MANILA, Philippines — Applying makeup is a visual task. It often requires facing a mirror to know where to apply the highlighter or when the foundation is too cakey, among other makeup concerns.
Two women, however, beat the odds when they lived through blindness in their teens and now teach others, including visually-impaired individuals, how to apply makeup. Since August is Sight-saving Month, here are some inspirational stories from blind makeup artists from opposite parts of the world.
“There should be no limitation to beauty. Everyone has the right to pursue it, whether you are able to see it or not,” Xiao Jia told the South China Morning Post.
The 30-year-old is known as the blind makeup artist from China’s Xiangji province.
She was diagnosed with retinal dystrophy at the age of 14 and eventually went blind into her adulthood.
It did not stop the teenager then. She even went to school for nine years then went to a school for the blind where she learned massage therapy.
Being a masseuse has been the presumed occupation for the visually impaired in her country, but Xiao Jia quit it after having enough of sexual harrassment from clients.
At 20, she decided to try her luck in the capital, Beijing, with a blind friend who is now her husband. She had various jobs, including being a stenographer and working for a non-government organization. In 2015, she learned makeup techniques and, a year later, started her own makeup course business for other visually-impaired women.
“The make-up doesn’t necessarily change a person, but by learning how to apply it, they can take the drive and get the power to feel better about themselves. This is what makes a difference – they’re breaking limits,” Xiao Ji remarked.
She added in an interview with Baidu, “Blind people do not only have a profession of masseuse, blind people can learn many things. You can learn ice skating, clothing matching, makeup… As long as you want, the world is as big as you choose.”
British influencer Lucy Edwards has a similar story.
Edwards’ TikTok video about how a blind girl does her makeup went viral with 19 million views.
“Putting on a makeup is typically a very visual task but it’s not for me anymore,” Edwards can be heard saying.
Edwards was diagnosed with a very rare condition called Incontinentia Pigmenti.
“I first knew that I was losing my eyesight at age 8 at a routine eye check. At age 11, after several doctor’s visits, my retina actually detached in my right eye. And then at age 17 in the middle of my A levels, I lost my other eye so that rendered me completely blind,” Edwards shared during her guesting on the Truly YouTube channel.
It took her years to accept her condition and she now shares makeup tips on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.
Apart from sharing how to put on a glam look for a night out or a bronzed summer look, Edwards also creates helpful videos and shorts for her fellow visually impaired and for the general public.
She has her “Blind Hacks for Guide Dogs” and “How does a Blind Girl Does” series.
“I have taken back control of my look. I failed and I got back up again. Never let anyone ever tell you you can’t do something. Live life for you,” she said.
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