantage of all the hours that she spent trying stuff out, so that I can do it nice and quickly before I leave for work.

 

White

And I just wondered how much time you actually do take on your makeup at the moment?

 

Tracey

Me?  I am lucky if I put tinted moisturiser on and maybe a little bit of lip gloss, that’s probably the extent of my daytime look, if I’m leaving the house.  If I’m not leaving the house there’s no makeup applied.  At night, if I was going on a night out, I would chance a bit of foundation, a bit of blusher and a bit of eyeshadow but like one colour of eyeshadow, the blusher I’ve had for a few years, the foundation I got last Christmas and I do it all with my fingers.  So, it’s very basic.

 

Edwards

Emma, what I would say is that’s a really great start and a lot of visually impaired women do start with using their hands.  I do it indeed, when I want to – when I’m feeling a bit tired, when the mood takes me, I tend to apply maybe my foundation with my hands and then I go in with a beauty blender – which is the first tip.

 

Tracey

A beauty – what is a beauty blender?

 

Edwards

A beauty blender is…

 

Tracey

The only blender I have is one that I make soup with.

 

Edwards

[Laughter] A beauty blender is something that I really needed when I first went blind because I was doing my foundation all wrong, according to my sister.  So, it’s a little sponge that is a tear drop shape and you run it under a cold tap for about two to three minutes, and then you squeeze out the excess, so it is damp but it’s not drenched…

 

Tracey

Okay, I’ve brought a sponge, as a matter of fact, but I don’t use it, I just carry it round in my bag…

 

Edwards

I’ve got a sponge as well.

 

Tracey

Can I show you mine?

 

Edwards

Yeah, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

 

Tracey

Is this a tear drop shape, it looks kind of like a…

 

Edwards

Oh yeah that’s….

 

Tracey

…it looks a bit rude.

 

Edwards

That’s a beauty blender, I love it, what do you use that for then?

 

Tracey

Nothing, I carry it round in my bag.

 

Edwards

[Laughter] I love it though, well basically you need to put that under water, squeeze it out and you’ll apply your foundation flawlessly – you dap that on your face.  Do you want me to show you the motion?

 

Tracey

Which end, which end?

 

Edwards

Well the bigger end on the big parts of your face and then that goes under your eyes.

 

Tracey

It’s got a kind of angled flat end and then it’s got a pointy end like a pencil and the middle bit is a bit like an egg shape, so it’s like an egg with one sort of cut out bit at one end and a pointy bit at the other end.  So, apparently the flat bit’s for my face, so the pencil bit goes under my eyes.  Now I have liquid foundation, in a tube, right, how do I squirt that on to the sponge or…?

 

Edwards

So, if you’re not confident with applying foundation what I tend to do in my workshops is say, right, get as much as foundation as you want on your hands, as you think that you would like to go on your face, dab it on my forehead, your cheeks, a little bit on your nose, a little bit on your chin, so you’re evenly spreading it, just slightly dabbing with your hands.  And then have your wet beauty blender and dab it all over your face.

 

Tracey

Okay, so just like… I’m just basically flapping the flat end on my cheeks.

 

Edwards

But I’m probably doing it very hard, so people can hear but…

 

Tracey

How do I know how much foundation to put on my hands though?

 

Edwards

So, I would say, average, if you want quite a light coverage – this is just a general rule I go for – one pump on each half of your face.

 

Tracey

Okay, but mine’s a tube, so…

 

Edwards

Let me have a look.

 

Tracey

Hang on, let me get it out from underneath the baby wipes.  Oh, here we go.

 

Edwards

So, what I would so, maybe like, if you have a pea on your plate, maybe two peas then, if you want like a light amount.

 

Tracey

Two peas of foundation.

 

Edwards

Yeah, two peas.

 

Tracey

Cool.

 

Edwards

That would be lovely.

 

Tracey

Okay, so I dab it all over my face and then what?

 

Edwards

I have like quadrants in my head that I go for, so I go left – have I done the left – right, top right, bottom left, bottom right, have I done my nose.  Because sometimes I don’t get my nose balls – a lot of the people don’t call them nose balls but it’s like the inner bit of your nose, those are the bits that…

 

Tracey

The inner bits of my nose?

 

Edwards

So, you know the indentation…

 

White

You mean where it kind of goes in – yes like…

 

Tracey

Between the chambers?

 

White

…the dents…

 

Edwards

Yeah, the dents…

 

White

… on the side – on the sides of your nose.

 

Edwards

…before your nostril, on the sides of your nose there.

 

Tracey

Okay, alright, see Peter knows more about nose balls than I do.

 

White

Never heard them called nose balls before.

 

Edwards

I just call them that, I don’t know why.

 

Tracey

And do I put it on my eyelids?

 

Edwards

What I do there is just the excess bit on the beauty blender I just swipe over.

 

Tracey

Where do I put the foundation?  So, below my chin, all around that…

 

Edwards

Yes, and down slightly…

 

Tracey

…so that I don’t get a line.

 

Edwards

…yeah, down slightly just to the bottom of your neck I would say.

 

Tracey

And how do I make sure I don’t have a line, because everyone is always talking about this line?

 

Edwards

The beauty blender will not give you a line.

 

White

Okay, that’s sort of foundation.  What next?

 

Edwards

Well every visually impaired person comes up to me and says – How do I do my eyes?  So, in front of me here, Emma, is a Z Palette and it’s got a magnetic bottom on it and you can buy single eyeshadows, which is what I really recommend because look, you can take them out, can you see the magnetic nature of them?

 

Tracey

Right, okay, this is good.

 

Edwards

So, you can order them in whatever way you want.

 

Tracey

This is the answer to a thing I’ve been wondering about for a very long time because I actually asked someone the colours in my palette and I’ve forgotten them already.

 

Edwards

Yeah, exactly.  So, what’s really good is you just – I like three because I think the way to good eyeshadow is three colours – one light colour, one medium colour, one dark colour and they’re all matt.  If you put a shimmery eyeshadow on and it’s like a pinky colour, sometimes my sister said I looked like I’d been punched…

 

Tracey

Oh gosh, right.

 

Edwards

And sometimes it’s not as easy to blend.

 

Tracey

And what’s the point of eyeshadow anyway?

 

Edwards

Oh, okay so…

 

White

That’s what I like – a good basic question.

 

Edwards

I like that, yeah.  For me I love to define my eye with a slightly darker colour because it opens them up and you just feel a lot more awake and when I have eyeshadow on apparently that’s what people say I look like.

 

Tracey

Okay, so they open up my eyes, which is good because my eyes are always closed and blinky all the time, so maybe if I wear eyeshadow, they won’t look like that so much?

 

Edwards

Yeah, also, when I used to have really, really thick lenses when I could see a bit it was nice to have a bit of eyeshadow on.

 

Tracey

But would – would actually having this eyeshadow combo that opens my eyes up would that not draw more attention to my blindy looking eyes?

 

Edwards

I like it because I know that I look slightly left or slightly right, but it makes me feel proud of my eyes.

 

White

Can I ask a naïve question?  I mean it’s interesting hearing you talk about this because obviously you are striving for an effect and then you have to rely on someone else to tell you whether you’ve actually achieved it – is that frustrating?

 

Edwards

I used to get really frustrated at it actually, Peter, I used to think – oh I can’t put anything on without asking my sister, that’s so annoying.  But I have set products that I know the formulas of and I have one separate makeup bag that I’m like, right, I can do that on my own, don’t need anyone, yah boo sucks to everyone.  But separately, because I’m obsessed with makeup and addicted to it, I have a separate bag and I say to myself – when I next see my sister, Alice, we’re going to play with this because it’s my hobby as well.  And what I say in my book is – the more you do this and the more you stick to set products that are in your set routine with labelling, you can control everything.

 

White

So, you have to be rather like kitchens, if you’re blind or partially sighted you’ve got to be pretty well organised.

 

Edwards

You have to be organised.  I have had so many blind girl meltdowns with my makeup bag sitting in front of me with two concealers in it – and you don’t need two concealers – put one in another place, put loads of bump ons on it, tacti mark, elastic bands, different compartments.  You can get these makeup bags that just pull out and there’s like four or five compartments – I have those.

 

Tracey

So, if I was to walk out of here, if I used a good foundation, had some eyeshadow, a bit of lip gloss and then could I maybe like glittery it up at the night-time or something, just as an extra thing because I hear people do like daytime makeup and night-time makeup and I don’t know if I’ve got the time for learning how to do both.  So, what could I do to jazz it up?

 

Edwards

Oh, you could jazz it up with a bit glitter liner, which is always a go to for me…

 

Tracey

Liner’s scary though.

 

Edwards

Oh no, because you can get some clear liners with just glitter in them.  It’s not scary.  If you pat them on the middle of your eye, all the glitter is concealed into the one clear liner.

 

Tracey

But isn’t the eyeliner for the lines around your eyel…

 

Edwards

So, you can get two types of liner – there’s black – there’s black liners and then there’s glitter liners and there’s all sorts of different things on the market. 

 

Tracey

Let’s go for this eyeshadow then.

 

Edwards

Okay, let’s go for the eyeshadow.

 

Tracey

Okay, so this is your palette, this here.

 

Edwards

Lovely, yeah, this is the palette.  So…

 

Tracey

Okay, and I open it up.

 

Edwards

Yeah.  So, I go from left to right, my left colour is my lightest, then it goes medium/dark and then dark.  What I would do if you’re starting eyeshadow, use your fingers.

 

Tracey

So, this is the leftist most left?

 

Edwards

Yeah, dip your finger in there.

 

Tracey

Flat – my finger flat?

 

Edwards

Yeah, flat finger.  Rub it slightly, maybe two or three times left and right then press it on your eye, I don’t want loads of swiping.

 

Tracey

On my eyeball…

 

Edwards

Yeah on your eyeball.

 

Tracey

Can I – just give me your hand, can I just show you where I’m going to put it?  So, like right on my eyeball on the middle?  Okay.

 

Edwards

Yeah, there, but not past your crease…

 

Tracey

In the middle?

 

Edwards

Shall I show you your crease?

 

Tracey

Yeah, show me my crease.

 

Edwards

So, that’s your crease, you know the crease of your eye.

 

Tracey

So, my crease is just before the bone starts?

 

Edwards

Yeah, just before the bone starts.  So, you want the colour all on…

 

Tracey

On the squidgy bit?

 

Edwards

…all on the squidgy bit, yeah.

 

Tracey

All over it or just in the middle bit?

 

Edwards

I’d say all over it.

 

Tracey

All over the squidgy bit.

 

Edwards

But start at the middle, I’d say and press down.  And I would say you need three or four presses because of this pigment, this eyeshadow.

 

Tracey

Three or four presses – what does that mean?

 

Edwards

So, three or four presses once and then I’d dip back into the pan, maybe once or twice and it depends on the pigment of your eyeshadow.

 

Tracey

So, I’ve just done my – so that’s for each eye right?

 

Edwards

Yeah, that’s for each eye.

 

Tracey

I’m just doing the right eye now.  I actually am really enjoying this, this is really, really helpful.

 

Edwards

I think it’s therapeutic and it’s so tactile, really makes my brain go somewhere else and just feel happy.

 

Tracey

Yeah, I feel like I’m colouring in or like painting or something.  Okay, I’ve done my eyes with one colour, do I have to do all three, do we have time for all three?

 

Edwards

I don’t think we have time – do we have?  No.

 

White

I suspect not.

 

Edwards

No, but basically what I would tell you to do after this, just a sped-up version, is dip an eyeshadow brush, quite a thin one, into the middle colour and dab all on your crease, like a sort of line.  And leave that and then I’d do the same with the outer V – so your outer V is the outer portion of your eye – so I’d do the crease colour all on that crease…

 

Tracey

On the bit with the bone?

 

Edwards

Yeah, and then only half, which this is your outer V…

 

Tracey

Yeah, so the outer triangle at the outer edge of your eye.

 

Edwards

Outer triangle of your eye.  I would also say a good skin care routine is just across the board, amazing for everyone and that’s what I say in my book as well.  If you don’t have a good skin care routine, you’re not going to have much luck with putting makeup over bad skin.

 

Tracey

Lucy, what are, if any, the makeup don’ts for people who are visually impaired – what should we not attempt?

 

Edwards

Okay.  Makeup don’t number one:  Don’t use a brush to put on your foundation because you can’t see the brush strokes – if you’re completely blind like myself and yourself – Emma.  I wouldn’t go for really dark lipsticks, to start with, you can definitely build up to them.

 

Tracey

And don’t use your fingers for foundation, definitely use a sponge?

 

Edwards

You can use your fingers to start with – to dab it on, as I said to you – but use a sponge afterwards because it just is way more even coverage with a bit of water on that sponge.

 

Tracey

Can you use the same sponge for your foundation as you would for your powder?

 

Edwards

Yes.  Obviously, you need to make sure to wash in between each day that you do it…

 

Tracey

Wash the sponge you mean?

 

Edwards

[Laughter] Because I’m so excited I get so passionate, I’m like blah blah…

 

Tracey

You really, really are, it’s so – it’s so lovely and it actually makes me want to do it and it makes me much more sort of willing to try because you’re really – you want me to succeed.

 

Edwards

I really want you to, so badly.  What I was saying about the foundation is you can use a beauty blender for your powder afterwards to set but make sure to dip your sponge into the powder quite strongly…

 

Tracey

The fat bit?

 

Edwards

Yeah, the fat bit.  Right underneath your eyes to set your concealer and to set your foundation, dab it as you go and then make sure to wash…

 

Tracey

The sponge.

 

Edwards

Yeah, the sponge.  Okay, so mascara…

 

Tracey

Oh no.

 

Edwards

Yeah, I know, it’s really scary.  If you really have sensitive eyes and you want to start mascara go with a see-through mascara first, that’s what I would say because it’s very easy to get all over your face.  But make sure, when you first get a new mascara, my first tip is to get a travel size, it’s easier to get on your lashes…

 

Tracey

But what’s the point in putting a see-through mascara on if you can’t – if it’s see through?  Is it invisible mascara?

 

Edwards

Yeah, it’s kind of invisible but also, it’s the process of putting it on that I want you to do over and over, it’ll take you a month to try and just get that muscle memory.

 

Tracey

And what about getting them tinted instead, would that be easier?

 

Edwards

Yes, definitely, a lot of blind girls and blind boys that I know get their eyelashes tinted.  It can be quite sensitive if you do have different eye conditions but it’s definitely an option and also eyelash extensions I’d say.

 

Tracey

And with the mascara I was told to blink on to the brush?

 

Edwards

You bring the mascara wand to your eye, don’t move the mascara wand and blink on to it – that’s the best way to do it.

 

Tracey

Because I’m pretty good at blinking.

 

Edwards

Yeah, also my top tip with mascara is when you’re getting a new one, air it for a few hours and it’s probably the opposite to other beauty gurus out there, they say oh a fresh mascara’s amazing, but for blind girls and blind boys who are applying mascara it can get all over our face, it smears a lot on the top of your lash, on your fingers, all in your makeup bag – it’s a disaster, darling, waiting to happen.

 

Tracey

So, you take the top off and you leave it standing in something for a bit?

 

Edwards

Yeah, it just gets a bit more solid and you can feel it going on your lashes a bit easier.

 

White

And Lucy Edwards Blind Beauty Guide is currently available on Amazon Kindle and it’ll also be on Audible in a few weeks’ time.

 

And Lucy’s sister dedication to their nightly makeup classes set us thinking about the lengths some people will go to just to demystify a concept, make something for you, come up with ways for us, as visually impaired people, to do things we really want to do.  And remember, for instance, Matthew Shiffrin who told us about a family friend who nurtured his enthusiasm for Lego.

 

Shiffrin

The friend was Lena Finkles, who was a family friend, and on my 13th birthday she brought me this big cardboard box and this big fat binder and in this big cardboard box there was an 843 Middle Eastern Lego palace.  And in the big fat binder were instructions that she brailled by hand on a braille typewriter which let me know what parts I’d need, where they should be placed and what everything would look like once everything was set and done.

 

White

Well, can you beat Matthew’s example or even get near it?  I remember my dad spending hours giving me the confidence to balance on a two-wheeler bike – I was about four at the time I think – and my producer, Lee Kumutat, you’ve got an example as well?

 

Kumutat

My friend, when we were teenagers, she used to read entire Sweet Dreams romance books to me at night till the early hours of the morning, just because my mum wouldn’t let me borrow romance books from the braille library.

 

White

That is truly selfless.

 

Kumutat

It was.

 

White

We’d like your experiences of family, friends, maybe a complete stranger, who’ve gone the extra mile and then some.  You can call our direct line to leave a voice message on 0161 8361338, you can’t email intouch@bbc.co.uk or go to our website bbc.co.uk/intouch from where you can also download tonight’s extended podcast to hear more makeup tips. 

 

Thanks Lucy Edwards and Emma Tracey.  From me, Peter White, producer Lee Kumutat and the team, goodbye.

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